Using a Compass

By Bailey H

What does it do?

Most people think that a compass is like a GPS and it will tell you where to go. Many people think that, but it is not true! In all actuality a compass tells you where North, South, West, and East are so that if you are walking home and you know that you live northwest from the place you are at you can see where north is on the compass and turn the compass so the red arrow is on the N or if you are in the southern hemisphere you want to turn it so that the arrow is on the S. If you would like a better understanding of what a compass does click on the link!

How does it work?

How does a compass work? That is a very frequently asked question. The answer is, Earths magnetic field. The compass is attracted to earths magnetic poles. The North and the South poles each have a strong magnetic connection that the compass is attracted to.

Earths magnetic field

Most people know that the Earth has two poles. The north pole and the south pole. But what a lot of people do not know is that the earth also has two magnetic poles that create Earths magnetic field. This is what makes compasses point their arrow to either the north or south poles, according to the closest pole. In other words, if you are in the Northern hemisphere then the arrow on the compass will point north to the Northern pole. The same thing happens in the Southern hemisphere, the arrow just points to the southern pole. For more info click the link below!

Aurora Borealis

Ok. So you are probably thinking. "What does this have to do with compasses?". Well I will tell you why. See, the Aurora Borealis are also know as the southern and northern lights. You getting me now? As you probably guessed it the lights on on the southern and northern poles. What happens is, when highly charged electrons from the solar wind interact with the elements in earths atmosphere. Then Solar winds stream away from the sun at about 1 million miles per hour. Once they reach the earth, they travel along Earths magnetic field and making a teardrop shaped stream of lights. ( How stuff works, How do the northern lights work.) If you want to go to the website I got my info from, click the link below!