Several years ago while serving as a navigator in the Navy, the luck of coming across a book called "Astronomy Made Simple", which enabled me take a greater interest in the stars. I was able to locate and name of several stars, no matter where I was while I was in northern Ecuador.
You see during daylight hours, if we know that the Sun is, assuming we know where it comes from and where it sets, then we must always know how we are traveling. At night, you should keep in mind that the stars move in the sky just as the sun does in the day. Because different types of apparent motion, this could be a drastic change or a more subtle.
In the night sky in the Northern Hemisphere (northern Ecuador), one of the most important constellations would Ursa Major, which is more commonly known as the Big Dipper. One of the most obvious would be other constellations Orion, but that's another story. For now let's talk on the Big Dipper and more importantly the way in which points the way to the North Star.
The current North Star, Polaris, is actually located at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper, or Ursa Minor, and appears as the brightest star in that constellation. I say current because the North Star changes very often because the direction of the axis of land gradually changes over time. However, we need not worry about that for now, it is not due to change for another 5000 years. But, if they were curious following the North Star should be Alderamin.
So let's find the North Star. We do this by first locating Ursa Major and the two "Pointer Stars". The names of these two stars Dubhe and Merak. To know which of two stars that we're talking about breaking the Big Dipper into two parts, called the handle and the watershed. The rectangular basin would be composed of four stars. The two stars at the opposite end of the handle would be the two "Pointer Stars "with Dubhe is on the top (or the water will overflow the end if it were a real pot) and Merak be in the background. He got that?
Now if we had to contact Dubhe Merak (which goes from the bottom of the basin towards the top)
with an imaginary line straight line and extend out approximately Six teams of the distance between these two stars is Polaris, the North Star. That's all. It's that easy. One would think that would be brighter that he would not? Now that it has obtained the North Star, always know which way North and for this we must know that what we are doing.
Thus if you're out camping in the desert or on a dark lake in a kayak or boat, or if you want to know what you see in your telescope, provided only it is not cloudy look up for guidance. Must be prevented from traveling in circles.
CW Skaggs is co-owner of optimumoptics.com your online store for quality Optical Gear. A boating enthusiast who enjoys many outdoor activities.
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