Very rarely, depending on where you are in the world, your compass can actually point to true north.
Recently, magnetic compasses at Greenwich pointed directly at true north for the first time in 360 years. This is currently happening in Western Australia too. But what does it mean?
Northern lights in Lake Lappajärvi, Finland.
As the Earth's magnetic north pole heads towards Siberia, concerns have been raised that the northern lights could move with it.
This sounds like a good idea at first, but it’s not very practical.
Image Credit: NASA/Mark Vande Hei
Even fridge magnets have magnetic fields approximately 200 times stronger than Earth's.
Do you have a magnetic compass in your head?
Your brain's sensory talents go way beyond those traditional five senses. A team of geoscientists and neurobiologists explored how the human brain monitors and responds to magnetic fields.
The orientations of the stone walls that crisscross the Northeastern U.S. can tell a geomagnetic tale as well as a historical one.
Scientific inspiration struck a geologist after many walks through the woods in New York and New England. These ruins hold the secret of where the compass pointed north when they were built centuries ago.
An artist’s impression of electrons orbiting the nucleus.
Roman Sigaev/ Shutterstock.com
What shape is an electron? The answer, believe it or not, has implications for our understanding of the entire universe, and could reveal whether there are mysterious particles still to be discovered.
Solar flares captured on the Sun.
When dozens of US mines planted in waters off the Vietnam coast detonated almost simultaneously in 1972, all eyes turned to the Sun for an explanation.
The Earth has a powerful magnetic field.
A strange patch of extremely strong magnetic field occurred over Jordan in 1000BC. Could we be about to face another one?
Barkly Pass, the stratotype for the Elliot Formation. These beautiful rocks hold ancient secrets.
The earth's own magnetic field offers a useful way to measure the age of rocks - information that can help unpack ancient events and aid our understanding of the present.
Mission control loses signal from Cassini.
Cassini may be gone but the data it left behind could help reveal how long Saturn's day is and how its magnetic field is generated.
Signals from violent earthquakes are helping reveal the landscape of the planet's insides.
What’s north would become south.
Are we headed to a magnetic reversal and all the global disruption that would bring? Enter archaeomagnetism. A look at the archaeological record in southern Africa provides some clues.
The Earth’s magnetic field is hugely important to our survival.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre/Flickr
A geomagnetic reversal may have a severe impact on humans.
ESA’s Swarm constellation reveals new rapid changes of our magnetic field, tied directly to the heart of our planet’s molten iron core.
Space research never stops and it seems neither do the surprises. On ABC Breakfast News I covered some huge results from the last few weeks. Be still my beating (magnetic) heart Earth’s magnetic field…
Spin, liquid – just add quantum.
Here's how they could revolutionise science.
An artist’s illustration of Kappa Ceti whose stellar winds are 50 times stronger than our sun’s. Any Earth-like planet would need a magnetic field to protect its atmosphere if it was to stand a chance of hosting life.
In the search for life on other planets in the universe we need to find the right kind of star, and it needs to have the right kind of space weather.
Launching a space balloon in Sweden.
Geomagnetic storms can interact with particles near Earth, causing issues for satellites and other tech. Researchers send balloons 20 miles into the sky to figure out just what's going on up there.
Riding on air.
The engineers who brought this science-fiction stable to life relied on some very well established science fact.
When the sun flares, space weather is on its way to Earth.
Our power grid infrastructure on Earth is more vulnerable to space weather than previously thought – with susceptibility in more regions and even during quiet geomagnetic periods.
The invisible force and visible effects of magnetism.
I have a confession: I’m obsessed with magnets. We rely on magnets every day, but seldom give them a second thought. There are magnets in your credit card, your cellphone, your car, microwave oven and…