A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: David Pike
Date: 2022 Jan 14, 22:36 -0500
Frank Reed you wrote: You've created your own additional step, and it's not needed. At no point have I said that you should trace or extend anything down to the horizon. Try it again with a pencil instead of your thumb and forefinger. Hold the pencil in your first so that it's perpendicular to your extended arm. Aim at the North Arrow: tip on Mintaka (or a little left for added accuracy), eraser end on the tail of the arrow at the Orion nebula. No matter where Orion is in the sky, your pencil now points north, or if you prefer, its eraser points south.
We’re talking semantics here. If you’re walking over the moors at night or sailing down the coast with any hint of south in your course, you want a reference point close to the horizon within your field of view. I contend that the fact that Polaris is somewhere over your left or right shoulder depending upon whether LHA Mintaka is less or greater than 180° is of little practical use unless you’re really struggling for a reference point. Similarly, if there’s any hint of north in your course the Orion Arrow isn’t much use because it’s behind you. You might as well use Polaris. At least in this case you only need drop a vertical to find north on your horizon. Personally, I do neither of these things. I pick any old star roughly in line with my compass course and remember to keep changing stars as they swing around the sky. On the moors and there’s a Moon, any convenient tuft of grass on your horizon in line with your compass course will do until you spot another further on.
The reason the tail of the arrow only points to south on your own horizon if LHA Mintaka is 180° or your latitude is 0° is that these are the only occasions when Mintaka’s and your own meridians are either equal or cross on your own horizon. There’s nothing wrong with using the stick and the Orion arrow to indicate south so long as blogs quoting it tell you that the stick is pointing along Mintaka’s meridian, not your own. The funny thing is we were watching ‘The Lord of the Rings’ last night. With three large ones like magicians use you could show it quite well.
Frank, we’re clearly never going to agree on this, so I think we’ll have to leave it for the moment. If I can find a suitable camera and stand, I’d love to go out onto a dark part Ermine Street ///justifies.conveys,gladiators and standing in the footsteps of Legions past point the camera down the High Dyke and show you where the tail of the arrow points. Maybe I'll do the same for the horns of a crescent Moon, that would also be intesting. DaveP