Navigating By The Stars
In the not so distant past-there were no radios, cell phones, televisions, GPS, and other modern navigation devices. I am glad that these things have been invented-but sometimes I think that maybe we rely on these things too much-and when not available, or in a emergency-how could we find our bearings at night. In the day-the sun rises in the east and sets in the west-that seems like a no-brainer. Still does this hold at night-can it be used? Are there ways to find your way around at night? The answers are yes. Here’s how.
Polaris (α UMi, α Ursae Minoris, Alpha Ursae Minoris, commonly North Star, Northern Star or Pole Star, also Lodestar, sometimes Guiding Star) is the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor, and the 45th brightest star in the night sky. It is very close to the north celestial pole, making it the current northern pole star.(1)
That is the wikipedia definition for the star system Polaris-it is comprised of about three start-but the brightest one is the most dominant. It is approximately 434 light years from Earth. If it went out today-it would take 434 years for us to not see the light anymore.
By finding Polaris in the night sky-you can find what is called true north-which tells you basically everything you need to find your direction. The question is-how do you find it. It is really simple it turns out.
There is the Big Dipper and Little Dipper-the north star is in line directly from the edge of the big dipper and it is the last star in the little dipper handle.
Here is a nice Hubble picture:
Super easy and accurate way to find the North star in the sky and tell you true north.
Using the first star in Orion’s belt-Mintaka-this star always rises due East and sets due West from anywhere on the surface of the Earth.
It really is a simple as that-find Orion’s belt and find East to West-then you can find the rest.
Using both the Big and Little Dippers-you can find the North star and find your way to true north. Using Orion’s belt you can find your way from East to West and find your direction from any spot on Earth. Knowing these two things might just save your life-but it is also great knowledge to have.
THIS YOU CAN TRUST
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