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(mag-nee -tŏ-graf, -grahf) An instrument used to map the distribution, strength, and polarity (direction) of magnetic fields over the Sun's disk. It is usually an automatic scanning system employing instruments to detect and measure the Zeeman splitting of a selected spectral line (see Zeeman effect). The resulting diagram is called a magnetogram.



an instrument for continuous recording of variations of the geomagnetic field over time (magnetic variations). It consists of magnetic variometers and a recording system. The simplest magnetograph contains a photographic recorder, a light source, and three opticomechanical variometers in which the sensing elements are magnetic needles (with mirrors) suspended on elastic fibers. Such a magnetograph records on a chart (photographic film or paper) the variations of the three orthogonal elements of the earth’s magnetic field with periods of several seconds to several months and an accuracy of the order of 10-5 oersted. The magnetogram thus produced carries information regarding the time, amplitude, and period of the magnetic variations. Magnetometers can be equipped with opticomechanical variometers and photoelectric converters of the angle of rotation of the magnetic needle or with fluxgate, induction, proton, quantum, and superconducting transducers whose electric output signal frequency or amplitude is proportional to the amplitude of the magnetic variation (see Table 1).

Table 1. Characteristics of various types of magnetographs
*1 oersted = 79.6 A/m
Type of variometerSensitivity
Period of
recorded variations
Opticomechanical with photoelectric
10-72 × 10-1-∞
Fluxgate10-72 × 10-1-∞
Induction10-73 × 10-1-∞

The recording devices for such magnetographs may be frequency meters, digital voltmeters with a digital printout device, electric pen recorders, tape recorders, or perforators. The readings of a magnetograph are encoded and processed on electronic computers. The sensitivity of magnetographs depends to a great extent on the technical potential of the variometers used.


lanovskii, B. M. Zemnoi magnetizm [3rd ed.], vol. 1. Leningrad, 1964.



A set of three variometers attached to a suitable recording unit, which records the components of the magnetic field vector in each of three perpendicular directions.
References in periodicals archive ?
The measurement technique was also the magnetograph one.
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At the same time a marked decrease in the electric current flowing in the loops was detected by a ground-based magnetograph in Mitaka, Japan.