How did the Vikings navigate the ocean?

A photo from open sources

In the monastery of Greenland in 1948, a mysterious eleventh century drive. It is believed that the disc was a compass Vikings and allowed ancient travelers to cross the North Atlantic on the way from Norway to Greenland (2500 kilometers). It turns out that the Vikings were not only ruthless robbers, but also beautiful sailors who were not afraid to go to distant swimming. New interpretations of the medieval compass suggest that when working with a compass, the sea robbers skillfully used the sun’s rays, even after the sun went down over the horizon. Although only half of the wooden disk remains, it is estimated experts, this navigation device in diameter was about 7 cm, and the sun’s rays falling on the central pin compass, indicated the direction of the path. After careful study fragment of the disk, scientists concluded that the Viking compass functioned in conjunction with other tools, including with crystals and a flat wood plate that helped navigate even after sunset. Researchers say that crystals found after the shipwreck near the island of Alderney may turn out to be legendary viking crystals. Specialists suggest that with the help of crystals the Vikings minimized inaccurate coordinates due to shadows cast on the compass. Wide the hole in the center of the disk most likely served as a place for placement of crystals with which coordinates shadow became wider and sharper. Viking compass worked on the principle of a sundial, but with more accurate indicators. Also, these crystals due to polarization ultraviolet rays helped determine the location of the sun in within an hour after its entry. After the Vikings determined position of the sun hidden behind the horizon, they used special wooden plate and with the help of a cast shadow from sticks determined the direction of the path. Researchers conducted field tests to evaluate the accuracy of a viking compass, and found that he worked with only 4 degrees of error, which, undoubtedly better than other forms of astronavigation. Specialists sure that the accuracy of the viking compass can be safely compared with modern magnetic compasses.

Greenland Sun

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