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String the Lights Around This Pole

In addition to the Geographic North Pole (True North) and the North Magnetic Pole, some also consider there to be a third important pole.

The North Geomagnetic Pole is the north end of the axis of the magnetosphere, the geomagnetic field that surrounds the Earth and extends into space. It is the centre of the region in which the Northern Lights or "Aurora Borealis" can be seen.

It is therefore important to scientists who study the effects of auroras. From space, the instruments of satellites "see" the magnetic pole at a slightly different spot from its real location, and scientists working with satellite information use the Geomagnetic North Pole in their calculations.

This pole lies about 500 miles / 805 km east of the Magnetic North Pole and is presently located near Qaanaaq (Thule) in Greenland. We say "presently" because, like the Magnetic North Pole, it can move.

PICTURE: The auroral zone (red/yellow). The North Geomagnetic Pole is at the center.

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