A Guide To Navigating the Stars Without a Smartphone


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A Guide To Navigating the Stars Without a Smartphone



What happens when you’re lost and you don’t have your phone or any recognizable landmarks to give you directions? Well, you look up at the stars.
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The stars that we see in the sky today are the same ones that guided the ancient Egyptians in building their pyramids and maritime travelers in their travels around the globe. Many of the techniques that guided people in the past are similar to the ones that we use in our modern world. That’s because during any time of the year anywhere on Earth, the stars appear over the horizon at predictable heights and at measurable distances. For example, Polaris — what most people know as the “North Star”— is an easy target when you’re navigating in the Northern Hemisphere.

First thing you want to do is find Ursa Major, also called “The Big Dipper” in the United States. Depending on where you are, and what time of day and year it is, the Big Dipper will be in a different part of the sky, but it’s always circling the North Star. Plus, it’s a pretty recognizable feature.Once you’ve located the Big Dipper, take a look at it’s “bucket”.

On the front edge of this “bucket” are two stars, Merak and Dubhe. Draw an imaginary line from Merak, through Dubhe out to the bright star of Polaris. That’s the North Star! Now that you’ve found the North Star, you’ve also found the “Little Dipper.” The reason we use the North Star is because it hardly moves making it a reliable navigational point. However, the North Star isn’t much help if you’re in the Southern hemisphere. You have to catch it at the right time and place. So, if you’re in the south, you’re going to need the constellation called the “Southern Cross”.

#stars #navigation #NASA #NICER #sextant #constellations #astronomy #astrology #science #seeker


Read more:

How to Navigate By the Stars
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/29/magazine/how-to-navigate-by-the-stars.html
“As seafarers have done for millenniums, you can determine about how many miles north of the Equator you are by measuring the distance between the North Star and the horizon. To do this, stretch out your arm. For most, one fist equals approximately 10 degrees; latitudinal degrees each represent about 69 miles.”

From dung beetles to seals, these animals navigate by the stars
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/stars-milky-way-navigation-dung-beetles
“Humans have been navigating by the stars since ancient times, but a small yet diverse group of species also use the night sky to get around. Some recognize the movement of star patterns, while others get their bearings via particularly bright individual stars. A few even plot their course via our galaxy, the Milky Way.”

Sextant, Apollo Guidance and Navigation System
https://www.ion.org/museum/item_view.cfm?cid=6&scid=5&iid=293
“As astronauts traveled toward the Moon, they never were in absolute darkness. Establishing the Earth’s limb was difficult due to the planet’s atmosphere, although the astronauts went through extensive training at the Instrumentation Lab to learn to recognize a point on the horizon that they could return to consistently. On the positive side, correcting for gyroscopic drift was relatively a straightforward process. The astronaut would key in the code for a star into the computer, and the computer in turn would rotate the spacecraft until that star appeared in the telescope’s cross-hairs.”


You can probably point to the Big Dipper, Orion’s Belt, and your astrological sign in the sky. But what would the constellations look like from another solar system? And will any of Orion’s stars ever become black holes? In Seeker Constellations, we’ll explain the science of the universe’s most famous stars and dive into the culturally significant stories behind them. Most importantly, we’ll provide a guide to where you can see these incredible constellations for yourself!

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

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26 Comments

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  1. Hi, I have one question that Google has not been able to answer. Could you make a video about our relative place in space? For example. We know the plane we sit on relative to the sun. How is the Sun moving through the galaxy, at what angle and how does earth move along with it? Then with that show where the voyager spacecraft are in space relative to the sun and earth.

    Elaborating more, assume north pole on earth is up and using that as our base point. Show how that looks relative to sun / voyager / galaxy.

    vsauce showed it here: https://youtu.be/IJhgZBn-LHg?t=1188 which is amazing but it's a tease! I'd love to see that in relation to the galaxy, where voyager and other ares.

  2. "When you see the Southern Cross for the first time
    You understand now why you came this way
    'Cause the truth you might be runnin' from is so small
    But it's as big as the promise, the promise of a comin' day"

  3. "Then you find the midpoint between the two pointer stars on the other end of the constellation…"
    I'm dumb & confused, what do you mean by "other end", are the pointer stars just two fixed stars that are always around the Cross?

  4. Something smells funny here. Astronauts used sextant throughout trips in space is the claim . Now look back to interviews claiming nasa faked moon missions and you will find the statements were that you can not see stars from space. Only inky blackness. This was stated many times as fact. Can't have both be true. Lol. Of course they also say we have lost the knowledge and technology to go back to the moon but somehow we are doing f these miracle missions to Mars and everywhere else. Nasa is an agency that puts out C G I movies nor space missions but they sure use a lot of money in this huge lie

  5. I’m an Aussie and used to show my little kids when they were toddlers the Southern Cross and 2 pointers. They used to love trying to find it at different times of the night themselves.

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