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Vital Directions - Finding North without a compass

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posted on May, 17 2012 @ 08:12 PM
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[color=Red Size=5]Finding North without a compass

Shadow method

Take a longer stick, and place in the ground, and make sure you have several shorter sticks handy.

In a clear area near to your camp, place the long, preferably strait stick in the ground as vertically as you can. It will take a good portion of the day to make this work.

As the fist shadow is cast from the long stick, place one of your shorter stick in the ground at the tip of the shadow, you can do this several times over the day, making sure that you also catch the last shadow cast by the stick.

In the northern hemisphere the shadows would be cast mainly on the northern side of the stick, north being half way between the first stick you put in the ground at the first shadow, and the last stick you put in the ground at the last shadow, on the side the shadow is cast.

In the southern hemisphere, the process is the same, but the shadow would be cast on the southern side of the long stick, meaning the the mid spot between the first and last shadow on the side the shadows fall on is south.

This is something many of have seen in action, but often we miss what is happening, if you ever watch a sundial this is exactly what is happening, noon on the sun dial would be North in the Northern hemisphere, and South in the Southern Hemisphere.

A practical application of this concept is making a garden, I have seen ornamental gardens, and rock gardens, where the long strait stick is an obelisk of some sort, or a reflection ball, and the shadow arc is represented by the flower or vegetable bed, each hour being represented by a different flower or vegetable.

Using your watch


In the Northern Hemisphere:

Find an older analog watch, on with hour and minute hands that is set accurately.

Bisect (that is, find the center point of) the angle between the hour hand and the twelve o'clock mark (the number 12 on the watch).

The center of the angle between the hour hand and twelve o'clock mark is the north-south line.

If you don't know which way is north and which south, just remember that no matter where you are, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

In the northern hemisphere the sun is due south at midday. If your watch is set to daylight saving time bisect the angle between the hour hand and the one o'clock mark instead.

In the Southern Hemisphere:

Use an analog watch as above, and point the watch's twelve o'clock mark (the number 12) toward the sun. If your watch is set to daylight saving time, point the one o'clock mark toward the sun.

Bisect the angle between the twelve o'clock mark (or one o'clock mark if using daylight saving time) and the hour hand to find the north-south line. If you're unsure which way is north, remember that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west no matter where you are. In the southern hemisphere, however, the sun is due north at midday.

Sorry, but this does not work with high technology, so digital watches are out, so you might want to think about purchasing a GPS and many MANY batteries if you must have high tech toys for direction finding.

Other less accurate methods

There are a couple more methods that float around, but are not dependably accurate. Moss generally grows on the north side of trees, but it is not something that is 100% dependable or accurate. Another method that is even less accurate, is looking at the movement of the clouds.

People will tell you that the clouds from west to east, which is statistically true, for the northern hemisphere, but not so for other hemisphere,or tropical regions. But it is not accurate at all for finding north at any one point in time.

You can also look at the way trees are leaning, generally speaking, trees lean towards the sun, so if you are in a forest in the northern hemisphere, and are in a forest with all the trees leaning in one direction, it is a safe bet those trees are leaning south, the opposite for the southern hemisphere, the trees would be leaning in a northerly direction.

Using Stars

You can also find North-south using the stars, and the methods vary depending on if you are in the northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere, and equatorial, (that would be equator) regions, but we will leave that for another segments.
edit on 5/17/2012 by RyanFromCan because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 17 2012 @ 09:01 PM
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reply to post by RyanFromCan
 



Very interesting! I've read about some of these techniques. Once upon a time in America, the slaves had to figure out which way Canada was...

A question I've thought about:

Theoretically of course, if the poles ever did a major move, how would you decide where to move, if it started getting quite cold?? How would you even know which hemisphere you might be on??



posted on May, 17 2012 @ 09:15 PM
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hack a tree down, and see what direction the rings point to. rings of a tree point north.
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posted on May, 17 2012 @ 09:21 PM
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reply to post by ovumcranium
 


Are you talking about a magnetic pole shift or a physical pole shift?

