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Emergency Celestial Navigation

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Techniques to help you along your way in situations where standard navigation techniques and equipment cannot be used.
 
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Step 1: I. Notice about Copyright

Picture of i.  Notice about Copyright
I'm just adding this to cover myself legally.

Techniques used in celestial navigation follow the standard course of planets and stars, as well as the physics behind that governs those courses, which are laws of nature. U.S. and international copyright law forbid the copyright, patent, trademark, etc of natural laws. Just because you discovered it, doesn't mean you own it.

The reason I include this is that some of these techniques are several thousand years old, while a few have only been discovered recently with current technology.  But again, the same principle applies, you can't own it.

Step 2: What you need

Picture of What you need
These techniques are to allow a person who is lost to be able to find their current location, and aid them in getting back to civilization. So I'm guessing in a situation such as this, you won't have anything like a compass, sextant, astrolabe, almanac, etc. However you are going to need some everyday items which you should have on you.
- An *accurate watch
- Your hand
- Some sticks (should be easily found)

*I define an accurate watch as one that has had its time set to an atomic clock within the last 4 weeks. The reason for this is that most watches use the oscillations of a quartz crystal, to keep time many times more accurately than a mechanical clock. However, it still can lose or gain 5 seconds a week. To get the most accurate calculations, the watch should be within 30 seconds of the actual time. 
NOTE:  The watch will not always gain or lose time at the same rate.  Odds are, you will barely be off by 2-3 seconds most of the time.  However you should get in the habit of setting the watch every month or so.
By the way, the calculations that you will be doing here are nothing like typical celestial navigation. Nothing more than simple multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction.

Cogtoys5 months ago
This is excellent! Everybody should try this. It reminds me of "The Big Here" quiz. I'm off to make a quadrant.
Orngrimm8 months ago
I often used my wristwatch to find north. It is quite simple:
Hold your non-Digital (!!) wristwatch parallel to the ground and turn until the hour-hand points to the sun.
If it is before 12:00 (eg morning), south (!!) is in the middle from the hour-hand to the 12 if you go in a clockwise direction.
If it is after 12:00 (eg afternoon), south is about halfway between the hour-hand and twelve o'clock, counterclockwise.
The directions are not perfectly accurate, but more than enough to decide if you want to follow this or the other way on your hike.

Sorry!  I seem to have lost my comment.  Please take my comments as constructive criticism.  Please add info about daylight savings time.  Since the sun will not be directly overhead in most places, step  7 needs to be clarified . I suggest the following: (!.) determine the E-W line as in step 4.  (2.) Place a perpendicular (90 deg) line across the E-W line. Place a stick at this line.  (3.} When the shadow falls on the N-S line ( I believe it will also be min.), record time.  Proceed with the calculations as in step 7.
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