If you’ve been anywhere near the Northern Hemisphere, then you might have heard someone asking “Is there only one-north?” This question isn’t an uncommon one. In fact, it’s a common misunderstanding that is not only silly, but also downright confusing.
The truth is, there are actually three north poles on Earth: the “true” or geographic north, the instantaneous North pole and the Magnetic North pole. While the names all sound similar, they are very different and should not be confused with each other.
First, the “true” or geographic North Pole is where all lines of longitude converge into what we call the “North Pole.” This point is on Ellesmere Island in Canada. It’s where a compass needle points to, because it is aligned with the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field.
Now, there’s another point that doesn’t have the same name but is still called the “North Pole”: this is where all lines of attraction converge into what we call the “Magnetic North Pole.” This point is on Ellesmere Islands in Northern Canada. It’s where a spotting scope or even a normal compass needle points to, because it’s aligned with the direction of the Earth’s magnetism.
The difference is that the magnetic inclination of the Earth’s magnetic field changes every day, and can flip polarity to either magnetic or geographic. This is known as the Polar Reversal Theory and is a major cause of confusion when talking about ‘north’ and’south’.
But there’s more to the story. Not only does there have to be more than one North Pole, but there’s also more than just one North Star.
We have the ‘North Star’, which is located directly above our ‘North Pole’ on our planet’s rotational axis. It’s not the brightest star in the sky, but it is easily spotted from the Earth if you’re in the northern hemisphere.
If you look up into the night sky, then you’ll notice that a star called Polaris, or the “North Star,” is directly above the ‘North Pole’ along our planet’s rotational axis. The reason that Polaris is called the ‘North Star’, and not the ‘South Star’ or ‘West Star’ or ‘East Star’, is that these stars aren’t aligned with our planet’s north and south poles, but with our planet’s rotational axis.
Despite this, many people seem to think that because we can find’south’ with our eyes or a compass, then it must be true. This is a misconception, as the stars and a compass can point in both directions.
But, the reality is that our Earth has more than just one ‘north’. This is because the Earth’s magnetic field varies daily and can flip polarity to either magnetic and then back again.
That said, it’s a little easier to figure out how the “north” bias came about than you might have thought. It probably goes back to the days of explorers, who travelled by the North Star.
Regardless of the origin, this mentality was firmly established in the 16th century and stayed with us until the 20th. The “north” mentality might have had some basis in physics and in the belief that the sun would always rise in the east, but it’s clear that it was simply the way a lot of people at the time saw things. the hill one north condo