5-Minute Crafts
5-Minute Crafts

How to Find North Without a Compass

You can determine where North is without a compass. To do so, all you need is an analog watch or a few sticks and stones. Now, 5-Minute Crafts will show you how to figure out where North is during the day or night.

1. Using an analog watch

If you have an analog watch (the one with the hour and minute hands), take it off and put the back of the watch on your palm. Then do the following:

  1. Point the hour hand to the sun and draw an imaginary line.
  2. Then imagine a straight line connecting the 12 and 6 o’clock positions.
  3. Imagine the line running halfway between lines from steps 1 and 2.
  4. This new imaginary line points out the North-South axis. South is located in front of you while North, on the other hand, is behind you.

Note: If your watch is set to daylight saving time, wind it an hour back before starting the process. Also, keep in mind that this method gives you an approximate direction because of the difference between solar and standard times.

2. Using shadows

You can also calculate the direction of the North with the help of shadow. To make it so, do the following:

  1. Choose a clear, level ground and fix a straight stick upright. Preferably, choose the stick between 1 and 3 feet long.
  2. Mark the place where the top of the shadow falls with a stone or some other marker. This stone marks West.
  3. Wait between 15 and 30 minutes. Then use another stone to mark the place where the shadow falls. It marks where East is.
  4. Lay a straight object down or draw a line to connect the stones. With the first stone marking West and the other marking East, you face North if standing at the perpendicular angle to the traced line.

3. Making use of a shiny star

For this method, you need a bright star and 2 sticks. Note that one stick has to be a little longer than the other. Also, the star you focus on should be as bright as possible for you to follow it easily. Then this is what you should do:

  1. Fix the shorter stick to the ground.
  2. Fix the longer stick between 12 and 18 inches further away in the opposite direction from where you stood when fixing the shorter stick.
  3. Lay down on your belly. The tips of both sticks should align with the star from your viewpoint.
  4. Keep an eye on the tips of the sticks and the star you chose for 5 to 10 minutes. Observe the direction the star moves in.

You are facing North if it moved left, and South if it moved right. Consequentially, you face East if the star moved up, and West if it moved down.

5-Minute Crafts/Tricks/How to Find North Without a Compass
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