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Writing: Input Wanted A Magic Compass & Real Magnetism

  1. Oct 15, 2016 #1

    I'm looking for some help regarding magnetism and how it might work (or be fictionalized) in regards to a "magic" compass. I have two questions. Please excuse my complete scientific ignorance :)

    In my story, our young hero has a compass. The compass needle just spins in endless circles, never pointing north, never settling. So my first question is, how could this be possible? Is there any sort of science, type of magnetism, type of partially magnetic metal, etc. that could explain this (even if it's a stretch or even a theory)? I want to make it as grounded as possible, but if it's physically impossible, I will just have to fictionalize it.

    The second part: One day this compass stops spinning and leads the hero to a golden key. The idea is that the needle is not made of steel and neither is the key. Both are made of a different type of unique metal/element that are attracted to one another and not affected by the poles. So when the compass gets within range of this key, it leads the hero to it.

    I guess neither the key or needle would need to be made of steel, iron, or anything attracted to the poles, just two types of metal that would only be attracted to each other and able to operate independently of the magnetic poles.

    Any input and ideas are welcome! Thank you in advance for your help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2016 #2


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    Without a power source this is impossible. Every device has some friction, without a power source (a battery, some external variable electric or magnetic fields, sunlight, ...) it will come to rest eventually.

    That doesn't work, there is just one electromagnetism. But you can assume that the key, or its container, or something close to it, is a powerful magnet - stronger than the magnetic field of the planet if you are close enough.

    Edit: typo
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  4. Oct 16, 2016 #3


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    Jack Sparrow's compass?
  5. Oct 19, 2016 #4
    This is helpful! Thank you!
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