Using polarized light to navigate in cloudy weather

This article is interesting.  There is some evidence to suggest the Vikings were able to use a `sunstone’ – a crystal that polarizes light – to navigate in fog and on cloudy days.

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3 Responses to “Using polarized light to navigate in cloudy weather”

  1. Ian,

    It looks like this was tested quite some time ago (though, probably, not as rigorously as Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B would require), I ran across this book (in a public library in a really nice, though weird isolated town in WA state, still populated by descendants of Icelandic people): http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Viking-Navigators-Sunstones-Techniques/dp/0972151508/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298439221&sr=1-1 and was quite astonished by the idea!

    Paul B.

    P.S. Sorry to hear about your father in law… 😦

  2. (sorry, I was just going to give an URL, did not know that it would format it as an ad-looking banner 😦 ).

    Paul B.

  3. Yes, fascinating concept. There is a stature of Leif Eriksson near where I live, near the Mariners Museum in VA. I figure that Leif may have used sunstones to get to the Americas. I am a real polarization buff (and even think I’ve got a way to find more about the state of a single photon, see proposal. .)

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