Navigation By the North Star - Introduction

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An introduction to navigation using the North Star, suitable for Cub age upwards.


A clear night sky.
A compass or more.


(1) Discuss why the North Star was important for navigation.

Early mariners used recognizable landmarks to navigate by. This approach worked fine if they hugged the coast and stayed in known waters. But if they ventured into the open ocean or to unknown waters, there were no recognizable landmarks. The stars and the sun, however, were fixed in the heavens and could be seen wherever sailors ventured and, hence, the stars and sun became the navigators's most reliable tool.

(2) Go outside and show how the stars move across the night sky and how to locate the North Star - see attachment.

Use a compass to prove that north star is actually north.


  • astronomer
  • astronomy
  • North star

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  • Astronomer - Pole star