Q:

What is a compass needle?

A:

A compass needle is a device that tells which direction is north, south, east and west. The needle is actually a magnet that is pulled toward the North Pole by the Earth's magnetic field.

This magnet is lightweight, due to the Earth's weak magnetic field, and is placed on a low-friction pivot point, which allows it to turn easily. Created sometime between the second century BC and first century AD in China, the compass was first made of lodestone, a natural magnet that attracts iron. Before the invention of the compass, people used landmarks and the stars to figure directional points.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    How do I describe how a compass needle aligns itself?

    A:

    A compass needle is made of magnetized material and points toward Earth's north magnetic pole no matter which direction the compass faces. Therefore, it is an excellent low-tech tool with which to find direction. Earth has a powerful magnetic field that emanates from the axis of rotation. Magnets are created from materials whose electrons all point the same direction and are attracted to an opposite charge.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do you help kids use a compass?

    A:

    An adult can help a kid read a compass by teaching him how to interpret directions on a map. When kids ride in cars, the driver should help the children develop a sense of location by verbally explaining the directions to them. Children can learn to read compasses easier by learning with wristwatches, or by creating their own natural compasses.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do you use a lensatic compass?

    A:

    A lensatic or military compass is used in conjunction with a topographical map top to set course bearings and follow a course over land. The lensatic compass allows users to create a set of directions to a desired location in magnetic degrees. The lensatic compass possesses a magnetized north-seeking arrow and a floating 360-degree dial that allows the user to determine which direction is north, south, east and west.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do I use a prismatic compass?

    A:

    Using a prismatic compass first entails selecting the bearing and opening its lid, then folding it flat. Next, undo the curled knob, and move the bearing to the top. This is followed by tightening the knurled knob and lining up the two illuminated sticks. Finally, move the compass, and point it forward, ensuring that the two illuminated sticks do not separate.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore