Making A Magnet - Off topic

Roger Hill rhill at
Sun Jul 20 15:14:01 MDT 2014

Department of Nitpicking:  I believe that in the continental U.S.,
the magnetic field points toward magnetic north and *downward*, so
that's the way you'd want to orient the rod for maximum
magnetization.  The magnetic field lines come out of the magnetic
north pole (which is near the geographical south pole), are parallel
to the earth's surface at the magnetic equator, and then go into the
earth in the northern magnetic hemisphere and get "sucked" into the
magnetic south pole, which is near the geographical north pole but
slowly moves as you point out.  For typical U.S. latitudes the
downward component of the magnetic field is somewhat greater than the
horizontal component, so pointing the iron bar somewhere around
50-60° below magnetic north would be about optimal.

-- Roger

----------------- On Richard N's message ----------------- 

> My favorite way to make a magnet is to use an iron rod hanging on a
> string.  Orient it parallel with the earth's magnetic field
> (pointing to magnetic north - check where it is these days because
> it is moving 20 miles a year into Canada - and tilted slightly
> upwards if you are in the US - and then rapping it sharply with a
> hammer.  Presto, it is detectably magnetized.


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