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Science quiz: Is the Earth's North Magnetic pole a North Magnetic Pole?

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posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 10:58 AM
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I've been collecting some misnomers in science and thought I'd share this one.

"Is the Earth's North Magnetic pole a North Magnetic Pole?"

What was your answer when you read the thread title?
The answer is, no, it's a south pole.

If you didn't already know this, you could probably have figured it out by stopping to think about this:

1. If you have a compass, the magnetic north needle points north.
2. You learned a long time ago that opposites attract, to the magnetic north of the compass needle is attracted to the magnetic opposite, meaning magnetic south.

Whoever decided to name the North pole apparently didn't take the "opposites attract" observation into consideration.The concept isn't that confusing but the terminology does get a little confusing when we refer to what is actually the magnetic south pole as the magnetic North pole, as explained here:

Polarity of North Magnetic Pole

The convention in early compasses was to call the end of the needle pointing to the Earth's North Magnetic Pole the "north pole" (or "north-seeking pole") and the other end the "south pole" (the names are often abbreviated to "N" and "S"). Because opposite poles attract, this definition means that the Earth's North Magnetic Pole is actually a magnetic south pole and the Earth's South Magnetic Pole is a magnetic north pole.


It's also explained in the footnote of this illustration (follow the asterisk):


This isn't the only case where we stick with confusing terminology for historical reasons.

Is there any way to straighten out this confusion, without making it worse than it already is?
edit on 25-4-2014 by Arbitrageur because: clarification




posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 11:23 AM
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Well I prefer to think that it is the compass´ "north" needle that is actually a south pole and points to our Earth's north pole.
edit on 25-4-2014 by Blastoff because: punctuation



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 11:28 AM
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I feel the same way concerning the phrase that we revolve around the sun .The term is embedded in our brain but if we stop to think of the process ,we see our sun .now we know the sun is in the sky and travelling in a direction that could be considered away from us .For us to go around it we would have to move from the place we are and go around to the other side .The sun is still travelling in the same direction which would mean it is travelling towards us . But because the sun is in the galactic arm of our galaxy it is kind of being towed and we are behind the forward motion of the sun but are instead of going around it we are in a spiral behind it .



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 11:31 AM
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a reply to: Blastoff

I'm not really sure what the best way to resolve the issue would be so I'm open to ideas, but here's the problem I see with that:

currently the only thing that is wrong is the naming of the Earth's poles.

If we looked at it that way, wouldn't everything else be wrong, including all the textbooks in what they describe as north and south poles of all magnets?



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 11:38 AM
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a reply to: the2ofusr1
Actually, in the galactic plane, about half the time Earth leads the sun a little and about half the time it lags the sun a little in the galactic orbit. Don't think of it as being towed, think of it like a ball tied to a string you are whirling over your head while you walk. About half the time the ball is ahead of you and about half the time it's behind you.

If you want an even more accurate model do this while walking around a big fountain that represents the galaxy, and instead of whirling the ball parallel to the ground, tilt it about 60 degrees which is about how much our solar system is tilted with respect to the galaxy.

edit on 25-4-2014 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 11:40 AM
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The fault is with the person that named/designed/decribed the compass, not the actual earth pole itself.

North pole is North pole.

Compass shows north by using the south end.



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 11:44 AM
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Is this why there is so much interest in a polar reversal?
That would fix it, right?



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 11:48 AM
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a reply to: luciddream

Well there's an inconsistency and as I said to blastoff you could resolve it by renaming the Earth's poles, or else by renaming the poles of every other magnet in existence which probably number in the millions, including compasses, and all the textbooks too which refer to things like "the right hand rule". So, it's not just compasses that would have to have the names of the poles reversed, it's every single magnet except the Earth's magnetic field. But you have a point, whoever started the naming could have done it better, so we wouldn't have a discrepancy.



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 11:51 AM
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a reply to: Phage
Yes a pole reversal would correct the discrepancy, but I think the interest in that was more along the lines of doom porn, instead of resolving this discrepancy.



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 11:52 AM
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a reply to: Arbitrageur What holds it all together ? Gravity is not a strong force is it ? Why does the moon rotate on it's axis ?



