How to Make a Magnet Orbit Around Another Magnet

James Orgill of The Action Lab (previously) explains the physical science behind getting one magnet to orbit another magnet in a perfect circle. Essentially, one has to create a perfect balance of gravity that attracts the two magnets combined with a centrifugal force that keeps them a certain distance away from each other, much in the way that the earth orbits the sun.

In order to get one object to orbit another one you have to have two forces at play. One of them needs to be an attractive force so you need something that’s going to attract these two balls together and then you also need something that’s going to repel them, something that’s pulling them apart. Those have to perfectly balance out so that they keep each other at bay so it can’t move closer or further away it stays at the same distance from it.

Orgill also discovered that size really does matter, in terms of this experiment anyway.

If we do this a little smarter we might be able to get some type of orbiting effect with magnets. First of all, instead of having two bodies that are about the same size we’re going to have one more massive body and then another smaller thing orbiting around it.

And with that, the experiment was successful.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.