Courses
Courses for Kids
Free study material
Free LIVE classes
More

Finding Directions

Finding Direction: An Introduction

Last updated date: 15th Mar 2023
Total views: 42.6k
Views today: 1.22k

Generally, there are four cardinal directions named east, west, north, and south. Our earth is the greatest magnet. We use the compass to find the directions. This compass has a magnetic needle. The ends of this needle always stay in north and south directions under the effect of the magnetic field of the earth.


We can also find directions without using a compass by noticing some natural things like sunrise and sunset, and the shadow of a static pole. Magnetic directions are of three types which are named axial magnetization direction, diametrical magnetization direction, and radial magnetization direction.


Types of Direction

  • Cardinal Directions: There are four cardinal directions named north, south, east, and west.

Cardinal Direction

Cardinal Direction

  • Diagonal Directions: there are four diagonal directions named northwest, northeast, southwest, and southeast.

Diagonal Direction

Diagonal Direction

  • Vertical Directions: A vertical direction is a direction passing by a given point If it is locally aligned with the local gravity vector at that point. There are two vertical directions, up and down.

  • Relative Directions: Relative directions are also known as egocentric coordinates. Relative directions can be useful to people who are unfamiliar with the location of cardinal directions. There are two relative directions, in and out.


Relative location


Relative Location


Magnetization Directions

When a magnetic material is positioned close to a magnet, it induces a density of magnetic dipole moments known as magnetization. Different magnetic materials require different magnetization fields to achieve saturation. Magnetization directions are of three types which are given below:

  1. Axial Magnetization Direction: Axial magnetization is directed along the length of the magnet.

  2. Diametrical Magnetization Direction: Diametric magnetization direction occurs along the breadth or diameter of the magnet.

  3. Radial Magnetization Reaction: In radial magnetization, magnetization is directed along the outer and inner diameters of the magnet. It is used for ring-shaped magnets.

Radial Magnetization Reaction


Radial Magnetization Reaction


How is a Compass Used to Find Directions?

A compass is a device in which one magnetic needle is present which shows two directions north and south. We can find directions in any place with the help of a compass. North and south directions are marked on a compass. Steps to find the direction with the help of a compass are as follows:

  • First, take a compass and go to the place where you want to find the directions and move the compass freely in the air.

  • During the resting, the compass needle stays in the direction of north and south.

  • As we know the ends of the compass needle are already marked as north and south poles, so we can easily come to know the north and south directions.

Compass


Compass


How to Know Direction Without Compass?

You can observe the motions of the Sun and a shadow of a thing to determine directions. Since the Sun rises in the east direction and it sets in the west direction, the shadow infuses and will always move in the opposite direction of the Sun. There are many ways to check directions. Some are as follows:

  1. Shadow Stick:

  • Plant the stick in the ground and mark its shadow with a stone. After some time, the shadow will be moved in the opposite direction of the Sun.

  • Mark the second shadow with the help of a stone.

  • The first shadow is of the west and the second shadow is of the east.


  1. Shadow Dial:

  • Take a stick or pole and plant it in the ground, marking the shadow of the pole end.

  • Now attach one end of a string with a pole and the second end of the string with a sharp stick.

  • Draw a circle on the ground starting from the rock of the pole shadow. When the shadow of the pole touches this circle again, mark the point and connect it with the first rock.

  • The first line which connects the first rock with the second rock is the east-west line. Where the first rock represents the east and the second rock represents the west.

  • North will be 90 degrees clockwise from the west and south will be 90 degrees anticlockwise from the east.


Interesting Facts

  • The compass needle always stays in the direction of north and south.

  • The magnetic field of the earth affects the magnetic field of the compass needle.

  • Different types of magnetic materials require different magnetic fields to achieve saturation.


Key Features

  • A compass is a major tool to find directions.

  • We can find the direction by noticing the movement of the Sun, as it rises in the east direction and sets in the west direction.

  • Three magnetic directions are axial, diametrical, and radial.

Competitive Exams after 12th Science

FAQs on Finding Directions

1. What is the best way for finding the direction?

The best way used for finding the direction is a compass rather than any other method.

2. How does the compass show direction?

The compass works on the magnetic behaviour of the earth as the earth has two poles - North Pole and South Pole as the earth is a large magnet.

3. What are the two main types of compasses?

Two main types of compass are the magnetic compass and the gyro compass. A magnetic compass has a magnetic element (needle or a card) that aligns itself with the magnetic lines of Earth's magnetic field to point to the magnetic poles of the Earth.