As magic Viking was physics

As magic Viking was physics

It was believed that the “sun stone” of the Nordic sagas, it’s just a mythical object. But it exists and works.


The Vikings saw the sun through the clouds using the described in the Saga of the Sunstone. They made their way across the ocean. How exactly they succeeded — the scientists could not figure out for several decades. The way of the researchers to the secrets of the sun stone was no less tortuous than the path of the Vikings to Greenland. But now everyone can in just a few minutes to build an ancient navigation device.

Copper oak chest

As far as the Vikings were good at sea, will help to understand this example. The Romans, for centuries kept in his own power almost the entire civilized world, was scared to swim in the open sea. Horace expressed the horror of his people before the idea of navigation in the famous verse:

Know, of oak, copper chest
He had, who dared
First my fragile bark
To commit the terrible waves.

Not only the Romans were so fearful: the Phoenicians are considered as unrivalled navigators of antiquity, but the famous swim around the year 600 BC was coasting around Africa. PIFA allegedly visited the IV century BC in Iceland, probably just retold familiar myths and fairy tales; in any case, it is in ancient times the reputation of a dreamer. Writer Lucian (II century ad) begins a science fiction story “True story” with the fact that the ship was drifting out to sea, and he loses the shore. For the person of antiquity the situation was tantamount to a transition to another world. And this was the basis: from there, from across the sea, do not return.

Now look at the Vikings bearded sailors sailing across the Atlantic, as if stepping over a puddle.

As the Vikings sailed to Greenland?

If you believe the sagas, from Norway to Iceland by the Vikings traveled for 7 days, four more days were required to move from Iceland to Greenland.

NewsScientists have figured out why the Vikings colonized Greenland

All those ancient texts say that Greenland was opened by Eric the Red in 985, although the story emphasizes that any deaf to the rumors about “the ground covered with ice,” and circulated earlier. Eric with 15 courts reached the South shore of the island and founded a settlement there Bratteli. Nowadays re-enactors have confirmed the reality of these stories, making the journey of the Vikings on copies of ancient vessels. On the island are traces of a Viking settlement — the remains of villages, ruins of castles. The Chronicles say that the colony of the Vikings on the island were very numerous. According to testimony, there were married, sales transactions were executed convicted of witchcraft in General, living life to the full.

But how are they focused? It is unclear whether the Vikings compass, but, anyway, in the North, it is almost useless.

Magnetic pole — point where the magnetic field lines of the Earth enter into the planet at a right angle — close, and the compass needle, guided along the field lines, already for a couple of hundred kilometers from the pole looks, in fact, down.

Moreover, during the Viking magnetic pole, which “walks” on the surface of the Earth, was just West of Greenland. Therefore, at least half of the way from Iceland to Greenland, the compass was useless. To this is added a riot of arrows during magnetic storms: the effect is greater the closer you are to the magnetic pole. “Before panorama uterus makes a fool,” said Arkhangelsk Pomors called “panorama” of Aurora (their appearance just says the magnetic storm), and the compass — the “uterus”.

If there is no compass, is to focus on the sun and North star. The North star points directly to the North. The sun at noon is above the point of the South. At other times the position of the South (and the North), watching the sun, it is easy to determine the solar hours. These devices were found on the Viking ships.

Newsgeologists have discovered why the Earth’s magnetic field “runs” to the West

A simple example. In an hour the sun, like all stars, shifted by 15 degrees due to the rotation of the Earth around its axis. Consequently, in 11 hours in the sun, for example, is 15 degrees to the East point of the South. If we know we can take a sundial, put a sun shade at 11 o’clock, and the figure 12 will show to the South. But how do you know the time? Only approx. Non-Sunny, for example, sand, watches the Vikings were not. Therefore, researchers agree on the fact that the Vikings (as well as the people in the Middle ages) had a strong sense of time. Allegedly, even on cloudy days, focusing on lighting, they could tell time to the hour.

But what if the sun is not visible? It is for the high latitudes the actual problem. So, in the Faroe Islands 220 days per year full cloud and only 2 days a year — all clear. Often can not see neither the sun nor the North star. And even knowing the time, you will not be able navigate. No sun, means we cannot put the shadow “hands” of a sundial to the desired sector and to know the direction to the South.