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Originally posted by H1ght3chHippie
Extremely interesting. I was so far completely unaware of using crystals as navigation devices.
Makes using a magnetic compass look backwards. I've checked out the Nordskip website and the diagrams, and tried to figure out how exactly it works. I can#t seem to figure it out, so maybe someone has a brief understanding and could enlighten us ?
The idea that sunstones have been used by vikings is purely speculative. Therefore the authors are more of attention whores than scientists.
The stone has been found on a english ship that sunk 1600AD, the viking period was from 793 to 1066 AD. The logic of the argument is presented as follows: They found a stone made of calzit on an english ship from 1600AD. The stone could have been potentially used for navigation. Calzit is a common mineral in scandinavia. Therefore the vikings (800 to 600 years before the find) must have navigated with sunstones... that claim really isnt very scientific.
Light passing through such a crystal, including the common Iceland spar, changes in brightness and color as the crystal is rotated. Vikings presumably could have used such crystals to observe polarization patterns and thereby pinpoint the direction of the sun. But exactly how this was done was an enigma, until now. Guy Ropars and Albert Le Floch of the University of Rennes’ Laser Physics Laboratory in France, led the latest study, which has solved the mystery of the myth they say by attacking the problem backwards. “Rather than thinking in term of polarizer, we have deliberately chosen to ‘destroy’ the polarization of the light,” Ropars told Discovery News. “Iceland spar behaves theoretically and experimentally like a perfect depolarizer.” In other words, with the crystal held up to the sky, there is one specific angle of rotation, called the isotropy point, at which the crystal eliminates all polarization of the light passing through it. Here’s where the “sixth sense” comes in: The investigators say that if you look through the crystal in its depolarizing position and then pull it away suddenly from your line of sight, you can catch a glimpse of a faint, elongate yellowish pattern known as a Haidinger’s Brush. The key here is that the ends of that yellow shape point directly toward the sun.