Use The Crescent Moon To Find Your Way At Night

If you're lost in the bush at night, disoriented and without tools to help you figure out which way is which, the folks at Atlas Obscura have a simple suggestion: Look to the moon. If it's a crescent moon, you'll be able to figure out which way you're facing pretty easily, and this short video explains how.

In short, when the crescent moon is at its apex, draw a line from the top of the horn to its bottom, then follow that line to the horizon. You'll be facing due south if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, and north if you're in the Southern Hemisphere. It's a simple thing to remember, and obviously not the only thing you can or should know about finding your way if you're lost outdoors at night (and, of course, it's not necessarily a good tip if the moon is full, for example, or waxing, or if it's not visible or there's a new moon). Even so, consider it just one more tool in your arsenal of wilderness skills you should know.

Wayfinding with Atlas Obscura [Facebook]


    Ok, first the video isn't showing I had to use the link. After watching said video, I need to ask a couple of questions. First, is this a US article, Because if it is then it may be back to front, or not, I don't know. Second, if looking at the crescent and drawing the line points south, isn't just looking at the direction the moon is in kinda south anyway?

    So now you need to plan when you're going to get lost to make sure there's a crescent moon... okayyyyyyyyyy...

    FYI this tip is incorrect for Australia. In the southern hemisphere, the sun and the moon track across the NORTHERN half of the sky, so a line from the points of the crescent moon to the horizon indicates NORTH, not south.

      Hi there,

      This was already clarified in the article.

      Hope this helps.



        Thanks - not at the time I wrote my original (cranky, thus rejected) comment, but I hadn't realised the article changed before I had another go. Great to see active quality control at LifeHacker!

        Yeah - we got that part. Now how do we tell if the moon's at its apex?

        "Don't worry guys, I can find North - maybe. First I need someone to tell me whether that moon's in the East or the West..."

    Far easier to use the southern cross to tell the direction. Then you don't need to wait for a waxing/waning moon.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now