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Unit system Gaussian units
Unit of Magnetic field strength
Symbol Oe 
Named after Hans Christian Ørsted
Unit conversions
1 Oe in ... ... is equal to ...
   Gaussian base units    1 cm−0.5⋅g0.5⋅s−1
   SI units    79.57747 A/m

The oersted (symbol Oe) is the unit of the auxiliary magnetic field H in the centimetre–gram–second system of units (CGS). It is equivalent to 1 dyne per maxwell.

Difference between CGS and SI systems[edit]

In the CGS system, the unit of the H-field is the oersted and the unit of the B‑field is the gauss. In the SI system, the unit ampere per meter (A/m), which is equivalent to newton/weber, is used for the H‑field and the unit of tesla is used for the B‑field.[1]


The unit was established by the IEC in 1930 [2] in honour of the Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted. Ørsted discovered the connection between magnetism and electric current when a magnetic field produced by a current-carrying copper bar deflected a magnetised needle during a lecture demonstration.


The oersted is defined as a dyne per unit pole.[3] The oersted is 1000/4π (≈79.5774715) amperes per meter, in terms of SI units.[4][5][6][7]

The H-field strength inside a long solenoid wound with 79.58 turns per meter of a wire carrying 1 A is approximately 1 oersted. The preceding statement is exactly correct if the solenoid considered is infinite in length with the current evenly distributed over its surface.

The oersted is closely related to the gauss, the CGS unit of magnetic flux density. In a vacuum, if the magnetizing field strength is 1 Oe, then the magnetic field density is 1 G, whereas, in a medium having permeability μr (relative to permeability of vacuum), their relation is:

Because oersteds are used to measure magnetizing field strength, they are also related to the magnetomotive force (mmf) of current in a single-winding wire-loop:


Stored energy[edit]

The stored energy in a magnet, called magnet performance or maximum energy product (often abbreviated BHmax), is typically measured in units of megagauss-oersteds (MGOe). One MGOe is approximately equal to 7957.74715 J/m3.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kaye, G. W. C, & Laby, T. H.: Table of Physical and Chemical Constants, page 14. Longman, 1973.
  2. ^ IEC history
  3. ^ Hirst, A. W. Electricity and Magnetism For Engineering Students. Blackie & Son Limited, 1959, p.411
  4. ^ Magnetic Conversion Factors
  5. ^ EMF Fundamentals
  6. ^ Everything2.com • Oersted
  7. ^ Derived CGS Units with Special Names
  8. ^ BIPM (2006). "Table 9. Non-SI units associated with the CGS and the CGS-Gaussian system of units". SI Brochure: The International System of Units (SI) [8th edition, 2006; updated in 2014]. 
  9. ^ eFunda: Glossary: Units: Energy Density Units: Megagauss-Oersted (MGOe)