How to Use a Compass

The guide on using a compass

Why does a Compass point north?

If you have ever asked yourself why a compass points north, this is caused by the Earth's Magnetic Field. Scientists believe that the cause of the Magnetic Field is the spinning of the liquid outer core of earth, the inner liquid core spins faster causing ripples. Without Earth’s Magnetic Field, there would be no water or life on Earth, because the charged particles from the Sun would destroy our atmosphere. A bar magnet and Earth both have North and South Poles that are magnetized Both Earth and compasses are magnetized so the compass will point to the North pole.

Parts of a Compass.

There are many parts of a compass. Some if these parts include the scales, base-plate, direction of travel arrow, the needle, the housing, and much more. To see these parts look at the picture on the right.

Earth's Magnetic Field, Magnetosphere, and Compass definitions

Using a compass correctly

First you'll need to hold the compass, and point it in the direction you want to go. Now look at the compass to see where the magnetized needle points. Next you will have to sight a place in the direction you want to go. It's helpful to sight a target in the direction rather than looking at the compass the whole time because if you are looking down at the compass the whole time you will miss the scenery.

Reading a compass/Compass directions

In order to use a compass correctly, you will need to know North, East, South, and West. The magnetized red needle always points to the North Pole, so the opposite of the red arrow would be the South pole then the left side would be West and the right side would be East. You will learn Southwest, Northwest, Southeast, and Northeast later on.