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 thoughts on “Using polarized light to navigate in cloudy weather

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  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. 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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