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Q & A: The Compass Points North

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Why does the compass always point to north?
- vanessa trujillo (age 11)
ampa fl u.s.a
A:
Vanessa -

There are two important things that make compass needles point the way that they do. The first is the needle itself. It's actually a little magnet. The second is the Earth. It's actually a really big magnet. If you've every played with bar magnets before, you probably know that magnets will try to line themselves up. The Earth's magnet has one 'end' really close to the North pole and the other one really close to the South pole. So if you have a small magnet (like the needle in the compass) that's allowed to spin whichever way it wants, it will try to line itself up between the North and South.

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

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