Which Stars Can You Use for Navigation in Different Parts of the World?
Science Fair Project Guide
Astronomy Project Ideas
Time required Very short (a day or less)
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No hazards
In this experiment you can determine which stars to use to navigate in each hemisphere of the globe.
Does your new family car have a global positioning system, or GPS unit? This amazing device can tell you where you are going while traveling by car, airplane, boat or train. Most modern navigation is done using GPS, which uses information from satellites to tell you where you are and how to get to a particular destination. The information from a GPS is so accurate that it can be used to program an autopilot to conduct routine navigations. A GPS will tell you a location based upon latitude and longitude. The latitude tells you how far north or south you are, while longitude tells you how far east or west you are.
How did people navigate before modern technology?
Polynesians: By far, the most exceptional ancient navigation was by the Polynesians, who navigated thousands of miles throughout the Pacific Islands. They did not use any instrumentation to navigate. They used a type of celestial navigation called Wayfaring, which means that they used information about the stars, sun, moon, planets, ocean and tradewinds to know which way to go. They built boats with a system of rungs that would line up with key stars on the horizon for the navigator to tell direction. It took many years to train a navigator. The Hawaiian Star Compass was an incredibly accurate way to navigate. By developing this navigation system, the ancient Polynesians were way ahead of their time.
Vikings: The Vikings primarily used coastal navigation, which means that they kept land in sight and knew to travel in one particular direction along the...