The magnetic poles (red line) and also geographic poles (in green) space separated by around ten levels right now. The planet spins about the geographic poles, but magnetic compasses point to the magnetic poles. Public Domain Image, source: Christopher S. Baird.


You are watching: The needle on a compass always points to what pole

A magnetic compass go not suggest to the geographical north pole. A magnetic compass points to the earth"s magnetic poles, which space not the exact same as earth"s geographic poles. Furthermore, the magnetic pole close to earth"s geographic north pole is actually the south magnetic pole. Once it pertains to magnets, opposites attract. This fact method that the north end of a magnet in a compass is attractive to the south magnetic pole, which lies close come the geographical north pole. Magnetic ar lines outside of a long-term magnet constantly run native the north magnetic pole to the south magnetic pole. Therefore, the magnetic field lines of the planet run from the southern geographical hemisphere in the direction of the northern geographical hemisphere.

The geographical north and also south poles show the points whereby the earth"s rotation axis intercepts earth"s surface. Think about holding a tennis ball in between your thumb and forefinger and also pushing top top the next to do it spin. The points whereby your thumb and finger make call are the geographic north and also south poles of the tennis ball"s spin. A human being standing top top the equator is relocating the fastest due to earth"s rotation, if a person standing on a geographic pole does not move at every from earth"s rotation. Earth"s magnetic poles clues the central location of the region where the magnetic fields lines start and also finish. Earth"s geographic and also magnetic poles are not specifically aligned since they happen from different mechanisms. Earth"s magnetic field is resulted in by turn currents of fluid iron in the external core. Furthermore, earth"s magnetic poles space constantly an altering location relative to earth"s geographic poles. Currently, the magnetic south pole lies about ten levels distant indigenous the geographic north pole, and also sits in the Arctic ocean north that Alaska. The north end on a compass because of this currently points about towards Alaska and also not precisely towards geographical north.

Topics: compass, geographic poles, magnetic poles, magnetism, north pole, southern pole


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