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Keyword: sunstones

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  • Researchers suggest Vikings used crystals with sun compass to steer at night

    03/29/2014 9:14:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 61 replies
    Phys dot org ^ | March 26, 2014 | Bob Yirka
    A team of researchers working in Hungary has proposed that a sun compass artifact found in a convent in 1948 might have been used in conjunction with crystals to allow Vikings to guide their boats even at night. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences, the team describes theories they've developed that might explain how Viking sailors were able to so accurately sail to places such as Greenland. Since the discovery of the sun compass fragment, researchers have theorized that Viking sailors used them to plot their course—at least when the...
  • Crystals 'helped Viking sailors' (For Viking fans....and others, of course).

    02/07/2007 2:04:03 PM PST · by Jedi Master Pikachu · 45 replies · 1,042+ views
    BBC ^ | Wednesday, February 7, 2007
    The sun was not necessary for Vikings to navigate, say researchers Vikings may have used a special crystal called a sunstone to help navigate the seas even when the sun was obscured by fog or cloud, a study has suggested. Researchers from Hungary ran a test with sunstones in the Arctic ocean, and found that the crystals can reveal the sun's position even in bad weather. This would have allowed the Vikings to navigate successfully, they say. The sunstone theory has been around for 40 years, but some academics have treated it with extreme scepticism. Researcher Gabor Horvath from...
  • Did Vikings navigate by polarized light?

    01/31/2011 8:30:21 PM PST · by Palter · 30 replies
    Nature ^ | 31 Jan 2011 | Jo Marchant
    'Sunstone' crystals may have helped seafarers to find the Sun on cloudy days. A Viking legend tells of a glowing 'sunstone' that, when held up to the sky, revealed the position of the Sun even on a cloudy day. It sounds like magic, but scientists measuring the properties of light in the sky say that polarizing crystals — which function in the same way as the mythical sunstone — could have helped ancient sailors to cross the northern Atlantic. A review of their evidence is published today in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B1. The Vikings, seafarers from Scandinavia...
  • Icelandic rocks could have steered Vikings

    11/01/2011 8:00:07 PM PDT · by decimon · 19 replies
    BBC ^ | November 1, 2011 | Jennifer Carpenter
    Vikings used rocks from Iceland to navigate the high seas, suggests a new study. In Norse legends, sunstones are said to have guided seafarers to North America. Now an international team of scientists report in the journal the Proceedings of the Royal Society A that the Icelandic spars behave like mythical sunstones and polarise light. By holding the stones aloft, voyaging Vikings could have used them to find the sun in the sky. The Vikings were skilled navigators and travelled thousand of kilometres between Northern Europe and North America. But without a magnetic compass, which was not invented until the...
  • Researchers: We may have found a fabled sunstone (Update)

    03/08/2013 11:05:59 AM PST · by Red Badger · 45 replies
    Phys.org ^ | 08 March 2013 | Raphael Satter
    A rough, whitish block recovered from an Elizabethan shipwreck may be a sunstone, the fabled crystal believed by some to have helped Vikings and other medieval seafarers navigate the high seas, researchers say. In a paper published earlier this week, a Franco-British group argued that the Alderney Crystal—a chunk of Icelandic calcite found amid a 16th century wreck at the bottom of the English Channel—worked as a kind of solar compass, allowing sailors to determine the position of the sun even when it was hidden by heavy cloud, masked by fog, or below the horizon. That's because of a property...