How does a magnetic compass work?

  1. Myn Is Me profile image71
    Myn Is Meposted 6 years ago

    How does a magnetic compass work?

  2. SidKemp profile image93
    SidKempposted 6 years ago

    The earth is, itself, a giant magnet. It has an iron core, and spins around on an axis from the North Pole to the South Pole. Every magnet has two poles, north and south. A compass needle is a steel magnet that can spin freely. The needle turns freely, and the direction of the needle lines up with the lines of magnetic force pointing towards the earth's own magnetic north pole. The magnetic north pole is very close to the physical north pole. Once a person knows which way North is, we can figure out all the other directions.

  3. Charlton Burton profile image70
    Charlton Burtonposted 6 years ago

    A ship is steered on a straight course by means of a magnetic compass. This consists of a freely suspended magnet balanced on a fine point of hard metal, to which is attached a light compass card marked with the points of the compass, and with degrees. The whole is encased in a sealed bowl of non-magnetic metal which is both air-tight and watertight. On the fore edge of the compass bowl a line, the "lubber" line, is marked, representing the ship's head. Thus the course the ship is steering can easily be read, as it is in line with the lubber line on the compass bowl. Remember the compass card remains stationary, it is the lubber line which moves with the ship. The compass does not point to true north, but to magnetic north, one of the poles of the earth's magnetic field. Allowance is made for this variation.