While discussing whether Earth’s magnetic field could reverse in the future, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson noted that Santa Claus actually lived on Earth’s South Pole.
“The North Magnetic Pole of the Earth is Earth’s South Pole,” he explained on Star Talk Radio. “That is why all north poles of magnets point there.”
The “north pole” and “south pole” refer to geographic locations on Earth, but they also refer to the two ends of a magnet. The Earth itself acts as a magnet, and has two magnetic poles in addition to its two geographic poles.
When compasses were first invented, people didn’t know much about magnetism. It was assumed the “north end” of the needle on a magnetic compass was pulled toward Earth’s North Pole. But like poles of a magnet repel while opposites attract. The north pole of a magnet is attracted to the south pole of another magnet, which means the “north end” of the needle is actually pulled towards Earth’s South Pole.
Tyson also explained that Earth’s magnetic poles are constantly wandering. The Earth’s magnetic field also increases and decreases in intensity over time.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below: