Using a Simple Compass
Dec 1, 2008
Basically what I'm going to be showing you right now is how to use a magnetic compass. What we're going to do is we're going to use the compass to help us locate where in the sky the moon is when we make our observations. Now please note, on your compass, you have one part which is a needle, and you have another part which gives the directional markings. Now what you're going to do, the best thing to do is take your compass and put it down on a stable surface. And I'm going to do that right now. Is it okay? Now, notice the needle moves. What you want to do, the needle always is trying to always point towards the north because it's magnetic and it's heading towards magnetic north. What you need to do is take your compass and set it up so that that red arrow and the end for north are directly lined up with one another. When you do that, if you're facing the way the needle is pointing, the red end is pointing, you are facing north. What you then do is you move your eyesight, you look at wherever the moon is and let's say, for example, let me just move out a little bit. Now what you see is you see the moon over here. You would then look on the line on the compass and you would see that the moon is basically in the west. If you saw the moon down here at this point, it's directly opposite the north. It's on the south marking. You would be facing the south. If you saw your moon over here, what you're going to have is north here. This is south and this is towards the east, but it's southeast. So you're going to do just a very crude approximation of where it is in the sky that last year we had a lot of people who had difficulty figuring out where east was and where west was, especially when their observations of the moon were made in the night. Okay? If you have any other questions, please make sure you come see me with regards to how to use your compass.