Generally, everyone believes that if a person is lost in the wilderness or the woods, the best way to find your way out of such places back home is by using a compass. A compass, no matter where you are in the world will point you to the directions of the North Pole which is actually something that is amazing and we should not just overlook. Most of us have seen, held and made use of a compass before without giving many thoughts to how it really works.
A compass’s complexities encompass the true north and a magnet, and is an interesting mixture of the magic of planet Earth and science!
Therefore, we will be looking more closely at the proper use of compasses, how it works and the secret behind them! For years, using a compass to navigate is a thing we all have been doing and if we can have a better understanding of the way they work, the more accurately effective we can make them.
How It Works
Have you ever wondered why a compass points north? Well this is because a magnet present inside the compass makes the needle in the compass align itself North. This works this way because every magnet has two poles which are the South Pole and North Pole. Actually, opposite poles of a magnet attract each other which is how they know the directions to point in.
The Earth is a magnet and can attract or influence the directions of magnets within a compass. The North Pole is theoretically the South Pole within the magnetic field of the planet, therefore on our compasses, it attracts the north.
Although compasses are really good indicators of the north, they never point north precisely. This is because there is a variance between the magnetic North Pole and True North. Specifically, true north actually is the geographic North Pole of the Earth. Actually, the variance is around 1,000 miles, and the magnetic North-Pole can be found in Canada, but still, the magnetic North pole of the earth likewise moves and has moved over the last century above 600 miles.
The issue with a magnetic compass is that it has problems when one tries using them in transit and it doesn’t function well on things such as airplanes or ships. That is why these vehicles use what is called a Gyroscopic compass. A gyroscopic compass is not affected by movement or the fact that it isn’t grounded, and as such it makes the perfect choice for things like ships and airplanes, in which the use of a magnetic compass would prove problematic.
Now we can all see that compasses come in different kinds and the way these compasses work is really interesting. Therefore, when using a compass next time, you can be sure that with your little new knowledge about compasses and the different types we have, you can use them properly and finding your directions back to civilization will be a piece of cake.