There is always a bit of a fluctuation in the earth's magnetic fields, often described as magnetic eddies. This is also affected by the type of terrain or area you are in, there are sections of the world where magnetic compasses are useless, and even radio signals are difficult to detect or propagate. The most common cause of this phenomenon is Iron ore deposits.

The physical North pole actually moves slightly as well, it is affected by the "earth's wobble" among other things, natural phenomenon also affect the location of true north, the 2011 Japan earthquake actually moved the axis, and changed the speed of the earth's rotation. True north can best be described as the axis that the earth rotates around.

Here is a youtube video of a top, the best analogy I can think of to describe how the earth spins.

In the video, you can see the top starting to wobble about half way through the video, the axis the top spins around does not change, but the axis itself wobbles.

When you look at a map used for navigating, such as a Topographical map (Topo map), it will have, in it's legend, a part that with give you the annual average declination, that is, the average annual change between map north, true north magnetic north. Using these figures, you calculate the difference between magnetic north and map north, so you can adjust a compass to use conjunction with that particular map, so you can navigate.

Declination changes from place to place, and year to year. As a map gets older, declination becomes more inaccurate.



posted on May, 17 2012 @ 09:37 PM
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reply to post by gunshooter
 


Not exactly correct, or wrong either.

The bark on a tree, and the rings on a tree grow thicker (in the northern hemisphere) on the north to north-east side. If you were to draw a line dissecting the rings equally in their eventual egg shape, it would actually point NNE (North-northeast), not North, but this is s phenomenon that is more apparent in older trees, as it becomes more apparent as the tree grows older with the compounding effect of the rings being thicker on that side year after year.

This method requires the cutting down of an older (and larger) tree, it does have it's place, but is not a rapid method of telling time.



posted on May, 17 2012 @ 11:06 PM
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Originally posted by RyanFromCan
[color=Red Size=5]Finding North without a compass
Shadow method

Bisect the angle between the twelve o'clock mark (or one o'clock mark if using daylight saving time) and the hour hand to find the north-south line. If you're unsure which way is north, remember that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west no matter where you are. In the southern hemisphere, however, the sun is due north at midday.

Sorry, but this does not work with high technology, so digital watches are out, so you might want to think about purchasing a GPS and many MANY batteries if you must have high tech toys for direction finding.


Thanks for your post... lots of useful information. I would only like to point out that someone with just a digital watch can still apply the method you described for the analog watch with a little extra effort. For example draw a circle in the dirt (or snow or mud) with a 12 marker in the correct position and draw the hour hand relative to that per the hour on the digital watch. Might not be as accurate as an analog watch but most likely will suffice.

Or you could even use your own two arms to do the approximation and bring them slowly together to bisect the angle.

edit on 17-5-2012 by ThreadTrekker because: Simply the explanation



posted on May, 18 2012 @ 03:06 AM
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When I look towards the sunrise, that's East. Looking East, Kali stands on my right, which is South. So North is left, and West is behind me.

Jai Ma.

edit on 18-5-2012 by petrus4 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 18 2012 @ 04:43 PM
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Sun rises in the east..sets in the west. Everything else can be determined from that. Don't try to find direction close to noon this way.



posted on May, 19 2012 @ 02:55 AM
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reply to post by Gazrok
 


actually - at higher latitudes [ > n 50 ] - the sun is most reliable at noon [ in summer / winter the sunrise / set can occur at a bearing > 30 dregrees from true east / west ]

so if you dont realise this and use observed sunrise as true east - then take a sighting at right angles to the observed sun rise and declare it true north - you could be on the way to a serious navigation error



posted on Jun, 13 2012 @ 09:17 PM
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reply to post by RyanFromCan
 


Ah ha. Thank-you.

I think I mean a physical pole shift - like a major one.

Here's my query:

Theoretically say the North Pole suddenly moved to Egypt, due to ?major freak. All you know is that you are in say, Sudan, and it has started to snow. How would you figure out where which pole now was, and which direction you should start moving - rather quickly perhaps. How would you decide to go (what used to be) south rather than any other direction?



posted on Jun, 13 2012 @ 09:47 PM
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Reply to post by ovumcranium
 


Assuming you survived the shift.. At that point I'd say just follow the animals! Lol


 
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