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Viewing Tips

For someone wanting to see if Polaris, and the constellations, are where they are supposed to be:

  1. Find a true North pointer, such as a street laid out dead N/S or a building survey’d and in that position per the survey. Survey’s must detail this, and any real estate transaction such as a home sale will have this in the paperwork received at/for closing.
  2. If you don’t own a planetarium program such as Skymap, find an online site so you can get a picture of what your sky should look like for the date. The Azi (around the horizon 360 with N being 0° and 90° being East and 180° being South and 270° being West) and Alt (overhead being 90° up from any horizon) are marked.
  3. Go out side and look. You can measure Alt by holding a hand overhead, and determine the degrees inbetween. You can measure Azi by the same method. Knowing dead North you can do 90° angle from that for East or West, etc.

For someone wanting to determine how high the arc of the Sun is, during the day, this can be done by the method above to get the angle from the Dome overhead, but also by Trig via shadows case from phone poles and the like.

Pole height - one leg of triangle
Shadow length - other leg of triangle
Angle at shadow tip up past pole tip is the angle of Alt.