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Finding North - Shadow Tip Method
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Finding North - Shadow Tip Method

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The Shadow-Tip method is one way of determining which way is North. I am posting this after reading a textbook for children advising them to "look for a lodestone" to "construct a compass" if they are lost in the woods. This would be funny if it were not true. "Look for a lodestone?"

Arghhh!!!

It reminds me of the old drug commercial "This is your brain on drugs."

I guess they were trying to teach the children about magnetism.

In the United States the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

There are lots of ways to determine North. This is one of them. Put a stick in the ground and watch the shadow. Put a small stone on the tip of the shadow. Then with twenty minutes or so. The shadow will have moved. Place another stone on that point. A line drawn between them will represent East-West. The first shadow-point mark will be West.
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A reasonable question would be "why do I need the shadow tip method" when I can find North by simply noting the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. It is a good question. The reason is with the shadow tip method you can draw a  precise line on the earth representing east-west. From that line you can divide a circle into 360 degrees and determine a fairly accurate azimuth to within five degrees. If you have two known landmarks (for example, two mountain tops) by the use of two azimuths you can determine your precise position. This cannot be accomplished by simply noting the way the sun travels. If you are in cell-phone or radio contact with a rescue aircraft you can state "I am on an azimuth of 140 degrees (or whatever) from "Stone Mountain".
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