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Monday, February 19, 2018


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Ever here that moss grows no the north side of trees?

It is true for the most part. I have seen it and used it to find north my self, well I had a compass, but I did not use it except for the experiment.

I first found a tree with moss, determined north, marked it in the dirt, then I checked it with my compass. I was pretty freaking close! It was relative to north. I have used moss on trees to find north ever since, I don't walk around with a compass a lot. So, I use simple observations moss, rivers, streams, creeks, sun rise and/or sun set, moon rise and/or moon set, north star, big dipper, and well instinct at this point, but don't relie entirely no Instinct, it has lead me a stray once or twice. the moss/north seam to only apply in the northern hemisphere, will let u know what I find in the Southern. More on these other ways in articles to come!

Moss Can also be found on the north side of rocks, Mountains are greener on the north side, and there is a reason why you ski/board down the colder north face. But don't forget  moss likes the shade.

Category: Finding North

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It's possible to determine your orientation using an analog watch (i.e., one with hands) in place of a compass.

The direction will be correct if the watch is set for true local time, without adjustments for daylight savings time. 

The further you are from the equator, the more accurate this method will be.


orienting yourself in the north temperate zone

In the northern hemisphere, hold the watch horizontal and point the hour hand in the direction of the sun.

Bisect the angle between the hour hand and the twelve o'clock mark to get the north-south line. North will be the direction further from the sun.


orienting yourself in the south temperate zone

In the southern hemisphere, hold the watch horizontal and point the twelve o'clock mark in the direction of the sun.

Bisect the angle between the hour hand and the twelve o'clock mark to get the north-south line. North will be the direction closer to the sun.

Know the time, but don't have an analog watch?

A simple drawing of a watch on a piece of paper, as long as it shows the correct time (you only need worry about the hour hand), works just as well.

Can't see the sun clearly, or otherwise having difficulty determining its direction?

As long as the sun is able to cast a shadow (which it can often do even through fog), you can determine its direction by holding a thin object (like a pencil or a stick) straight up and down; the resulting shadow will point away from the sun.

Wonder why you're bisecting angles?

As the earth rotates once (each day), the hour hand goes around the clock face twice. So you need to divide the angle by two (i.e., in half).

Category: Finding North

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"Red at night sailors delight.  Red in the morning sailor take warning."
An age old saying amongst sailors and there is some science behind it.  "Weather lore", as it is refered to, has been around as long as people have been trying to predict the weather.  The reference of the red sky was mentioned in the Bible, by Shakespeare and many others.  The colors we see in the sky are due to the rays of sunlight being split into colors of the spectrum as they pass through the atmosphere and ricochet off the water vapor and particles in the atmosphere. The amounts of water vapor and dust particles in the atmosphere are good indicators of weather conditions. They also determine which colors we will see in the sky.  During sunrise and sunset the sun is low in the sky, and it transmits light through the thickest part of the atmosphere. A red sky suggests an atmosphere loaded with dust and moisture particles. We see the red, because red wavelengths (the longest in the color spectrum) are breaking through the atmosphere. The shorter wavelengths, such as blue, are scattered and broken up.
When we see a red sky at night, this means that the setting sun is sending its light through a high concentration of dust particles. This usually indicates high pressure and stable air coming in from the west. Basically good weather will follow.

A red sunrise reflects the dust particles of a system that has just passed from the west. This indicates that a storm system may be moving to the east. If the morning sky is a deep fiery red, it means a high water content in the atmosphere. So, rain is on its way.


There are many other "weather lores" out there.  Here's a little poem that I found that includes many of the lores.

When the sky is red in the morning,
And sounds travel far at night;
When fish jump high from the water 
And flies stick tight, and bite;
When you can't get salt from your shaker,
And your corn gives you extra pain,
There's no need to consult an almanac,
You just know it's going to rain.

 Unfortunately locality is important to these sayings.  What may apply in Florida does not always apply in Denver.  It's still fun to play weatherman.  TW




Category: Finding North


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