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Did Vikings Navigate by Polarized Light?

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  • robert-blau@webtv.net
    Did Vikings Navigate by Polarized Light?   A Viking legend tells of a glowing sunstone that, when held up to the sky, revealed the position of the Sun even
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 1, 2011
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      Did Vikings Navigate by Polarized Light?  
      A Viking legend tells of a glowing 'sunstone' that, when held up to the
      sky, revealed the position of the Sun even on a cloudy day. It sounds
      like magic, but scientists measuring the properties of light in the sky
      say that polarizing crystals -- which function in the same way as the
      mythical sunstone -- could have helped ancient sailors to cross the
      northern Atlantic. A review of their evidence is published today in
      Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

      The Vikings, seafarers from Scandinavia who traveled widely and settled
      in swathes of Northern Europe, the British Isles and the northern
      Atlantic from around 750 to 1050 AD, were skilled navigators, able to
      cross thousands of kilometers of open sea between Norway, Iceland and
      Greenland. Perpetual daylight during the summer sailing season in the
      far north would have prevented them from using the stars as a guide to
      their positions, and the magnetic compass had yet to be introduced in
      Europe -- in any case, it would have been of limited use so close to the
      North Pole.

      But Viking legends, including an Icelandic saga centering on the hero
      Sigurd, hint that these sailors had another navigational aid at their
      disposal: a sólarsteinn, or sunstone.

      Read more:
      http://ow.ly/3NheG
    • robert-blau@webtv.net
      Some interesting comments: [Antiquities_Science]   Posted by: william smith wmsmithrock1@yahoo.com wmsmithrock1   Date: Tue Feb 1, 2011 6:10 pm ((PST)) The
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 2, 2011
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        Some interesting comments:

        [Antiquities_Science]

          Posted by: "william smith" wmsmithrock1@... wmsmithrock1  
        Date: Tue Feb 1, 2011 6:10 pm ((PST))

        The stone you are referring to is called a seer stone. This stone was a
        small geode split in half. The center would be hollow and white crystals
        would line the inner walls of the hollow stone. A small surface area on
        the outside of the stone opposite of the open side would be sanded to
        allow a small amount of light into the crystals which would act as a
        magnifier for the user. In itself it would not function as a compass,
        however on any day it would show the position of the sun at mid day as
        well as the moons position at the same time. The Vikings had knowledge
        of the lunar compass and likely used this to determine longitude. If you
        observe the moon's position at mid day in the northern sky by looking
        into the sun with a seer stone. The light of the sun will be shown as
        well as the reflected light off of the moon. Note: this is only good for
        24 of the days in the lunar month of 29.6 days due to the tilt of the
        earth. This viewing on a cloudy day will work as well because it is only
        the brightest light that is shown. The Vikings made their long boats
        with 30 ribs that made 30 windows on the perimeter of their boat. If
        they sailed one day with the moon between two ribs, they would use the
        next set of ribs on the following day. This corresponds to the 12 degree
        counterclockwise movement of the moon day to day.  They also had a
        large wooden wheel that went around the ships mast and it had 30 notches
        on its outer edge. This wheel was a day counter for each day they
        traveled and allowed the Vikings to calculate the predicted position of
        the moon and compare the moons actual variance to the calculated to
        estimate their longitude position.
        William

        Posted by: "Rrfturner@..." Rrfturner@... robertturnerbob  
        Date: Wed Feb 2, 2011 12:59 am ((PST))
        Hi

        The principle of this is well known in astronomical circles and you can
        make a north finding machine by putting two bits of polarised film at 90
        degrees to each other and look at the darkness of the film when rotated
        We made one at school
        Bob

        --- On Tue, 2/1/11, robert-blau@... <robert-blau@...> wrote:
        From: robert-blau@... <robert-blau@...> Subject:
        [Antiquities_Science] Did Vikings Navigate by Polarized Light? To:
        antiquities_science@yahoogroups.com Date: Tuesday, February 1, 2011,
        6:30 PM  

                    Did Vikings Navigate by Polarized
        Light?
        http://ow.ly/3NheG
         
        Jo Marchant, Nature News, 31 January 2011 "A Viking legend tells of a
        glowing 'sunstone' that, when held up to the sky, revealed the position
        of the Sun even on a cloudy day. It sounds like magic, but scientists
        measuring the properties of light in the sky say that polarizing
        crystals -- which function in the same way as the mythical sunstone --
        could have helped ancient sailors to cross the northern Atlantic. A
        review of their evidence is published today in Philosophical
        Transactions of the Royal Society B. The Vikings, seafarers from
        Scandinavia who traveled widely and settled in swathes of Northern
        Europe, the British Isles and the northern Atlantic from around 750 to
        1050 AD, were skilled navigators, able to cross thousands of kilometers
        of open sea between Norway, Iceland and Greenland. Perpetual daylight
        during the summer sailing season in the far north would have prevented
        them from using the stars as a guide to their positions, and the
        magnetic compass had yet to be introduced in Europe -- in any case, it
        would have been of limited use so close to the North Pole.
        But Viking legends, including an Icelandic saga centering on the hero
        Sigurd, hint that these sailors had another navigational aid at their
        disposal: a sólarsteinn, or sunstone..."
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