ORIENTATION BY THE STARS

 

I've been attracted to the stars since early childhood but only when I was in the army I understood that stars are the most important navigation tool at night.

 

When I started my reconnaissance course Polaris was our new star.

 

At night, especially nights without a moon, the only orientation device is the stars. For me Ursa Minor and its brightest star Kochab and Ursa Major with the stars Alkaid and Dubhe were just the host for the small chariot that indicates very clearly the direction to Polaris, the northern star. If the little chariot wasn't to be found there was the CASSIOPEIA with its brightest star SCHEDAR that pointed to Polaris.

 

And there is the Orion group forming the North Pole arrow, always pointing to the North.

 

So for me stars weren’t only nice to watch but a means of orientation in the darkness. When I navigated during starry nights it was like an open book for me and when there were clouds I was blind and uncertain.

 

I delivered navigation courses in Shivta, an army base near an ancient Nabataean city in Southern Israel.  In those courses I said that in order not to be lost you should know where you are and where would you want to be, and then calculate the way and direction to get there. Orientation is a part of daily life, we navigate daily but most of the times don’t pay attention because we are in familiar places and go to the same destinations. Only in new cities and locations we need to activate the navigation skills.

 

During my time in the army we navigated only by maps, compasses by day and stars by night. Today with GPS in every smartphone people don't activate their navigation skills anymore but in our lives the same rules apply.

 

Want to find your way?

Know where you are.

Know where you are heading to.

Find the right path and direction.

 
Ted Barr, Miami Beach 2015