A village in DORSET is at the center of the story with calculations concluding that it will become the first place where the three ‘norths’ have met in a single point.
According to calculations by the Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping service, true north, magnetic north and grid north will combine at Langton Matravers this month in a first for Britain.
The historic triple alignment will make landfall in the small village near Swanage in early November and will remain converged for three and a half years as it slowly travels across the country.
Grid north is the blue line on an operating system map that points directly toward or near the North Pole.
True north is the direction of the lines of longitude which all converge at the North Pole, but vary from grid north as it reflects the curve of the earth.
Magnetic north marks the line north to the magnetic north pole.
Having always been west of grid north in Britain, in recent years magnetic north has moved to the other side of grid north. It now reaches the “special line” and will converge with the other two “norths” for the first time in history.
After making landfall at Langton Matravers, the triple lineup will pass north through Poole by Christmas. It will eventually reach Yorkshire in August 2024 before making its final stop in Fraserburgh, Scotland around July 2026.
Mark Greaves, earth measurement expert at Ordnance Survey, said: “It is no exaggeration to say that this is a one-time event that has never happened before.
“Magnetic north moves slowly, so it will likely be several hundred years before this alignment happens again.
“This triple alignment is an interesting quirk of our national cartography and of the natural geophysical processes that drive the evolution of the magnetic field.”
Dr Susan Macmillan, from the British Geological Survey, added: “This is a once in a lifetime event. Due to the unpredictability of the magnetic field over long time scales, it is not possible to say when the three north alignment will occur again.
Visit ordnancesurvey.co.uk online for more information.