|Recreation of Viking establishment and forge at L'anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
How could this sunstone work? Well, Wikipedia says that the sunstone could have been some type of easily available birefringent crystal, such as calcite, which produces two separate images of an object seen through the crystal, due to differences in light polarization.
Wow, could this really work? My astronomical question is: (1) Does the sun navigation method outlined in the TV series really result in a path that is just plain westward? (2) Can you see enough of a difference in the solar image due to polarization effects such that you can indeed identify the location of the sun through the clouds?
|Was a birefringent crystal such as this one an example of Viking "Sunstone" (Source: Wikipedia)|
Ok, all of you astronomer and physicist wannabes, take that on as your homework! While you are at that you might also want to check out a really neat website that mirrors the textbook "Physics from Planet Earth" and offers a lot of free interesting problems and interpretations on the associated website. This web reference was provided by Searching for Gravity Waves, Dr. Gary. He has found the site very informative, but beware it is not for the mathematical faint of heart. I looked at it and found that the author uses many interesting recent astronomical and astrophysics examples to use to as teaching tools to learn classical mechanics from an advanced point of view. Thanks for that Gary. Check it out at: https://physicsfromplanetearth.wordpress.com/
|"In the Wake of the Vikings" ship tracker screenshot (Source: Viking Cruises)|
Now that we have left Newfoundland, the ship clock time is retarded 1.5 hours to make up for all of this. Note the circuitous route of the time zones around the island Newfoundland in the following screenshot.
|Time zones and the odd 3 & 1/2 hour shift from GMT for Newfoundland (Source: Wikipedia)|
|Luckily it's always 5:00 in one of the ships bars (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
|Resident Astronomer Peggy enjoys the view and a cosmo from the Explorers Lounge (Source: Palmia Observatory)|