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Old 09-26-2012, 05:14 AM
 
Location: Maryland
377 posts, read 525,492 times
Reputation: 76

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I've been trying to develop my sense of direction using the sky. It was hard to do in the metro DC area because it was hard to see the sky. When I was relocated by MCI to Dallas County, TX that all changed. Amazing what happened when I rented my car at DFW for my new home. The car was playing "Give me land, lots of land, under Sunny Skies above, Don't fence me in."

It was the first time I ever saw effortlessly, the sun and moon at the same time. Since then I've tried and not succeeded in using the sun and moon to tell me something about what is day time and what is night time. Needless to say I don't know the constellations or anything else easily for the rest of my life. That's because no community association includes a committee on all this. In fact, no community Board of Directors even includes any one who is a sky expert.

Two years ago I bought my condo back here in Montgomery County MD. A gated secured community, 55plus.

Well, now I have a 17.5 foot slice of horizon in the whole Northeast Quartile. It's like the paintings but instead of water are the rooftops of the one story buildings, instead of mountains are trees, but the sky is the same.

I'm still having trouble "feeling" direction both day and night. It's lonesome when you are alone trying to do all this and walking the dog watching him so you can pick up his poop and being scared of all the other people walking, running and the cars and, yes, even dog walkers who use their dogs as one would an arrow in a bow.

The days are getting shorter around the USA Capitol Hill. When I went outside my building I decided to go right instead of left. It was amazing, there was the moon and I could see stars. This is not a sight I can see on my balcony. There was a spot where my dog stopped to smell something that I looked up and I could see because of less light pollution the moon and stars.

So much free education available which could be provided all our lives by the Board of Directors of each organized community association. Just walking the streets together and discussing it all night and day. Maybe have a telescope in the community.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:48 AM
 
5,720 posts, read 5,955,752 times
Reputation: 10725
Years ago, I happened to catch the end of a "Newlywed Game" show where they asked the husbands this bonus question: "In your neighborhood, which direction does the sun rise from in the morning?"

All four husbands figured that their wives had the knowledge to answer "East."

When they brought the wives out and asked them the same question, only one answered "East.", and that was clearly a guess.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:44 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,478 posts, read 54,449,905 times
Reputation: 24739
I look out the South East facing sliders and see Orion rising in the sky. That tells me Fall is here and Winter on the way.

I suggest going to your local library and finding a book roughly titled "beginner's guide to the stars."
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:08 AM
 
15,921 posts, read 18,401,322 times
Reputation: 7661
I don't remember too many things from my early school years but I do remember this:

The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West

Here's something that will help you out quite a bit, been using it for a couple of years now because I can never get down the constellations except the big and little dipper and the North star is at the end of the big dippers handle....

It's called Stellarium and the best thing (besides it's an awesome program), It's public domain and free....

Quote:
Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.

It is being used in planetarium projectors. Just set your coordinates and go.
Stellarium

Another one to take a look at is called Celestia.... It's public domain and free....

Quote:
Celestia is an application for real-time 3D visualization of space, with a detailed model of the solar system, over 100,000 stars, more than 10,000 galaxies, and an extension mechanism for adding more objects.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/cele...ce=recommended

And if you get bored looking at stars and galaxies NASA has a program called Worldwind... It's public domain and free....

Quote:
NASA World Wind is a graphically rich 3D virtual globe for use on desktop computers running Windows. It combines NASA imagery generated from satellites that have produced Blue Marble, Landsat 7, SRTM, MODIS and more.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/nasa...ce=recommended

If you want a program on the Moon... It's public domain and free....

Quote:
Software for Moon observation and survey. Let you visualize the real Moon aspect at every time. Also help to study any lunar formations using feature database and pictures library.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/virt...ce=recommended

Last edited by plwhit; 10-01-2012 at 08:23 AM..
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:07 AM
 
19,848 posts, read 59,985,882 times
Reputation: 36894
"I don't remember too many things from my early school years but I do remember this:

The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West"

Not exactly true. I clearly remember driving north on I-75 in south Florida and the sun was setting right ahead, right in my eyes. If you look at a map, 75 runs more north than west. If you are at the north pole, the sun rises south of you and sets south of you (when it bothers to do so).

