Finding North by stars for beginners

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

#find North, #finding North, #by stars, #star disk, #star map, #Mercator, #beginner,

Finding North by stars for beginners.

Beginners only need to know few stars to practice finding North by stars.

1. Common viewing instructions for all beginners.

1. From the following three maps select and print the one suitable for your zone.

Sky map Northern 3/4 sphere

Figure: Sky map (Inversion type) of the Northern Celestial 3/4-sphere showing only 20 brightest stars and some constellations. 24hr of R.A. is on the top and R.A. increases in the clockwise direction.

Sky map Southern 3/4 sphere

Figure: Sky map (Inversion type) of the Southern Celestial 3/4-sphere showing only 20 brightest stars and some constellations. 24hr of R.A. is on the top and R.A. increases in the clockwise direction. 

star map mercatorx1p6Figure: The Mercator map of the sky for inhabitants of Tropical Zone. North direction is on its top.  24hr of R.A. is near the center and R.A. increases towards the left (East) of the map. The map is to be read South side up in the Southern hemisphere.

2. Use a shadow stick or a compass to find out the (true) North direction at your location.

shadow stick to tell time and find North

Figure: A shadow stick for finding North and time is drawn here in blue colour. The shadow of its tip always move WEST TO EAST along a conical curve C (drawn in red). The axis of symmetry of the curve C is the terrestrial North-South direction.

3. Find out the latitude of your location.

4. Find out the current date in the calendar year.

5. Use the following simplified instructions to identify the stars at mid-nights.

2. Viewing instructions for inhabitants of Polar and Temperate Zones.

1. Place one of your straightened arm horizontally, pointing to North if you are in Northern hemisphere and South if in Southern hemisphere.

2. Raise your straightened arm by an angle equal to your latitude. Your straightened arm now points to the Celestial pole at your location.

3. Hold the circular star map on the hand of that arm, with its axis pointing to the Celestial pole and the MARKING FOR CURRENT MONTH ON ITS RIM AT ITS BOTTOM.

4. You can now see the images of stars on the map pointing to the actual stars.

sky disk alignment

Figure: Aligning the center of the paper star disk to the Celestial pole in the sky to identify the stars at midnight.




5. Beginners only need to recognize the circumpolar stars for their own hemisphere.

Inhabitants of Northern hemisphere need only to identify Little Dipper, Big Dipper (11hr R.A., 60° declination) and Cassiopeia (1hr R.A., 60° declination).

Figure: Finding North by stars for beginners (Northern hemisphere).

Inhabitants of Southern hemisphere need only to identify Agena, Alpha Centauri (pointer stars) and Acherna in the anticlockwise direction (all at 60° South declination). Acherna is 60 degree from the pair (alpha Centauri, Agena) and is on the opposite side across the Southern Celestial Pole.

Figure: Finding North by stars for beginners (Southern hemisphere).

6. The knowledge of other stars will follow naturally with time.

3. Viewing instructions for inhabitants of Tropical Zone.

1. Hold the Mercator star map above your head, with North direction pointing to true North.

2. The length of the map corresponds to 13 months. Select and view only 6 month centered on the CURRENT MONTH. The line for the current month is worked out from the markings along the vertical lines of this Mercator map.

3. You can now see the images of stars on the map pointing to the actual stars.

4. Beginners only need to recognize some bright stars near to the Celestial equator:  Orion Rigel. Betelgeuse, Procyon, Leo Regulus, Spica, Bootes Arcturus, Altair. They are associated with various different months of the year.

equatorial stars

Figure: Finding North by stars for beginners (Tropical zone). Click to enlarge figure.

5. The knowledge of other stars will follow naturally with time.

Bright Stars 20 Plus 2

Figure 2: Table of 20 brightest +2 stars in order of appearance.

4. Common Identifying instructions.

1. Beginners should observe the identified stars in subsequent night as well as at various different time.

2. The circumpolar stars will remain visible all year round for cold temperate zones. Beginners only need to know them well.

3. The tropical stars appear in sequences and tropical inhabitants have to associate tropical stars with their months in the year.

4. Tropical constellations are seen upright from Northern Hemisphere and upside down from Southern Hemisphere

References.

[1]. tonytran2015, Shadow-stick-navigation-and-graph-of-solar-paths, posted on August 19, 2016.

[2]. wiki, Astronomical_ceiling_of_Senemut_Tomb.

[3]. Suchow map, http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/exhibits/planetary-machines.

[4]. wiki, Chinese_star_maps

[5]. tonytran2015, Finding directions and time using the Sun and a divider, survivaltricks.wordpress.com , Finding directions and time using the Sun and a divider., posted on May 6, 2015.

[6]. tonytran2015, Finding North direction and time using the hidden Sun via the Moon, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, Finding North direction and time using the hidden Sun via the Moon . Posted on July 6, 2015.

[7]. tonytran2015, Finding North direction and time by stars, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, Finding North and time by stars. Posted on August 28, 2015

[8]. tonytran2015, Finding accurate directions using a watch, posted on May 19, 2015 .

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