How is a compass used to find directions?

AcademicPhysicsNCERTClass 6


A compass is a device that is used to find the direction of a certain place. The needle of a compass always aligns itself in the north-south direction. 

How a compass work

In a compass, only a magnetic needle is used that can rotate freely. When we keep a compass at a place, its magnetic needle will align itself in the north-south direction, because the earth also has its own magnetic field. Once the north-south direction is found then it is very easy to find the east-west direction too.

A compass is based on the earth's magnetic property:

Earth also behaves like a giant magnet. Earth's geographic north pole acts as its magnetic south pole and Earth's geographic south pole acts as its north magnetic pole.

The north pole of a compass needle is attracted to the north because the Earth's north pole is the earth's south magnetic pole. 

Updated on 10-Oct-2022 13:31:36