Author Topic: Stick Compass  (Read 3146 times)

Offline Sister Wolf

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Stick Compass
« on: December 14, 2008, 10:23:10 PM »
They say you can put a stick into the ground, and mark the end of its shadow with a small rock.  15 minutes later, if you mark the end of the shadow again with a small rock, and then draw a line between the two rocks, the line will be an East/West line.  We decided to check it out for ourselves.

What you'll need:
  • A watch
  • two small rocks
  • a stick of some kind

This was a really, really simple project.  Just stick the stick in the ground, mark the end of the shadow, wait 15 minutes and do the same thing.  Draw a line between the two, and voila!  Done.
What took a tiny bit more thought (but only a tiny bit) was deciding the following: if you were in the middle of the desert, or field, which would be East and which would be West?  We decided that if it was past noon, the first rock you place will be the Westernmost rock.  The second rock you place will be the Easternmost rock.  We think it would be the opposite if you do it before noon.  In that case, the first rock you place would be the Easternmost, and the second, the Westernmost.  Right?

Anyway.  So here it goes.  We stuck a piece of scrap rebar in the ground (because that's what we had most available)


Then we sat around and talked for 15 minutes (which was fun!).  And when the 15 minutes was up, we marked the end of the shadow with a second stone, and drew a line between the two.


The line was indeed East - West!  :)
« Last Edit: December 14, 2008, 10:42:29 PM by Sister Wolf »

Offline archer

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Re: Stick Compass
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2008, 10:39:22 PM »
+1 Sister Wolf! Great Idea!! I've never heard of that. I have used my analog watch to tell North/South.
 Here's a pdf to properly explain it (if I try, someone will get lost and blame me):

Offline Sister Wolf

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Re: Stick Compass
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2008, 10:43:10 PM »
Thanks, Archer! :)  Can you re-post that link?  I can't see it.

Offline archer

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Re: Stick Compass
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2008, 10:44:26 PM »

Da Fat Kid

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Re: Stick Compass
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2009, 12:02:16 AM »
I would think that no matter what time of day the first rock is the west and the second is the east. since the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west (at least in my neck of the woods).
But I give ya +1 for the great idea.
You can also make a compass with a small container of water and a needle.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compass#Needle-and-bowl_device