Magnetic Poles And Their Significance

Magnetic Poles

The magnetic pole is the region at each end of a magnet where the external magnetic field is the strongest. Poles of a magnet may refer to a magnetic monopole which is a hypothetical elementary particle. Magnetic poles of the astronomical bodies is a special case of magnets

  • Planet Earth has a North magnetic pole where the north hand of the compass point downwards.
  • It also a south magnetic pole where the south hand of the compass point downward.

When a bar magnet is suspended in the Earth’s magnetic field orients itself in a north-south direction. The north-seeking pole of such magnet, or any similar pole, is called a north magnetic pole. The south-seeking pole, or any pole similar to it, is called a south magnetic pole. Unlike poles of different magnets tend to attract each other while the like poles are known to repel each other.

The bar magnet is an easy device to visualize the magnetic poles. The two ends of a permanent magnet are called poles of a magnet. The force exerted by a magnet is depicted using curved lines with arrows. These lines of force along with the magnetic field surrounding the magnet are known as magnetic field lines. The arrows on the lines show the direction of a magnetic force i.e. from the North Pole to the South Pole of the magnet.

Bar Magnet: Opposite poles attract while same poles repel each other.

Breaking a magnet into two does not mean its North pole and the South Pole become isolated. Each half is found to have its own north and south poles.

What are Magnets?

An object that has the ability to generate a magnetic field is known as Magnet. A magnet has the ability to attract ferrous objects like iron, steel, nickel and cobalt. In the early days, around 600 B.C. the Greeks observed that the naturally occurring ‘lodestone’ attracted iron pieces and this paved a way for the study of magnets. Today, magnets are very common as they can be even made artificially, giving various shapes and sizes.

The best example of common magnets seen in our household is the bar magnet. A bar magnet, in general, is a long and rectangular in shape of a uniform cross-section that attracts pieces of ferrous objects. There are two different poles of a magnet; north pole and south pole. The magnetic compass needle is also a commonly used device which has helped sailors for navigation in the early days, as well as today. The needle has a small magnet which is free to move horizontally on a pivot. The two poles of the compass needle points towards the North and South directions.


Practise This Question

What colour of light is obtained when we mix beams of light of all colour?