outdoors topics > navigation

Finding direction without a compass:

Celestial navigation

Using stars

Polaris (north star, pole star)

In the northern hemisphere, the pole star can be used to indicate north.
Be aware that the pole star is NOT the brightest star. It can be found using other stars. This needs to be practiced - in an emergency, if you have not done it before, you are unlikely to find (or therefore use) the correct star.

Finding the pole star (image showing relation of big dipper/plough to pole star)

Using the moon

A rough guide to direction can be found in a crescent moon - a line joining the "horns" of the crescent will point to south on the horizon. This method is least accurate when the moon is close to the horizon.
Using the moon to navigate

video demonstrating the tilt of the earth's axis of rotation compared with the path of its orbit and the way this gives rise to seasons. also relevant to navigation with the sun


phases of the moon explained


site that calculates age of moon for given date

moon phases calendar