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Author Topic: 'Sunstone' Crystal May Be Vikings' Legendary Navigation Aid  (Read 3064 times)

sky otter

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'Sunstone' Crystal May Be Vikings' Legendary Navigation Aid
« on: March 07, 2013, 09:27:07 PM »


this may or may not fit here..BUT...........................


'Sunstone' Crystal From British Shipwreck May Be Vikings' Legendary Navigation Aid





By Lizzie Wade

In 1592, a British ship sank near the island of Alderney in the English Channel carrying an odd piece of cargo: a small, angular crystal. Though cloudy and scuffed up from 4 centuries at the bottom of the sea, its precise geometry and proximity to the ship's navigation equipment caught the eye of a diver exploring the wreckage. Once it was brought back to land, a few European scientists began to suspect the mysterious object might be a calcite crystal, which they believe Vikings and other European seafarers used to navigate before the introduction of the magnetic compass.

A previous study showed that calcite crystals reveal the patterns of polarized light around the sun and, therefore, could have been used to determine its position in the sky even on cloudy days. That led researchers to believe these crystals, which are commonly found in Iceland and other parts of Scandinavia, might have been the powerful "sunstones" referred to in Norse legends, but they had no archaeological evidence to support their hypothesis—until now.

After subjecting it to a battery of mechanical and chemical tests, the team determined that the Alderman crystal is indeed a calcite and, therefore, could have been the ship's optical compass, they report online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A. Today, similar calcite crystals are used by astronomers to analyze the atmospheres of exoplanets—perhaps setting the stage for a whole new age of exploration.



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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/sunstone-british-shipwreck-viking-navigation_n_2818858.html?utm_hp_ref=science

Offline zorgon

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Re: 'Sunstone' Crystal May Be Vikings' Legendary Navigation Aid
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2013, 06:22:37 PM »
Nice find, never heard of this before :D

Yup it's most certainly calcite...  can tell just by looking at it :D

Variety ICELAND SPAR




Offline Ellirium113

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Re: 'Sunstone' Crystal May Be Vikings' Legendary Navigation Aid
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2013, 08:26:43 PM »
Quote
Enter the sunstone.

While experts have long argued that Vikings knew how to use blocks of light-fracturing crystal to locate the Sun through dense clouds, archeologists have never found hard proof, and doubts remained as to exactly what kind of material it might be.

An international team of researchers led by Guy Ropars of the University of Rennes in Brittany, marshalling experimental and theoretical evidence, says they have the answer.

Vikings, they argue, used transparent calcite crystal -- also known as Iceland spar -- to fix the true bearing of the Sun, to within a single degree of accuracy.

This naturally occurring stone has the capacity to "depolarise" light, filtering and fracturing it along different axes, the researchers explained.

Here's how it works: If you put a dot on top of the crystal and look through it from below, two dots will appear.

"Then you rotate the crystal until the two points have exactly the same intensity or darkness. At that angle, the upward-facing surface indicates the direction of the Sun," Ropars explained by phone.

"A precision of a few degrees can be reached even under dark twilight conditions.... Vikings would have been able to determine with precision the direction of the hidden Sun."

The human eye, he added, has a fine-tuned capacity to distinguish between shades of contrast, and thus is able to see when the two spots are truly identical.

The recent discovery of an Iceland spar aboard an Elizabethan ship sunk in 1592 -- tested by the researchers -- bolsters the theory that ancient mariners were aware of the crystal's potential as an aid to navigation.

Even in the era of the compass, crews might have kept such stone on hand as a backup, the study speculates.

"We have verified ... that even only one of the cannons excavated from the ship is able to perturb a magnetic compass orientation by 90 degrees," the researchers wrote.

"So, to avoid navigation errors when the Sun is hidden, the use of an optical compass could be crucial even at this epoch, more than four centuries after the Viking time."


http://m.phys.org/news/2011-11-viking-sunstone-myth.html

sky otter

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Re: 'Sunstone' Crystal May Be Vikings' Legendary Navigation Aid
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2013, 09:08:33 PM »


i found this article about invisibility very interesting  after the mention of a calcite crystal . ;D
cool vid at the link


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/9902307/Invisibility-cloak-unveiled-at-TED-conference.html


'Invisibility cloak' unveiled at TED conference
Scientists at the Technology, Education and Design (TED) conference in Los Angeles have demonstrated what is being hailed as breakthrough in the bid to make the invisibility cloak become a reality.

11:57AM GMT 01 Mar 2013
The invisibility cloak has long been a staple of science fiction, with Harry Potter famously using one in his wizard adventures.

But to gasps from the audience, a scientist from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore demonstrated an experiment that appears to make it more than the stuff of fantasy.

A small box made of calcite optical crystal was used to bend light around an object, making anything placed behind the box appear invisible to people watching the demonstration at the TED conference.

Professor Baile Zhang said he was inspired to create the invisibility device “just for fun”.

“I just think the idea is cool,” he said. “Plus, I hope this work will demonstrate that simple tools can sometimes fulfil important functions that previously required complicated methods.”

Professor Zhang admitted that his research was in its early stages, and said that his team was still working out how to make larger and more useful prototypes of the invisibility cloak, according to The Times.

“There are still many limitations here and I don’t have the answers for how to solve them,” he said. “At this stage, this is already the best we can do. There will be quite a long way to go before it can be applied on a practical level. But all researchers in this field, including myself, are making progress, albeit slowly.”

He said that his work with calcite might have more uses than hiding objects, as the substance could also help to improve optical fibres, such as that cables used for broadband internet, or create better “imaging” products such as digital cameras.

It has previously emerged that scientists in the United States have been working on their own version of the invisibility cloak.

The work uses novel materials to manipulate light, a trick that is of huge interest to the military in particular.

Reporting in the New Journal of Physics, researchers at the University of Texas in Austin cloaked a 7.2-inch cylindrical tube from light in the microwave part of the energy spectrum.

This is thought to have great military potential, as a warplane cloaked with such materials could achieve "super-stealth" status by becoming invisible in all directions to radar microwaves.


 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/9902307/Invisibility-cloak-unveiled-at-TED-conference.html

Offline zorgon

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Re: 'Sunstone' Crystal May Be Vikings' Legendary Navigation Aid
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2013, 02:03:15 PM »
"Sunstone" is actually the wrong term today...

Sunstone is feldspar with gold fleckles :D

But I have some Calcite Viking stones for sale 

http://landoflegendslv.com/00shoppes/03Legends/04images/Calcite/MPB_Iceland/Calcite.html

 


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