Welcome to the NavList Message Boards.


A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Compose Your Message

Add Images & Files
    Name or NavList Code:
    Re: 1st type Hand held Bagnold Sun Compass
    From: David Harrison
    Date: 2020 Dec 2, 12:34 +0000
    Cheers David

    Thanks for that informative reply, from the brief mention of the device by Newbold  in the RGS Journal I believe it was mainly used like a sighting compass on fixed points & the vehicle mounted compass was the preferred method. From what I can see the expeditions were later in the year also around Oct -November time.

    When my mate gets back from the Middle East I’m sure he will understand it, he’s been out in the desert using various sun compasses so as a far greater understanding than me 🥴

    Thanks again much appreciated 


    Sent from my iPhone

    On 30 Nov 2020, at 15:31, David Pike <NoReply_DavidPike@fer3.com> wrote:


    David Harrison
    Thank you for the photographs.  Clearly, I didn’t explain what I wanted very well.  However, I’ve managed from the side view that you posted.  Hopefully, you can see from the diagram below what Geoffrey was saying.  If the Sun is higher in the sky than 53 degrees, it’s shadow will not reach the numbers.  In the Northern summer, the Sun reaches 23.5 degrees above the Equator, and this affects how high it is in the sky at noon.  Below 60.5 degrees latitude North the Sun would be greater than 53 degrees high in the sky at noon, so the device would be no good for mad dogs or Englishmen.  That’s not to say it wouldn’t be OK earlier or later in the year or earlier or later in the day, but you get the idea.

    Looking at uses, I can see three possible uses for the device.  You could use it to take bearings on points to produce lines of position.  You could set the azimuth disc reading corresponding to your desired direction of travel.  Then, holding the device with the arrow pointing forward, walk, ski, or ride in such a direction that the shadow of the sun forms a solid line through zero. In difficult conditions, you could send a walker, skier, or rider ahead; then hand wave them into position.  Then catch them up.  I’ve used this technique successfully in the English Lake District in mist with a magnetic compass.  It’s slow but surprisingly accurate. 

    Regarding the formulae, testing means examining at least 16 possibilities, possibly 24, and using up a lot of backs of envelopes.  You need to look at least four heading sectors, before and after noon above Cancer and below Capricorn.  So far I’ve found they work on for all headings or bearings north of Cancer before noon. DaveP  


    Browse Files

    Drop Files


    What is NavList?

    Get a NavList ID Code

    (please, no nicknames or handles)
    Do you want to receive all group messages by email?
    Yes No

    A NavList ID Code guarantees your identity in NavList posts and allows faster posting of messages.

    Retrieve a NavList ID Code

    Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your NavList code will be emailed to you immediately.

    Email Settings

    NavList ID Code:

    Custom Index

    Start date: (yyyymm dd)
    End date: (yyyymm dd)

    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site