Lost? Just Look at the Stars

In today’s wonderful world of technology, it can be pretty easy to take things for granted, such as receiving detailed directions with the tap of your finger on a screen. But what if you find yourself stranded in the desert? Or your boat runs out of gas in the middle of the big blue sea. And, lets add that your precious smart phone happens to run out of juice. NOW what do you do. Well, Mufasa once advised Simba to “look a the stars.”

Turns out that witty kitty knew what he was talking about.

Yea, the stars are sparkly and you can wish on them, but give a little more credit. They have been a steadfast, foolproof means of navigation since the beginning of time. Nowadays, it’s common to think that the science behind star navigation is complicated and difficult- FALSE. Not only is it easy and vital to learn this age-old method, but think about it: next time you bring that special someone out for a romantic star gaze, score big time when you wow him/her with your navigation skills.

North Hemisphere
We all know the North star- Jiminy Cricket taught us all about the magic of this celestial diamond (yes, another Disney reference). It is easy to locate on most any night and always stays rooted right smack dab in the same spot.

1)   Locate the Big Dipper. This is a more commonly recognized constellation made up of seven bright stars. Pinpoint the two big stars that make up the outer side of the scoop.

2)   Now, draw a line straight up and the big shining star just above is the North star.

3)   From the North Star, let your gaze travel straight down to the horizon. Voila- you know where North is.  Turn 90 degrees clockwise for east, another 90 for south and a final 90 for west.

South Hemisphere
It’s a different story with the southern hemisphere because duh, no North star. So, if ever you find yourself alone and scared in the Australian Outback, use this method.

1)   Locate the Southern Cross constellation, also known as the Crux. This is a cluster of stars five stars in the Milky Way that, when connected with imaginary lines, resembles a horizontal cross.

2)   Look below the cross and you will see two clustered stars called The Pointers. Look to the right of them for a lone bright star called Achernar.

3)   Midway between the pointers and Achernar is the South Celestial Pole. Use your finger and drop it from this point to the horizon. BOOM- South is all yours amigo.