Before I begin with the quiz, it is important that the stargazer must know which direction to look. Where is south, or north, or east, or west?
East and west are easy:
East is where the sun rises, but at night it is also where the constellations that move through (approximately) the middle of the sky rise from. The signs of the zodiac generally rise from that point during the night.
West is then opposite to east, or where the signs of the zodiac set every night (in the same place that the sun sets at the end of the day).
The stargazer can wait for stars to move to determine east and west, but that takes time and so is often impractical. What is much easier is to determine north and south.
Finding north in the northern hemisphere
In the northern hemisphere, north is most easily found by locating the Pole Star (Polaris), for many the most important star in the heavens. It is the end-star in the tail of Ursa Minor, the Little Bear; but to avoid technicalities, if you don't know where it is, ask someone! Most people in the northern hemisphere know the bright Pole Star. At the north pole, it is virtually overhead, and as one moves further south, it moves closer towards the northern horizon.
Face the Pole Star and you will be facing north; or draw a straight line downwarsd from the Pole Star to the horizon to be more accurate. Obviously, once you have north, south is in exactly the opposite direction.
Finding south in the southern hemisphere
The southern hemisphere does not have a bright star very close to south that could be used like the North Star is used to find north in the northern hemisphere. Fortunately, there is a constellation called the Southern Cross that we use to find south. The Southern Cross is a set of bright stars that cannot be missed once you know what it looks like. It looks like a kite - a diamond head with two pointer stars (that point towards the cross, or diamond head). Again, if you don't know where it is, ask someone. (There is a much bigger false cross that can sometimes confuse inexperienced observers.)
To find south, you need to first identify the two stars that make up the long axis of the cross. (The diamond head, or cross, has one axis longer than the other.) These stars form a line which "points" to an imaginary point in the sky which is above the South Pole. Measure the distance between these stars (hold two fingers close to one eye), and follow the imaginary line down from the two stars five more times the distance between them.
Then draw an imaginary line from this point in the sky downwards to the ground. That is south. And then north will be behind you.
And for those who sometimes mix things up, remember that, when you face north, east is to your right and west is to your left. When you face south, west is to your right and east is to your left.
(If any of you are still unsure, or find the above explanations complicated, send me a private-message request and I will try to make it easier for you.)
EVERYBODY'S TR!TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWNTR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTHTR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)