What is Magnetic poles: Definition and 25 Discussions

The north magnetic pole is a point on the surface of Earth's Northern Hemisphere at which the planet's magnetic field points vertically downwards (in other words, if a magnetic compass needle is allowed to rotate in three dimensions, it will point straight down). There is only one location where this occurs, near (but distinct from) the geographic north pole. The geomagnetic north pole, a related point, is the pole of an ideal dipole model of the Earth's magnetic field that most closely fits the Earth's actual magnetic field.
The north magnetic pole moves over time according to magnetic changes and flux lobe elongation in the Earth's outer core. In 2001, it was determined by the Geological Survey of Canada to lie west of Ellesmere Island in northern Canada at 81°18′N 110°48′W. It was situated at 83°06′N 117°48′W in 2005. In 2009, while still situated within the Canadian Arctic at 84°54′N 131°00′W, it was moving toward Russia at between 55 and 60 km (34 and 37 mi) per year. As of 2021, the pole is projected to have moved beyond the Canadian Arctic to 86.400°N 156.786°E / 86.400; 156.786 (Magnetic North Pole 2021 est).Its southern hemisphere counterpart is the south magnetic pole. Since Earth's magnetic field is not exactly symmetrical, the north and south magnetic poles are not antipodal, meaning that a straight line drawn from one to the other does not pass through the geometric center of Earth.
Earth's north and south magnetic poles are also known as magnetic dip poles, with reference to the vertical "dip" of the magnetic field lines at those points.

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  1. K

    Magnetism -- Clarification about North and South magnetic poles

    When I look at images of the pattern of iron filings around a magnet I cannot see any difference between the Pattern at the 'North' and 'South' poles. The present model also says that the field 'flows' from North to South but if this were the case it would not be necessary to move a magnet near...
  2. F

    How scientists ensured this fundamental property of magnets?

    Firstly, please note that I am talking about the period BEFORE electricity and magnetism were unified. So I am NOT seeking for answers based on Ampere atomic current model of magnets. I have read the following statement about the property of magnets at two different places. One from here: and...
  3. CAT 2

    Magnetic poles and field problems

    Homework Statement Draw this diagram: Now do the following: find the unknown poles labelled with a question mark draw the magnetic field around the conductor shown determine the direction of the force acting on the conductor Homework Equations Using the right-hand rule can help to solve...
  4. F

    I Why am I getting two different results in emu and SI unit?

    I am computing force between two magnetic poles each of one unit pole (in emu) and situated one centimeter apart. In electromagnetic units: ##F_{dyne}=\dfrac{p^2}{r_{cm}^2}=\dfrac{1^2}{1^2}=1 dyne## where ##p## is pole strength in emu In SI units: ##F_{N}=k_A \dfrac{P^2}{r_m^2}=10^{-7}...
  5. G

    Rigorous definition of magnetic poles?

    Hi. Since there haven't been observed magnetic monopoles so far, what exactly do we mean when we talk about the north/south pole of a magnet? Is it something like "north is where the field lines exit a solid body" and "south is where they enter" or is there a more rigorous definition?
  6. T

    Understanding Earth's N/S Poles: Magnetic, Geographic, Geomagnetic, & Dip

    In reading my physics book, there was mention of different types of poles. I was hoping someone could explain the differences and possibly supply a visual representation of the poles with respect to each other as to where they lie on Earth. The different poles were the magnetic N/S, geographic...
  7. Tzimtzum

    Don't the magnetic poles affect radioactive decay?

