Does a compass needle point north because it has a south orientation?

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Offline Joe L. Ogan

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Does a compass needle point north because it has a south pole orientation or vice versa?  Does the north magnetic pole actually have a south pole orientation?  Thanks for information.  Joe L. Ogan

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Offline graham.d

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What is called the earth's North Pole is, in fact, a magnetic south pole. The historic convention is that the north pole of a magnetic will point to the place on earth called the "North Pole" - strictly the "Magnetic North Pole" as it is not in exactly the same place.

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Offline LeeE

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Hmm... I thought that the correct term for the end of the needle in a compass that points to magnetic north was the North seeking pole  i.e. it was actually a south pole and the terrestrial magnetic north pole is actually a North pole and not a South pole.   Umm... I'm confused now.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline graham.d

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According to wikipedia...

"The Earth's North Magnetic Pole is the point on the Earth's surface at which the Earth's magnetic field points vertically downwards (i.e., the "dip" is 90). This point moves gradually with time. As described later in this article, the North Magnetic Pole is physically a magnetic field south pole."