How To Find Direction Using The Sun And Stars

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How To Find Direction Using The Sun And Stars

When you’re out in the wilderness, your phone or GPS device might not work. Would you know how to find your way out using the sun and stars?

Now you will!

Finding Direction During The Day

The sun can help you to find the true north, and from there you should be able to find any other direction. If the sun is shining bright, this method is a great way to find your direction.

  • Shadow Clock

            Instructions:

-Find a clear spot

-Push stick into the ground so that it stands on its own

-Follow the shadow cast by the stick and mark in the dirt with a rock, or stick, or   just making a tiny hole with your finger.

-Wait about 10 to 15 minute

-Mark the new position of the shadow

-Draw a line in the dirt from the first shadow marker to the second shadow             marker, and extend past the second shadow marker by about a foot.

-Place your left foot on the first shadow marker

-Place your right foot at the end of the extended line that you drew.

-The direction you are facing is true north

-Mark east, by holding your right arm straight out from your body.

-Mark east, directly behind you

-Mark west, by holding your left arm straight out from your body

-Now you’ve got a compass

  • Direction Using A Watch

            Instructions

            Standard Time Northern Temperate Zone

-Turn the watch so that the hour hand is pointed toward the sun

-Draw a line from the tip of the hour hand and 12 o’clock

-Facing toward the sun, the mid-way point of the line is true north

            Daylight Savings Time Northern Temperate Zone

-Turn the watch so that the hour hand is pointed toward the sun

-Draw a line from the tip of the hour hand and 1 o’clock

-Facing toward the sun, the midway point of the line is true north.

            Standard Time Southern Temperate Zone

-Turn the watch so that the 12 o’clock is pointed toward the sun

-Draw a line from the tip of the hour hand and 12 o’clock

-Facing toward the sun, the midway point of the line is true north.

            Daylight Savings Time Southern Temperate Zone

-Turn the watch so that the 1 o’clock is pointed toward the sun

-Draw a line from the tip of the hour hand and 1 o’clock

-Facing toward the sun, the midway point of the line is true north

Finding Direction At Night

  • Using The North Star

*When north of the equator

            Instructions:

-Find the Big Dipper in the sky

-It is shaped like a pot with a handle

-The Pointers are two stars on the end of the pot that is not connected to the         handle, with star being at the bottom of the pot and one on the top of the pot

-Trace a straight line from the bottom pointer to the top pointer – that is pointing to            the North Star

  • Using The South Star

*When south of the equator

            Instructions:

-Find the Southern Cross

-This is a group of four stars that shine bright and are in the shape of a tilted         cross

-The Pointers are the two stars on the stem of the cross

-Draw an imaginary line from the foot of the cross through the Pointers and           extend about five times more

-This is due South

Determining Time

  • Using The Shadow Clock

            Instructions:

-Use compass that you created with your stick and rocks

-West is 0600 hours or am

-East is 1800 hours or 6pm

-North is 12 noon

-South is 12 midnight

-As the shadow moves you can tell what time it is within the hour

            Using Watch

-Your watch may not show the correct time when in the lower latitudes.

-Set watch to your shadow clock

*All of these methods are approximate measurements.

Summary:

Knowing how to use the sun and stars to find direction can be invaluable when you are stranded without a compass or GPS system. The shadow clock gives you a true sense of where you are and can help you to get to where you’re going. Using the same shadow clock can also tell you what time of the day it is. Direction and time are two important elements for determining when you will travel and if you are traveling in the right direction.

If stuck in high temperatures, you’ll want to travel early or later in the day or evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day. If you are stuck in cold temperatures, it is better to travel and forage during the day, and hunker down at night. Using your sun or star compass, and sun watch, you can safely get yourself out of any situation, and make it home.

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