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Science Sunday: Earth’s Magnetic Pull

Post Author: Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle

Today, we are going to talk about the science of Earth’s magnetic field and navigation. The Earth has a magnetic field because of the molten iron in the outer core. There is a lot of molten iron present in the North and South poles of the Earth, creating this magnetic field. The magnetic field has many purposes including protecting us from solar wind, ultraviolet light, and aiding us in navigation. 

A compass works by being attracted to magnets. So, try this at home: take a compass and a small magnet. As you move the magnet around, what do you notice that the needle is doing? Now, how can we take that same idea and create our own compass using a needle, a magnet, a container of water and a small piece of styrofoam? Click here to watch the full video and see how you can try this at home. 

To learn more about the Earth and Earth’s magnetic field, visit the Our Changing Earth Exhibition at the Connecticut Science Center. Included with the purchase of General Admission, this exhibit explores Earth’s changing landscape through unique and interactive experiences. Visit CTScienceCenter.org for more information.


Mark Dixon is a meteorologist on WFSB Channel 3 Eyewitness News and a host of the weekly Science Sunday segments with the Connecticut Science Center. He has been nominated for several Emmy awards for weather anchoring and has won awards from the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcaster’s Association and the American Meteorological society.




Aoife Ryle is a STEM Educator at the Connecticut Science Center. In addition to working with school groups, she works with our Teen Program, Overnights department, and shoots weekly science segments for WFSB. She has a degree in Bioengineering from the University of Maine and has a personal interest in the life sciences and engineering which makes bioengineering a perfect crossover.