All gas giants in the solar systems have two things in common: abundant hydrogen gas and a magnetic field.

I'm wondering: could there be a gas planet that somehow can't produce any magnetic field on its own?

I learned there many kinds of bizarre and unfamiliar worlds from reading up terrestrial exoplanets and moons, so I thought maybe there is a unique gas planet that doesn't produce any magnetic field - or maybe the magnetic field disappeared after a while.

BTW I'm aware of hydrogen becoming metallic under a specific condition.

  • $\begingroup$ Guys, can you please structure your writing more into clauses or sections? Both the question as well as the answer are really hard to read like this. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 13:38

1 Answer 1


It's not technically impossible, but it does seem incredibly unlikely that a gas planet would lack a magnetic field. This is because hydrogen (by far the most abundant element) attains metallic properties when put under extreme pressure. And a spinning metal/conductor generates magnetic fields via the dynamo effect. This is why earth has a magnetic field, except instead of metallic hydrogen spinning in our core, its our liquid iron outer core that does the trick.

Any collection of gas large enough to form a planet would certainly create the needed pressure to transform hydrogen in its metallic form. For a gas planet to have a magnetic field, it really only needs to meet 2 conditions:

  1. The planet needs abundant free hydrogen (which is extremely likely given that almost all matter is hydrogen).
  2. The planet needs to be spinning (also extremely likely because a planet retains the net angular momentum of all the stuff that fell onto it while it was forming... the only way a planet avoids spinning is by tidal locking, such as the moon always facing one side towards the earth... and even then it's still spinning slowly... it's just spinning once every time it completes an orbit.)

Ultimately, given the vast and possibly infinite size of the universe, and the great abundance of planets, I'd bet there is a planet somewhere that happens to be made of gasses other than hydrogen, or happens to not be rotating, and thus there would be a gas giant without a magnetosphere. But I'd be very surprised if we find one in my lifetime, or even in the the next 1000 years!


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