Declination

Summarized by Plex Health
Last Updated: 10 May 2022

At most position on the Earth's surface, the compass does not aim exactly toward geographical north. The deviation of the compass from true north is an angle called "declination". It might surprise you to know that at very high latitudes, the compass can even direct south! The collar of USGS topographic maps reveals the magnetic declination at the center of the map the year that the map was made. If you were to stand at the north geomagnetic pole, your compass, held flat customarily, would not have a preference to factor in any particular direction, and the same would be real if you were standing at the south geomagnetic pole. If you were to hold your compass on its side, the north-pointing end of the compass would point down at the north geomagnetic pole, and it would aim up at the south geomagnetic pole. The USGS Geomagnetism Program runs magnetic observatories in greater than a lots locations around the United States.

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