A compass is a tool used by people when they need to navigate a certain area. The compass mechanism is possible because of the Earth’s magnetic field. A normal compass has a magnetized needle or pointer placed in a face that looks like a clock. The face has four directions – north, south, east and west. Other compasses will include secondary directions such area as to the northeast, southeast and so on.
At any rate, the compass certainly exists about 1000 years. However, it is doubtful whether these ancient Chinese inventors will recognize our handy little pocket compasses and the device of their invention. Modern compasses are usually small enough to fit easily in the palm of our hand. They use north-pointing magnetic needles or dials inside capsules filled with liquid. The advantage of the liquid in the capsule is that it slows the movement of the needle, allowing it to quickly stabilize rather than oscillate back and forth. The direction in the north is often marked with phosphorescent paint, which allows the user to read the compass, even in low light conditions.
Modern compasses often include a protractor, which uses a separate magnetized needle. In this design, a rotating capsule containing a magnetic needle is provided with a line orientation and described by the arrow orientation. It is installed in a transparent plate that contains a direction indicator. Compasses with protractors can take bearings directly from the map. The edge of the compass is placed on the map in such a way that it connects the current location with the desired destination. The orientation of the line by the compass dial is then rotated to align with the true north, aligning them with the marked line of longitude, disregarding the compass needle completely. The result of the map bearing may then be read in the direction-of-travel line, which may be followed to the destination.
When using a compass, it is important to make compensation for any nearby object that can have a magnetic force. If the compass is close to the car, for example, the magnetic needle will be attracted to the electromagnetic fields of the batteries, engine, etc. Also, the ships contain most of the steel and iron, which greatly affects the accuracy of the compass readings.
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