How, in olden days, did people tell time by seeing the position of stars?

Expert Answers
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Using the stars to tell time is actually very complicated (much more difficult than using the sun or the moon). Whereas using the sun to denote time is relatively simple (when the sun is directly overhead it is noon), using stars requires knowledge of constellations.

Step one: Stand facing the north and locate the North Star and the Big Dipper's pointer stars (the two aligned stars which form the right side of the Dipper's dipper).

Step two: Align the North Star with the pointer stars in the Big Dipper. "Draw" a line which contains all three stars.

Step three: North is the same as 12:00 and south is 6:00. Determine what time it is according to the "clock."

Step four: (Here is where it can become a little confusing.) March 7th is the key date to remember. You must add the number of months past March to the hour and the number of days past the 7th to the minutes (times 2). Any months or days before March 7th need to be subtracted from the time.

For example, if it is May 11th, and the stars are aligned to read 3:15, one must add 2 hours for the two months past March) and 8 minutes (the 11th is 4 days past the 7th). Therefore, it would be 5:23.

Step five: Double the time you have come up with after applying the March 7th time.

With regards to the example, the new time would be 10:46.

Step six: Subtract the total from 24 if lower than 24. Subtract from 48 if over 24. (The number given, if over 12, will result in a pm time. If under 12, then the time is an am time.)

With regards to the example, 24-10.46 is 13.54. Meaning it is 1:54 pm.

Step seven: If daylight savings time is used, you may have to alter the time according to the appropriate change.

astrosonuthird | Student

If in the late morning, the sun is in the east it means that the time is 6am and in the late evening if the sun is going to set it meant  6pm.

astrosonu | Student

The early people had many ways to tell the time by looking at the stars without the help of a clock.

* If the sun was at the exact centre of the sky, it was noon.

* If the sun is at the eastern half of the sky, it was morning.

* sunset in the west meant to be 6 pm in the evening.

* sunrise in the east meant to be 6 am in the late morning.


Hey mooshi! why U need this info don't U have a watch..