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The Earth is a Giant Magnet


hollyferg

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Have you ever wondered how compasses work? How they always point the same direction? It's because the Earth is just a big magnet! Compasses are magnetized so they always point north, no matter where you are on the Earth. But why does this happen?

That is because the north side of the compass is attracted to the geographic North pole. This shouldn't make sense because opposites attract, so two north poles of a magnet should repel each other. This can be easily explained- the "North Pole" is really the magnetic south pole of the Earth.

mearthbar.gif

So when a compass is pointing north, it is really pointing to the south end of the Earth. However, compasses can be easily interfered with. They're just sensitive magnets, so if another magnet comes close to the compass, it will point towards the south end of the other magnet, and no longer point to the Earth's North Pole!

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