Dip Needle Compass vs. Normal Compass

In summary, the conversation discusses the difference between a dip needle compass and a normal compass, with one person asking why the dip needle compass dips and the other explaining that it is due to the Earth's magnetic field. They also mention the use of dip needle compasses for measuring latitude and their purpose as an instrument for investigating the Earth's field.
  • #1
qomoco
12
0
Why does one "dips" down and the other rotates?
 
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  • #3
I know what it looks like, I'm wondering "why"
 
  • #4
Why does it dip?
Because the magnetic field of the Earth is mostly vertical, it goes out of one pole and into the other. For typical northern city the vertical component is about 4-5x larger than the horizontal, which is a real pain if you are trying to design a compass that can be used when tilted.
- that's why ships compasses are gimbaled to always float level when the ships tips

Why you would own one?
Mainly as an instrument to investigate/demonstrate the Earth's field. You could use it to measure your latitude -although a sextant is easier.
 

1. What is the difference between a dip needle compass and a normal compass?

A dip needle compass is specifically designed to measure the inclination or dip angle of the Earth's magnetic field, while a normal compass is used for general navigation and orientation.

2. How does a dip needle compass work?

A dip needle compass uses a magnetized needle or bar that is suspended on a pivot point to align with the Earth's magnetic field. The angle of the needle's alignment can indicate the dip angle of the magnetic field.

3. When should I use a dip needle compass instead of a normal compass?

A dip needle compass is most useful for navigation in areas where there are significant variations in the Earth's magnetic field, such as near the magnetic poles. It is also used in geology and mining to study the Earth's magnetic field and rock formations.

4. Can a dip needle compass be used for general navigation?

While a dip needle compass is not specifically designed for general navigation, it can still be used for basic orientation and direction finding. However, it may not be as accurate as a normal compass.

5. Are there any limitations to using a dip needle compass?

Yes, there are several limitations to using a dip needle compass. It may not work accurately in areas with high levels of magnetic interference, such as near power lines or large metal objects. It also requires frequent calibration and is less precise than a normal compass.

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