If you can observe the sun throughout a day, with some sort of timekeeping device, and use a shadow stick, you can determine noon, then points in time equidistant to both sides of noon, and thus determine a general east-west line. Even that may not be precise.

Celestial navigation is much simpler and thus reliable.
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:40 AM
 
15,921 posts, read 18,401,322 times
Reputation: 7661
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
"I don't remember too many things from my early school years but I do remember this:

The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West"

Not exactly true. I clearly remember driving north on I-75 in south Florida and the sun was setting right ahead, right in my eyes. If you look at a map, 75 runs more north than west. If you are at the north pole, the sun rises south of you and sets south of you (when it bothers to do so).

If you can observe the sun throughout a day, with some sort of timekeeping device, and use a shadow stick, you can determine noon, then points in time equidistant to both sides of noon, and thus determine a general east-west line. Even that may not be precise.

Celestial navigation is much simpler and thus reliable.
I'm not going to argue....

Quote:
No matter where you are on Earth, you have a due east and due west point on your horizon. That point marks the intersection of your horizon with the celestial equator – the imaginary line above the true equator of the Earth.

At the equinoxes, the sun appears overhead at noon as seen from Earth’s equator. That’s the definition of an equinox: it’s when the sun crosses the celestial equator, as seen in Earth’s sky.

That’s why the sun rises due east and sets due west for all of us on the day of an equinox. The sun is on the celestial equator, and the celestial equator intersects all of our horizons at points due east and due west.
Does the sun rise due east and set due west at the equinox? | Earth | EarthSky
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:33 PM
 
19,848 posts, read 59,985,882 times
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The comments section of that site pretty much confirms my own comments -

"At the north pole, all directions are south. At the south pole, all directions are north. There is no east or west at the poles. Therefore, at the poles on the day of an equinox, the sun does not rise or set, but sits on the horizon all day long."

Note also that the equinoxes are momentary and only twice a year, so if you state that the sun rises due east and sets due west (on the ocean, since mountains can affect this as well by truncating the arc) then you are correct 2/365.25 of the time.

The reason I remember this is there was a whole brouhaha a while back about the old boy scout handbook's direction finding instructions (by use of a shadow stick and the sun) when lost making kids MORE lost.
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:19 PM
 
15,921 posts, read 18,401,322 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
The comments section of that site pretty much confirms my own comments -

"At the north pole, all directions are south. At the south pole, all directions are north. There is no east or west at the poles. Therefore, at the poles on the day of an equinox, the sun does not rise or set, but sits on the horizon all day long."

Note also that the equinoxes are momentary and only twice a year, so if you state that the sun rises due east and sets due west (on the ocean, since mountains can affect this as well by truncating the arc) then you are correct 2/365.25 of the time.

The reason I remember this is there was a whole brouhaha a while back about the old boy scout handbook's direction finding instructions (by use of a shadow stick and the sun) when lost making kids MORE lost.
So what did you think of those programs I posted harry?
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:57 AM
 
Location: DC
6,842 posts, read 7,072,680 times
Reputation: 3515
Quote:
Originally Posted by plwhit View Post
I don't remember too many things from my early school years but I do remember this:
Here's something that will help you out quite a bit, been using it for a couple of years now because I can never get down the constellations except the big and little dipper and the North star is at the end of the big dippers handle....
You will have problems with this aid as well. The North Star is in the handle of the Little Dipper.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:11 AM
 
19,848 posts, read 59,985,882 times
Reputation: 36894
Quote:
Originally Posted by plwhit View Post
So what did you think of those programs I posted harry?
I've thought about downloading something along those lines, and I'm sure those are fine. I went from someone who downloads a lot to someone who only downloads what is needed and will be in regular use. Loading up computers just slows them and no longer interests me. Isn't there a "Google sky" or something like that as well?
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