There is a method of finding north by aiming two sticks at a star and then tracking the star's movement to find which way is north. You can read the full description here.

However, there is the a debate in the comments (with 6 upvotes) about whether or not it works the exact same way in both hemispheres specifically in reference to this to this image which demonstrates the relationship between the movement of the star and the direction one is facing.

Note that in the southern hemisphere, North and South will be reversed. – dotancohen Sep 19 '16 at 5:48


Obviously, stars are going to rise in the east and set in the west but what about the movement left to right? Does that stay the same in both hemispheres?

  • For those cases where you can see more than one star learning to find the north star or the southern cross is quicker. But then again the other question was specifically about the exception.
    – Monster
    Mar 23, 2018 at 6:45

1 Answer 1


TLDR: It's the same in both hemispheres.

To keep the explanation simple consider someone driving south at night across the equator in Africa . The person sees a star ahead and it's moving to the right. As the person crosses the equator it will still be moving to the right, not suddenly stop and start going to the left.

I think where people get confused is in relation to the sun.

Consider this scenario. You are standing outside in Glacier National Park (northern hemisphere) at noon facing south, from your point of view the sun is going to be traveling across sky towards the right.

Compare that to standing outside in Torres del Paine National Park (southern hemisphere) at noon facing north, from your point of view the sun is going to be traveling across the sky towards the left.

Both of those situations are exactly as predicted by the diagram. In this case the sun is moving the opposite way, because you are facing the opposite direction.

If you were facing north in the northern hemisphere, the sun would be behind you and the stars you could see at night would be moving to the left.

All of this to say that it does work the exact same way in both hemispheres.

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