An Accurate Instrument Of Direction Determines A Correct Destination
On This Day: The invention of the compass — Origin Unknown
“The compass is the soul of the ship” — Victor Hugo, 1866
“The exact origins of the magnetic compass and the date that it was first used are unknown. However, it is certain the Ancient Greeks were aware of the attractive properties of magnetism, and the Chinese probably knew that iron bars acquired a directional north-south property when stroked with a lodestone up to 2,000 years ago. This idea reached Europe in the 10th century and was probably introduced by Arab traders who gained the information from China. Simple magnetic compasses were used in the Mediterranean in the 12th century, although they were often unreliable. In the Middle Ages, magnetic compasses were used widely, but little was known about how they worked.” — sciencing
Facts & Information:
“It is pre-eminently the instrument upon which the safety of the vessel depends, and justly ranks first in importance.” — Captain S. T. S. Lecky, 1908 from the book “Compass” by Alan Gurney
“The magnetic compass is the most well-known of all instruments used in finding direction. It is the oldest navigational instrument and has been aiding sailors to cross the seas for many centuries.” — sciencing
The compass is one of several different kinds of orienteering sensors.
The compass is believed to have been invented by the Chinese.
There are seven different ways to ascertain “north” (i.e., gyro-compass / GPS compass). One of them is by the use of a compass.
“True North” and “Magnetic North” are different.
Most of the compasses used today use a magnetized needle located above a dial (which is moveable to adjust the baseline), and they are often filled with a clear oil to limit fluctuations (as a damper) due to the movement of the compass as a whole.
Some compasses use compensating magnets to account for acceleration, deceleration, and other locational factors (such as getting closer to the actual north pole.
A standard magnetic compass points to the “magnetic north.”
There is a “declination” between true north and magnetic north. The declination is the angle between true north and magnetic north.
Maps used for navigation indicate the degrees of declination on the map.
That “declination” can then be accounted for when using a compass.
Being off by a degree over a long distance can put you off course to your destination by hundreds of miles.
Electrical fields, large motors, the tilt of the compass, generators, overhead wires, and the like can affect the accuracy of the compass.
Key Illustrative Though:
• loss of bearings
• navigating life
• a sense of direction — Daniel had a sense of direction
• destination / destinations
• off by a degree and over time and distance
• reversed direction — Jonah – reversed direction
• heading — Abraham was headed toward a city
• true north
• magnetic north (the world of morality)
• accuracy — affected by other electrical forces
• survival skills – gained and lost
• the soul of a man
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