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 11:59 AM
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a reply to: Arbitrageur

Does this mean the south actually won the civil war? Is Florida north of New York?



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 12:09 PM
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a reply to: the2ofusr1

Gravity is a very weak force relative to other forces, however you can also say a penny isn't much money.

Collect enough pennies and you can still be rich. That's sort of how the sun's gravity works, the weak force ends up not being so weak because the sun has so much mass, kind of like the millionaire with 100 million pennies.

Like many orbits, tidal locking is present in the moon's orbit which explains its rotation.

a reply to: AutumnWitch657
From a magnetically oriented point of view, I suppose sort of, maybe.


Not geographically though.

edit on 25-4-2014 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 12:31 PM
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a reply to: Arbitrageur


Because opposite poles attract, this definition means that the Earth's North Magnetic Pole is actually a magnetic south pole and the Earth's South Magnetic Pole is a magnetic north pole.


I think it is better if we say: "the North Magnetic Pole is actually the south pole of Earth's magnetic field" , right?



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 02:11 PM
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I actually knew that, I have known that for about five years. I never said anything about this when I found out, thinking most people probably knew about it. I figured I was the one who wasn't paying attention in school. But then again, I never remember the teachers ever even addressing anything about this subject. I learned about this when researching dipoles and geomagnetic hot spots around the country.



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 02:18 PM
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a reply to: operation mindcrime
Yes, for now, until the next pole reversal, when the discrepancy will go away.

a reply to: rickymouse
Same here, as I don't remember this being specifically pointed out in school, though "opposites attract" was definitely taught and it's not hard to reason it out from there.



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 02:31 PM
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Couldn't one just as easily say the North Pole is indeed the North Pole and the needle in the compass is a South Pole?



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 07:53 PM
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a reply to: Arbitrageur

Just a "what if"...What if the person or people who named the poles were referencing previous materials of evidence that dated back to a time when the North Pole was the North Pole, before pole flip or knowledge of pole reversal? How many millenia ago would that historical record be? I realize that is out there, but maybe a prior civilization established the magnetic relation, but their civilization fell prior to the next flip, our current state, and it was not until after we adopted their knowledge that our current civilization discovered evidence of reversal?


edit on 25-4-2014 by Boscov because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 08:54 PM
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a reply to: Arbitrageur

Even Batteries i.e. + and - are marked at the wrong ends of such.



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 09:14 PM
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a reply to: BASSPLYR
Sure that would be fine if the naming convention had started off like that. The problem now is that millions of textbooks and magnet markings would all be wrong if we did that today.

a reply to: Boscov

I think it's a reasonable and valid question to ask. I think the answer is the last major reversal was 780,000 years ago and humans in modern form have been around for maybe 200,000 years, and I doubt that our use of magnets goes back anywhere near 200,000 years though I'm not really sure when the first magnets were used. Other problems are I don't even know what languages were used over 5000 years ago. I'm inclined to think the history of this is much more recent.

a reply to: steaming
Interesting, have you got a source for that? One discrepancy I'm aware of is that when we draw arrows to illustrate the direction of current flow, they show the movement of positive charge, but it's nearly always negatively charged electrons that are moving, so because of this, negative charge movement is in the opposite direction of the current flow arrows showing the movement of positive charges (which usually don't move except in things like plasma and even then they don't move as much).

But I thought the + and - terminals of a battery were correctly marked...I'd like to learn more about it if they aren't.

edit on 25-4-2014 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 09:22 PM
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originally posted by: Arbitrageur
Interesting, have you got a source for that? One discrepancy I'm aware of is that when we draw arrows to illustrate the direction of current flow, they show the movement of positive charge, but it's nearly always negatively charged electrons that are moving, so because of this movement is in the opposite direction of the current flow arrow. But I thought the + and - terminals of a battery were correctly marked...I'd like to learn more about it if they aren't.


Actually, the batteries are fine. What's wrong are the symbols for semiconductors, because they assume conventional current (movement of positive charge). Europeans tend to draw schematics and write spec sheets from the technically correct point of view, but I was brought up on the US/GB conventional current approach. It's confusing for a few minutes trying to read German electrical schematics.




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