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How can you determine the latitude of your house?

  1. Nov 29, 2011 #1
    can anyone determine the latitude of his house without using a GPS?

    how people determine the position of a ship in the times of navigation?

    this problem has baffled me for a long time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2011 #2

    I like Serena

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    Homework Helper

    Measure how high the northern pole star is above the horizon and bam!
    You have your latitude.

    Alternatively, measure how high the sun gets at its highest point on March 21st and you have your colatitude.
    On another date you need to add a number from a table.
  4. Nov 30, 2011 #3
    the first idea is very brilliant

    but it has still a little bit flaw

    the northen pole star is perfectly in the direction of the rotation axis of the earth

    does not there exist a method without reference to anything beyond your scope?
  5. Nov 30, 2011 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Do you mean mean without looking at the sky?

    You might consider a Foucault pendulum.

    With reference to your original question, "in times of navigation" people did look at the sky in order to determine their latitude, at least in the "Western world". That's what sextants were for.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  6. Nov 30, 2011 #5
    ok. but could you determine your latitude in one minute? or even in real time?

    suppose on a plane, the latitude is changing quickly all the time
  7. Nov 30, 2011 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    2017 Award

    What is exactly the problem you are asking?

    I Like Serena gave you an answer, and you changed the question. Then Jtbell gave you an answer and you changed the question. Can you clearly define the question so we don't have a parade of answers and you replying to each one, "No, that's not it".
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