Which direction does the needle on a compass point?
But the magnet is the opposite way around to how you might think, with its south pole up near Earth's actual (geographic) north pole and vice-versa. A compass needle points north because the north pole of the magnet inside it is attracted to the south pole of Earth's built-in magnet.
At the north pole, for example, if you hold the compass horizontally the needle which is supposed to point north will point south, toward the north magnetic pole. That's not saying much, since at the north pole ANY horizontal direction is south.
- Magnetic north is actually in northern Canada, and that is where compasses point to. Now, on to your question…if you were standing exactly on top of the magnetic north pole, your compass would point nowhere in particular since the place it is used to pointing to is at your feet!
- If you are within the magnetic field of the Earth (which extends about one fourth the way to the Moon) or other magnetized body, yes the regular compass will work. Outside of this, the magnetic field away from the Sun and some of the other planets is probably too small to move the needle on a regular compass.
- These magnetic reversals, in which the direction of the field is flipped, are believed to occur when small, complex fluctuations of magnetic fields in the Earth's outer liquid core interfere with the Earth's main dipolar magnetic field to the point where they overwhelm it, causing it to reverse.
The black rectangle represents a bar magnet. The magnet's North and South poles are labeled. The other item represents a compass; the red end of the needle is the end that would point towards Earth's North Magnetic Pole. Notice that the red end of the compass needle points toward the south pole of the magnet.
- Compass needle gets deflected in presence of bar magnet because it is made like that to reflect in presence of magnetism. It gets deflected on earth towards north also because of a huge magnetism of earth.
- A north side of the magnet is attracted to the south side of another magnet. However, the north side of the compass points to the north pole, this can only mean that the "north pole" is really the magnetic south, and the "South magnetic pole" is really the magnetic north.
- An interesting detail is that there are northern- and southern-hemisphere compasses. This has to do with the fact that the magnetic field lines, to which a compass needle aligns, point into the earth at the north and south magnetic poles. A good compass will last a long time.
The needle of a magnetic compass must be made of a metallic substance, which can be magnetized for an extended period of time. The most common substance used for compass needles is steel. Steel is an alloy of iron and a small amount of carbon.
- The first compasses in ancient Han dynasty China were made of lodestone, a naturally magnetized ore of iron. The compass was later used for navigation during the Song Dynasty of the 11th century. Later compasses were made of iron needles, magnetized by striking them with a lodestone.
- To make a compass, place 4 iron ingots and 1 redstone (also called redstone dust) in the 3x3 crafting grid. When making a compass, it is important that the iron ingots and the redstone are placed in the exact pattern as the image below. In the first row, there should be 1 iron ingot placed in the middle box.
- Say it is two o'clock, draw an imaginary line between the hour hand and twelve o'clock to create the north-south line. You know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west so this will tell you which way is north and which way south. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere then it will be the other way round.
Updated: 4th November 2019