Entries tagged "polaris"
A big thank you to James of James Walker Photography for his kind permission to reproduce this image from Umbria, Italy.
I have come across very few images that capture the spirit of natural navigation so well. It is, to use the technical photographic vernacular, 'a beauty'.
Which way are we looking? 10 points for getting it right.
And what do points make?
Stardust.. or not very much, depending on your mood.
I'll add the answer as an update before Orion grows high in the sky.
Update: (Spoiler Warning, here comes…
In this photo, one of the Outward Bound Oman instructors, who I visited recently, is being taught how to use a traditional and beautifully simple navigational instrument called a 'kamal'.
This instrument is as simple as they get: it works by forming a triangle. If you know the base of a triangle (the fixed length of twine from eye to instrument) and you know the height of the triangle (the number of fingers counted up from the horizon), then you have a fixed angle to the horizon. This is the ancestor of nearly all navigational instruments prior to…
Finding South Using the Stars
In the northern hemisphere Polaris, the North Star, tends to get all the attention when it comes to finding direction using the stars. There is a good reason for this: it is easy to find and is very accurate. In the southern hemisphere the Southern Cross is used to find south and Polaris is not visible. But what about finding south in the northern hemisphere? The easiest thing is still to find Polaris and then look in the opposite direction, but what if we want a method that actually shows us south itself.…
Last night the conditions felt right for a walk in the woods. There were plenty of clouds, but large gaps suggested that the stars would not hide for long periods. The moon would not be getting up until later and the breeze was too light to be of help. I needed the stars.
I set off as the last light from the sun faded in the southwest. Cassiopeia and Cygnus neatly sketched out north for me, even when Polaris was well hidden. When moving south I used Jupiter and Aquila.
Four hours later I returned, having spent…
My sources tell me that the first is a Magpie Inkcap (Coprinopsis picaceus) and the second is Green Elf Cup/Wood cup/Stain (Chlorociboria aeruginascens).
My thanks, in no particular order, to:Nick Weston, Brian and Ross Gardner.
A thousand apologies for that title.
Seriously now, are there any fungi experts out there?
Yesterday I came across these two rather fun specimens during a family walk in our local woods. Thought one was a Panther cap, but looks a bit too 'pointy'…
Once more my pre-dawn 'Batsense' kicked in and I awoke before five with an urgent desire to go outside. It was not the pressure on my bladder, I do not think, but the idyllic conditions and night sky players that were beckoning me. Orion and his sword were first to offer their greetings and then I noticed Jupiter still visible in the southwest. Sirius, Betelgeuse, Capella, the Plough and Polaris sketched out some order in the celestial sphere.The moon was close to setting and was lighting up rows of fluffy cumulus clouds on their western edges. As time…
After an enjoyable private course on Friday - we finished standing in a field looking at Orion, the Plough, Cassiopeia and, of course, Polaris - it was time for a family outing to West Wittering beach early on Saturday.I adore the Witterings in winter, the barbecue and beach towels may have to stay at home but it is invigorating to get blown along on miles of abandoned sand. In between games of hide and seek amongst the beach huts, games of football on the sticky sand and races to pieces of seaweed, I noticed some interesting patterns in the…
My thanks to Richard, who sent in this picture from a lad's walking weekend along the Jurassic Coast. He was given a private course as a birthday present and was on the lookout for natural signposts. Wind and trees don't scream direction a lot louder than this. He also spotted sand blown only over the northeastern edge of a horse training area and found Polaris, but then struggled to see it from the inside of a pub.
This just in...TristanMany thanks for a fantastic day yesterday. I learnt so much and was stimulated also by the opportunity to apply what I did know to a new "problem solving" challenge! I checked out the moon last night and located Polaris and was quite comfortable that it was NOT directly above my head as I always imagined it might be! (I do need to re-set the weathervane and I think I'll…
Northern natural navigators look at the Plough pretty much every night that is not completely overcast and yet we could argue that it gets overlooked. As the best known signpost for the North Star, our eyes tend to jump to its seven stars, line them up and then move on from the pointers to that friendly star, Polaris.This morning I thought it would be nice to give it credit for being more than just a signpost. It is Ursa Major, the Great Bear and has featured in literature and art for as long as words and…
A good morning for the stars, but a bit damper in West Sussex than camels would like. Still, no reason not to enjoy an excerpt from Clinton Bailey's 1974 article about Bedouin Star Lore:
Even in the late twentieth century many Bedouin are familiar with Polaris
(called al-Jidi) and Canopus (Suhayl), the two stars that indicate the directions
north and south. When a Bedouin, composing a poem, wanted to relate that
he was travelling south-east, for example, he said:
'Ahutt al-Jidi 'ald wirk il-matiyyah
W'adhrT naharhd 'an Suhayl al-yimain'
'I put Polaris…
Last night was one of those occasions where the moon was the natural navigator's best option. At about 10pm the sky overhead was overcast with broken clouds down to nearer the horizon. The western glow of dusk was gone and the only objects that could be seen were Jupiter and the three-quarter Moon. The cloud meant no Polaris, and the bright moon in the only patch of open sky blotted out the other stars. The Moon plays hard to get at first but on nights like this it can be a very good friend.