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Magnetic Fields and Compass Orientation

A compass consists of a small, lightweight magnetic needle that is balanced on a pivotal point. The Earth's magnetic field is aligned such that the painted end of the compass needle is always pointing to the north.

Interactive Java Tutorial
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This tutorial demonstrates how an induced magnetic field can influence the direction of the compass needle. By clicking on the switch with the mouse cursor to connect the circuit, the conducting wire wrapped around the compass is energized creating a magnetic field that counteracts the effects of the Earth's magnetic field and changes the direction of the compass needle.

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