Magnetic Field

  • Thread starter Zinc
  • Start date
3
0
Why does the north pole of a magnet attract to the north geographic pole of the Earth?
 

Danger

Gold Member
9,458
244
Two things about that...
#1) it doesn't
#2) it doesn't

There might be a third one that I'm missing, but that about covers it.

To start with, it is not the geographic north pole that it points to; it's the north magnetic pole, which actually moves around. An air traffic controller, for instance, might instruct a pilot to "steer one four seven magnetic" to make sure that the direction isn't taken to mean "one four seven true". The latitude determines how much difference there is between the two poles.
Secondly, the pole of the magnet is called 'north' because that's the magnetic pole that it points to. It's actually a 'south' pole in reference to the planet.
Welcome to PF, by the way.
 
Last edited:
76
0
Two things about that...
#1) it doesn't
#2) it doesn't
it does
it does

To start with, it is not the geographic north pole that it points to; it's the north magnetic pole, which actually moves around.
it does attract to the magnetic SOUTH pole wich is about at the noth geographic pole
 

Danger

Gold Member
9,458
244
Let's not get into semantics here. Before anyone knew anything about geology or planetology or anything else, people noticed that a lodestone would tend to orient itself toward the 'top' and 'bottom' of the planet. The direction 'north' was already established, so they called the pole of the magnet 'north' since it pointed that way. The planet has more right to the name 'north' than does any magnet.
 
76
0
the magnetic poles were decieded what is north and south according to where it was pointing on the planet, not the other way around
 

Danger

Gold Member
9,458
244
:confused:
 

Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
6,904
14
Danger, I was taught that the NP of a magnet points to the Magnetic South Pole, which is very close to the Geographic North Pole. I believe that's how the naming convention works...but it's possible there's more than one convention in use.

Irrespective of the semantics, reason for this is in the equation for the torque acting on a magnetic moment in an external magnetic field (or, alternatively, in the energy equation).
 
Last edited:
76
0
thats how it was decieded, the point that points to the north is the northpole of the magnet, and the otehr southpole. and as science figured out north attract to south tehrefor magnetic south have to be at geographic north
 

Danger

Gold Member
9,458
244
Gokul43201 said:
Danger, I was taught that the NP of a magnet points to the Magnetic South Pole, which is very close to the Geographic North Pole
Gokul, I don't have a clue of who you are other than the fact that I have immense respect and appreciation for your inputs to PF. I've learned a lot from you, and am apparently still doing so in this thread. Because of your expertise and mature approach to everything, I had assumed that you were somewhere in my age range. This is apparently wrong. When I was in school a couple of years ago :uhh: , we were taught it as I posted. It would seem that the convention has changed, so I apologize for the bad posts. And thank you for translating, because I was honestly having some trouble following part of the thread.
 

Danger

Gold Member
9,458
244
It's now a moot point, but I just remembered something about the way we were taught it. It was based upon the fact that with original lodestone, and the compasses manufactured thereof, the end of the needle was not called the 'north pole'; it was called the 'north-seeking pole'. By that convention, the planetary pole was already defined as 'north'.
 

Want to reply to this thread?

"Magnetic Field" You must log in or register to reply here.

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving

Top Threads

Top