Compasses

by: Bryce A. Kiefer

Wait, what's a compass?

A compass is a machine that people have been using since 206 BC. It is used to position yourself with the directions. North, northwest, west, Southwest, South, Southeast, east, and Northeast. It has a needle, normally red, that is suspended and made of metal. This means that it'll point to magnetic objects. It normally points to the North Pole because of the magnetic field.
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Parts of a Compass

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How does the Earth's Magnetic Field affect compasses?

Earth's Magnetic Field is often compared to a bar magnet. They both have a North and South Pole that are magnetic. The red needle on the compass is made of metal and that causes it to point to the North Pole. The magnetic North pole is about 11 degrees from the geographic North pole.
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What does this mean?

You see the Needle points to the Magnetic North Pole which is slightly off of the Geographic North Pole. That means the South Magnetic Pole is also slightly off the Geographic South Pole.

How can I use a compass?

First you need to know which direction you want. Move you dial to line up with top arrow. Then move yourself and the compass until the needle is in the outline. You are now facing the direction you need.

Compass Video

Compass 101 - How to Use a Baseplate Compass