2012: Magnetic pole reversal happens all the (geologic) time

Scientists understand that Earth's magnetic field has flipped its polarity many times over the millennia. In other words, if you were alive about 800,000 years ago, and facing what we call north with a magnetic compass in ...

Vikings could have steered by polarized light

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Vikings are said to have been able to navigate with the aid of "sunstones" that allowed them to see the sun on cloudy or foggy days. Now scientists in Hungary and Sweden say the sunstones could have been ...

Birds evolved compass 'head up display'

(PhysOrg.com) -- Certain birds may have compass information mapped directly onto their vision, much as fighter pilots have ‘head up displays’ overlaying flight information on their view of the skies.

Shipwreck find could be legendary 'sunstone'

An oblong crystal found in the wreck of a 16th-century English warship is a sunstone, a near-mythical navigational aid said to have been used by Viking mariners, researchers said on Wednesday.

A molecular compass for bird navigation

Each year, the Arctic Tern travels over 40,000 miles, migrating nearly from pole to pole and back again. Other birds make similar (though shorter) journeys in search of warmer climes. How do these birds manage to traverse ...

Hide and seek with a quantum compass

How would you look for something that can be in two 'places' at once? The answer, according to Oxford University research into a quantum phenomenon called superposition, seems to be to ask where it isn't rather than where ...

Microscopic gyroscopes, the key for motion sensing

(PhysOrg.com) -- Tiny devices made possible by combining the latest advances in mechanical and electronics technology could be at the heart of next-generation personal navigation and vehicle stabilisation tools thanks to ...

Migratory birds eye-localized magnetoreception for navigation

Migratory birds use a magnetic compass in their eye for navigation. The involved sensory mechanisms have long remained elusive, but now, researchers have revealed exactly where in the eye avian navigation is situated.

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