You simply can’t get out there in the outdoors without knowing a thing or two about nature, celestial navigation or how to find water when left without any. As a matter of facts, you do need to study a lot of things about nature and the elements as not only nature may be standing in your way when getting lost, but it may also be your no.1 helper if you do know how to use its clues for your own rescue.
From finding direction by observing the flowers and the trees to finding the North star, you need to develop a whole set of skills that are going to make the difference between surviving and …not surviving when lost in the outdoors.
You get a better chance for finding your direction the moment you know how to find the North Star and it’s one of the basic celestial navigation skills that you need in the wilderness. First thing to know is that you can only use the method in the northern hemisphere.
As long as the sky is clear, you should be able to rely on the stars, which is why this navigation system is one of the oldest ways you may use. after all, mariners have been using it for thousands of years.
The North Star
You may figure out where North is in the norther hemisphere by using the location of the North Star. Some also name it the Pole Star and, either way, it’s a precious navigation help as it’s placed almost above the Polar North. Even though the North Star isn’t a very bright star, it doesn’t change its location in the sky, unlike other stars up there.
When looking for the North Star, you do need to identify also the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) and Cassiopeia (it’s shaped like a W). These constellations never set and they’re always easy to see on a clear sky, but they may change their place every once in a while.
The position of the stars in the sky is connected to the time, date and the geographical position too (latitude and longitude). If you ever looked carefully to the sky at night, you may have noticed by now that stars seem to move across the sky. This is determined by the Earth’s rotation around its axis and this is why the sun is also moving across the sky throughout the day.
You should start by finding the Big Dipper in the sky. You may continue by following the edge of the cup 5 times its length, straight to a medium bright star. You just found the North star that is in fact, pointing north.
You may also want to play it safe and double check so why not locate Cassiopeia too. The North Star is laying halfway between Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper.
Use the sky maps
Sky maps are a great tool in the outdoors as they show us the location of stars in the sky at some point in the day, time, the latitude and the longitude of your observing place.
If you think the stars are moving across the sky, you’re not far from the trough. This is because the Earth is moving around its axis. It’s also the reason the sun moves across the sky throughout the day too.
You may find several types of maps and you need to learn a bit about them and how to use them for your own use.
You should start by knowing the latitude and longitude of your location. Once you know your geographical location, you’re ready to create a sky map that is adjusted to your location. As long as you also know how to read a sky map, that is.
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