Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How To Find True North Without A Compass

If you are ever lost in the woods, knowing where True North is will help you out a great deal. Even if you have a compass, it will point to magnetic north, which depending on your location in the world, can vary a great deal from true north. So what do you do? For our purpose, we will use the Northern Hemisphere.

If the moon isn't visible, you can use the stars for direction. The stars have been helping explorers navigate for centuries. In the Northern Hemisphere, the North Star, or Polaris, guides you towards True North.

You can find Polaris by first locating the Big Dipper and Little Dipper constellations. Draw an imaginary line through the two stars that make up the end of the pot (the outermost stars of the cup of the Big Dipper, opposite the handle) to the last and brightest star in the handle of the Little Dipper.

You may also find the neighboring M-shaped constellation Cassiopeia. It is always opposite the Big Dipper. The North Star is located midway between the central star of Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper.

This direction is true north, and if you can find a landmark in the distance at this point, you can use it to guide yourself.

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