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Solar Navigation

ole timer

Forum Owner
Forum Owner
Aug 8, 2014
How do we tell direction from the Sun?

Most of us have observed that the sun rises more or less in the East and sets in the West.
The question is, can we do better than this?

Read almost any book on survival, and there will be a number of methods described for finding direction using the sun.
As with many things that are written in books, there are many "borrowed" ideas. One person writes something, another copies it, but changes it in a subtle manner, it gets copied again etc. Pretty soon, a lot of the important data is lost, or has been morphed into something that is no longer accurate. Try searching the Internet for information on finding direction using the sun. It would appear that there are some simple methods to determine "exactly" the direction of N-S / E-W.

According to "most" information that is "out there," some of the favorite methods of finding direction include the Shadow Stick and the Watch Method.

I decided to try out these methods to see how will they work. I also experimented with finding Longitude.

The data for the following photographs was collected on July 19, 2005. (Location: N43° 27' W79° 51') The sun changes its angle in the sky on a daily basis so the information presented here is one "snap shot." At some later point in time, I may just sit down to do the math to predict exactly how well these methods work for any day of the year. For now, I will provide measured information so that the reader might get a better "gut feel" for how these methods work.