    Also, How do we know the radioactive decay is constant? I know that carbon dating cannot be 100% accurate because the rate of production fluctuates based on cosmic rays hitting our upper atmosphere. Why isn't this true with Earth metal isotopes? Is time truly constant? It seems like a lot...
  8. L

    Exploring Earth's Inner Core: The Latest on Polarity and Flux

    hello everyone, though not a scientist or professional student I have a fondness for Earth sciences, geology, seismology, ecology with interests in pole-shift theory, space/time relativity, archeology, anthropology and genetics, specifically, genetic genealogy. Here just to see read about...
  9. F

    Magnetic poles and their charges

    What is the reason for the analogy that a magnetic south pole can be considered negative and a magnetic north pole positive? I understand magnetic field lines run from North to South and electric field lines run from positive to negative. Is this the only basis? Or are the magnetic poles...
  10. D

    Magnet vs CRT TV a.k.a question about magnetic poles of electrons

    When watching some videos about neodymium magnets, I came upon a very interesting phenomenon. Namely, the maker of the video put a large magnet near an old CRT TV. At first, a big black spot appeared on the screen. This means that the electrons were repelled from from the magnet and didn't...
  11. B

    Why are the magnetic poles of a magnet are located somewhere within the magnet?

    Bar magnet... why are the magnetic poles of a magnet are located somewhere within the magnet,not at the ends?
  12. Physicist50

    What Makes the North and South Magnetic Poles Unique?

    I was wondering what the difference in the magnetic poles north and south is and what makes them unique.
  13. G

    Significance of number of magnetic poles in ac generator

    I am supposed to discuss the benefits of having high number of magnetic poles in ac generators with constant frequency. From formula it is obvious that the higher number of poles the lower the speed of rotation. But is there anything else, or what is the benefit of lower speed? The only...
  14. T

    Do magnetic poles of an object have to be perpendicular to the object's surface?

    Topic. If I have an iron shaped like a bar magnet placed flat on the floor, can the poles of the magnet be pointing anywhere else other than 90 degrees and 180 degrees?
  15. Vorde

    Magnetic Poles & Earth's Rotation Alignment

    Why do the magnetic poles line up (relatively speaking) with the poles of Earth's rotation?
  16. M

    Why dont magnets around earth fly towards the earths magnetic poles?

    Why don't magnets fly to Earth's magnetic poles? I understand that Earth's magnetic pull must be strong enough to pull a magnet to the pole, but what is the force required for a magnet to get pulled the over their? How does one calculate whether a magnetic field is strong enough in order for two...
  17. J

    Magnetic poles (A simple question but I dont know how to answer it?)

    Magnetic poles (A simple question but I don't know how to answer it?) (i)Show the magnetic field associated with the earth, (ii)and use your diagram to explain why magnetic poles always occur in north south pairs I don't know how to go about the second part at all!?/
  18. J

    How can the force between magnetic poles be accurately calculated?

    Hi, I was wondering if anyone could tell me how to calculate the attractive force between a pair of magnets. I orignally thought that this would involve a really simple formula (something of the 1 over r squared variety) but have struggled to find any equations dealling with the force between...
  19. A

    Why do the Earth's magnetic poles switch every once in a while?

    My geology prof says that no one knows. I think I'll cry if that's true. It's driving me nuts.
  20. T

    Magnetic poles flipping and the effect on animals

    There is supposed to be a switch of magnetic poles in several thousand years which already started 150/200 years ago. This gave me an idea. Can the changing magnetic orientation cause the whales (and other large mammals living in the sea who use the Earth's magnetic field) to "crash" on shores...
  21. Loren Booda

    Reversal of magnetic poles upon migration

    Will a sudden change in the orientation of Earth's magnetic poles have catastrophic consequences for migrating species?
  22. C

    Will the Earth's magnetic poles flip?

    I just watched a documentary on the history of the Earth's magnetic field that was very interesting. It said that the Earth historically has averaged a pole flip roughly every 200,000. However, Earth has not flipped its poles in over 700,000 as evidenced by ferromagnetic iron samples taken...
  23. H

    What causes the formation of magnetic poles in a bar magnet?

    What determines a magnetic pole? Everyone has known sense elementry school that on a bar magnet (and the earth) have North and south magnetic poles... my question, what make a (bar magnet) that way? If I were to cut a bar magnet in half(between the poles) would I have one magnet that was...
  24. F

    Unnecessary magnetic poles ?

    Unnecessary "magnetic poles" ? If I run steady, same direction, currents through two close, slack parallel wires, I will see the two wires attract each other. If I reverse one of the currents I will see the two wires repel each other. If I now roll the wires up into coils, and place them on...