The Challenge: Measure Latitude and Longitude
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How is Latitude Measured?
It's possible to measure latitude by comparing your position on Earth with the
position of either the sun or the North Star (Polaris). Measurements using
the sun are possible on a clear day in the northern or southern hemispheres,
when the sun is easy to find. However, measurement of latitude isn't as
straightforward as you might think. Accurate readings can only be taken
at noon, when the sun is at its highest in the sky. To complicate matters
further, the sun rises higher in summer than in winter, and this must be
allowed for in any calculation. Being so far away and only one of a myriad
stars visible to the naked eye, the North Star isn't as easy to find as
the sun. Furthermore, you can only see it at night, which isn't always convenient.
Its major limitation, however, is that it isn't visible from the southern
hemisphere. For our purposes, we shall therefore assume that we're in the
northern hemisphere. You can use a simple quadrant to measure latitude using
either the sun or the North Star. Both methods are described below.
Making a quadrant