Navigate By The Stars

Via lifehacker:

Don’t believe that part about where Jupiter is. As far as I know, the planets move …. (which is why they are called planets, yes?)


  1. #1 John Moeller
    October 5, 2008

    Another correction: Polaris is the way to find North, yes, but isn’t even close to being the brightest star in the sky. That’s Sirius. At least three stars in Orion (Betelgeuse, Rigel, and Bellatrix) are brighter than Polaris.

    In fact, Polaris is listed 48th in this Wikipedia article.

  2. #2 chuko
    October 5, 2008

    This video is really bad; it reminds me of the kind of answers my astronomy students would give when they hadn’t studied their notes. He says a bunch of stuff that’s irrelevant to navigating by the stars (all the Orion stuff), making a bunch of mistakes on the way, then gives a confusing answer that he’ll later argue is technically correct, at least if he’s a pre-med.

    The Jupiter bit is really garbled. Not only do the planets move, as Greg said, but the planets farther from the Sun than Earth, including Jupiter, don’t show phases; the bright side is always facing toward the Earth (that is, toward the Sun.)

    His method of finding North works, but is unnecessarily complicated. All you have to do to point north is stand up straight, and point yourself towards Polaris. That’s north.

    A real video on how to navigate by the stars would point out Polaris, but would also tell you about how to find your latitude by the ecliptic and your longitude by timing (for example) sunrise, and probably some other tricks I don’t know about.