# Finding accurate directions by a watch .

Method for finding accurate directions by a watch in any latitude.

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

#find North, #finding North, #compass, #direction, #bisector, #using watch, #with watch, #tilted watch, #inclined watch, #navigation, #without compass

This method uses a watch with analogue face for finding directions. Unlike the traditional method of using the hour hand of a flat lying 24-hour watch, my method uses a 24-hour watch tilted from the vertical and gives better accuracy for both North and South hemispheres including tropical zones. When applied to the arctic and antarctic regions, the watch is tilted by more than 67 degrees and lies almost flat on the ground; it becomes the traditional method using flat lying 24-hour watch.

The method assumes an analogue 24-hour watch is in use. For any analogue 12-hour watch, the bisector between its midnight marking and its 12-hour hand can serve as an imaginary 24-hour hand. From the latitude of the place, the position of the Sun in the sky and the local time shown on the watch, the method gives out the Cardinal directions and declination of the Sun (therefore an estimation of the date and month in the year.

The method for Northern latitudes is described first and is followed by the method for Southern latitudes.

Method for Northern latitudes:

A 24-hour watch shown only with hour hand

1/- Hold the watch so that its AXIS rises above the horizontal plane by an angle equal to the latitude of the region. That is its face points to somewhere in the sky and its back is angled downwards into the ground.

2N/- Determine the half-plane limited by the axis of the watch and the backward pointing direction of the 24-hr pointer (the hour hand of the 24hr watch). This half-plane will contain the Sun if this watch displays the local time and the face of the watch and its axis points to the North Star.

3N/-Determine ON THIS SEMI-PLANE a half-line CB from the centre C of its dial, forming with the watch axis an angle equal to the angle between the direction to the Sun and the Northern Star. The half-line CB starts from the centre of the dial and is nearly in the opposite direction of the 24-hour hand (pointer). It rises above the dial toward the glass and points through the glass of the watch during summer time and dives below the dial into the movement compartment of the watch and points through the movement of the watch during winter time. This half-line always points to the Sun if this 24-hr watch displays the local time and the face of the watch and its axis point to the North Star.

4N/- Hold the clock in such composure and rotate your whole body around your vertical axis by your feet until the above half-line CB points towards the Sun (Therefore the Sun lies in the half-plane limited by the watch axis and the backward pointing direction of the 24-hour pointer). At that position, the watch face and its AXIS are POINTING to the North Star.

5/- The projection of the Celestial axis onto the horizontal ground is then the terrestrial Northern-South direction.

The method for determining the North-South direction in the Southern hemisphere is different but is very similar to this method for the North. Paragraphs 2N, 3N and 4N are appropriately replaced by 2S, 3S and 4S for Southern latitudes as in the following.

Method for Southern latitudes:

2S/- The UP-DOWN REFLECTION OF THE HOUR HAND of a 24-hour watch is its imaginary hour hand going anti-clockwise, pointing downwards at midnight and upwards at midday. It is the reflection of the hour hand of a vertically hung 24-hour watch through any water surface below it.

Determine the half-plane limited by the axis of the watch and the up-down reflection of the hour hand. This half-plane will contain the Sun if this 24-hr watch displays the local time and the face of the watch and its axis point to the Southern Celestial pole, while the back of the watch points through the ground to the North Star.

3S/-Determine ON THIS SEMI-PLANE a half-line CB from the centre C of its dial, forming with the watch axis an angle equal to the angle between the direction to the Sun and the Southern Celestial pole. The half-line CB starts from the centre of the dial and is nearly in the direction of the up-down reflection of the 24-hour hand. It rises above the dial toward the glass and points through the glass of the watch during Southern Hemisphere’s summer and dives below the dial into the movement compartment of the watch and points through the movement of the watch during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter. This half-line always points to the Sun if this 24-hr watch displays the local time and the face of the watch and its axis point to the Southern Celestial pole.

4S/- Hold the clock in such composure and rotate your whole body around your vertical axis by your feet until the above half-line CB points towards the Sun (Therefore the Sun lies in the half-plane limited by the watch axis and the up-down reflection of the 24-hour pointer). At that position, the watch face and its AXIS are POINTING to the Southern Celestial pole while the back of the watch points through the ground to the North Star.

No ambiguity in equatorial latitudes.

The watch is placed almost vertically in equatorial latitudes by both methods. Methods for both Northern and Southern latitudes give exactly the same outcomes.

Adaptation for use with any common 12 hr watch.

The method is easily  modified for application to any common 12 hr watch. In the following figure, the red hand (the bisector of the 0hr direction and the hour hand of a common 12hr watch ) is in the opposite direction of the hour hand of a 24hr watch.

Figure: Summary of finding North by a watch. Red hand is the bisector of 0 hr direction and the hour hand; green hand is its reflection across the (6-12) axis. Axis C-BN for Northern hemisphere is parallel to red hand at equinox days and is (raised above)/(dipped below) the watch dial by 23 degrees at local summer/winter solstice. Axis C-BS for Southern hemisphere is parallel to green hand at equinox days and is (raised above)/(dipped below) the watch dial by 23 degrees at local summer/winter solstice. Green drawing marks are for Southern hemisphere and are the mirror reflection of red drawing marks.

Figure: Summary of finding North by a watch.

Actual field test

The author has tested these methods and found them to be applicable, easy and accurate to within 30 degrees for latitudes from 0 to 40 degrees.

Explanation notes:

N1/- The word “watch” here applies to any watch or clock.

N2/- When a watch or a clock dial is hung on a vertical wall, its midnight marking is at the highest position. If the hour hand of a watch completes one revolution in 24 hours the watch is called a 24-hour watch; if it completes in 12 hour the watch is called a 12-hour watch. Most watches and domestic clocks are 12-hour ones. The bisector of the midnight marking and the hour hand of any 12-hour watch complete one revolution in 24 hour. It moves like an imaginary 24-hour hand on that watch.

N3/-The axis of the watch is the oriented line (Note that it is more than “the oriented half-line”.) going through the centre of the watch at right angle to its dial disc and is parallel to the rotation axes of both the minute pointer (or “minute hand”) and the hour pointer (or “hour hand”). The direction chosen on the line is from the back to the front face of the watch.

N4/- A watch display local time when it shows 12 o’clock when the Sun is highest in the sky.

N5/- The angle between the North Star and the Sun varies like a sine wave with amplitude of 23.5 degrees; it should be 90 degree during Spring and Autumn equinoxes and 90-23.5 degree at Northern Summer solstice (21st June) and 90+23.5 degree at Northern Winter solstice (21st of December).

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