# The ''rising and setting'' of the sun

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by wegs, Jan 8, 2020.

1. ### Janus58Valued Senior Member

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If it is midday, then the Sun will be in a generally Southerly direction( while North of the Tropics). Its starts in the Eastern sky, crosses the sky to be in the South at noon, and set in the West. Getting your direction from the Sun requires you to know what time it is when you do so.
The "three figure bearings" are just done by dividing the compass up into 360 degrees, starting with 000 at due North, and increasing as you go clockwise to East(090), South (180), West (270) and back to North. East is 90 degrees from North, West 180 degrees, etc. (090 is ninety degree from North, the leading zero is just there so that there are three digits in the bearing number. Thus a heading of 056, Would be a direction somewhere between North east and East-Northeast. It just a way of giving directions by a more accurate amount. I'm not sure where your confusion is, as this is all explained in the link.

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Never mind.

5. ### DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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Yep. There's a mnemonic. If you know the time, you can tell your direction. If you know your direction, you can tell the time.

7. ### gmilamValued Senior Member

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To find north, hammer a straight stick (2 foot or longer) in the ground - sticking straight up. Place a rock at the end of the shadow of the stick. Come back 30 minutes to an hour later and place a rock at the end of the shadow of the stick. Draw a straight line between the two rocks. This line runs East/West, with the first rock being West. Place your left foot on the first rock, right foot on the second rock - you are now facing North.

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8. ### DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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I usually just base it on the sun and the time.

As wegs noted, the sun is generally due South at noon, generally due East at sunrise, and generally due West at sunset. Which also means, at 9AM it's Southeast and at 3PM it's Southwest, etc.

Frankly, that's good enough for me, since my ability to walk that straight and true line is pretty iffy anyway.

9. ### Truck Captain StumpyThe Right Honourable Reverend Truck CaptainValued Senior Member

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think of it like the continental divide in the US, which separates where the rivers run mostly east or west. the tropics are the "divide" where being in the northern hemisphere (north of the tropics) means walking into the sun is in a southerly direction. (it's opposite in the southern hemisphere)

You're in the northern hemisphere, therefore walking towards the sun puts a southern slant on your direction (except certain times of the year, like the equinox, where in some areas the sun will appear due east/west at rising or setting and directly overhead at its zenith). this is due to the tilt of the earths axis.

here are a couple of links that should help: https://www.quora.com/Why-does-the-sun-appear-to-travel-towards-the-north-or-south
https://physics.weber.edu/schroeder/ua/SunAndSeasons.html

those links should help with the OP as well.

what really gets confusing is when you try to determine true north from a compass without knowing your magnetic declination in the area you're at (sigh)
luckily, it's not usually important... unless you're wanting to call in an airstrike or something. (joke)

Last edited: Jan 15, 2020