Disk Magnet and Compass Interactive
The black circle represents a ceramic disk magnet, with the north pole side up. The other item represents a compass; the red end of the needle is the end that would point towards Earth's North Magnetic Pole. Notice that the red end of the compass needle points away from the magnet. For historical reasons, what we call "Earth's North Magnetic Pole" is actually the south pole of Earth's magnetic field! Yikes!
Drag either the compass or the magnet around to explore the magnetic field around the magnet.
(Note: If you cannot see the animation below, or it is not working properly, you may need to download the latest Flash player.)
This is an early draft version of this activity. We expect to replace it with
a better version soon. Some things to be aware of:
- If you drag either the compass or the magnet off screen and let go, you won't have any way to get them back. Reload/refresh the web page to start
- The behavior of the compass might be a bit different in the real world when you place it on top of the magnet.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
Earth has a magnetic field. If you imagine a gigantic bar magnet inside of Earth, you'll have a pretty good idea what Earth's magnetic field is shaped like. Of course, Earth DOESN'T have a giant bar magnet...more
The force of magnetism causes material to point along the direction the magnetic force points. This property implies that the force of magnetism has a direction. As shown in the diagram to the left, the...more
The Earth is a good example of a planetary dipole, where the lines of force point in a direction out of the South (magnetic) Pole and into the North (magnetic) Pole. Planets can also show evidence of quadrupoles...more
A magnetometer is an instrument for measuring magnetic fields. Many spacecraft carry magnetometers to measure the magnetic fields around planets they orbit or fly by. When a spacecraft takes such measurements,...more
Electricity and magnetism are two closely related and very important topics within the science of physics. We use electricity to power computers and to make motors go. Magnetism makes a compass point North...more
Electromagnetic radiation is the result of oscillating electric and magnetic fields. The wave of energy generated by such vibrations moves through space at the speed of light. And well it should... for...more
Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation. A radio wave has a much longer wavelength than does visible light. We use radio waves extensively for communications. Radio waves have wavelengths as...more