Which direction is North from where you are right now. How sure are you?

@tomasino *points towards the corner of the room* like 95% sure

@tomasino right. only am certain because one world trade center, which I know I am north of, is to my left

@tomasino left. pretty damn sure. I see the shadows outside of my window going to the west in the moring, and to the east in the afternoon. I may be off by about 15 degrees because my directions will usually snap to the wall directions of the room I'm in.

@tomasino I have to stop and point my fingers at East and North, but I have it within a few degrees.

@anthra such confidence! From my seat at this bar I'm only confident within about 15°

@tomasino There. *points*

Very sure. Never seen the sun venturing there.

@tomasino due south. my desk is aligned nearly perfectly north/south and our degree of deviation from magnetic north in my region is only about 2deg. i'm pretty certain.
@tomasino very sure of the general direction / side of the house, not of the precise angle

@tomasino this direction ↑👆
I am quite sure the sun goes over the other end and i look at planets/stars sometimes.

@tomasino currently I am in Mid Suffolk and the road outside is called Norwich Road (I am sat with my back facing towards this road so the North would be to the right)

@tomasino that way. I'm pretty sure I'm right, I almost always know which way is north. I'd say it's by feel, but I've never tried it someplace where I have no historical or visual clues so, who knows.

North? It's behind me, and I'm very sure - I'm at home, and I know the alignment.

Now, have you any idea what the phase of the moon is today?

(I know, both because I saw it fifteen minutes ago, and because it came up in conversation at the weekend. Although that seems to be longer ago than I thought...)


@EdS off the top of my head, no. i think it was slivery a couple nights ago, but i don't recall if that was waning or waxing. I'd guess half moon, waxing

@EdS Re North, it's to my front-right, and I'm absolutely certain.

Re the Moon, it's gone over half and is waxing. I know because a couple of nights ago the terminator was a straight line as viewed from my position, and unusually, was vertical.

Bonus question: Under what circumstances can you see the terminator as a vertical straight line?

Bonus bonus:


When might the Moon's terminator appear vertical... 

...hmm, feels like you'd need to be directly in line between the Sun and the centre of the Moon. So, it could be at midnight at exactly half-moon. But it feels like it could be plus or minus six hours and just a little before or after half-moon, because the Earth's centre need not be directly behind you, or anywhere else. So long as the Earth isn't in the way.

The inclination of the Moon's orbit... no matter???

@ColinTheMathmo @tomasino

When might the Moon's terminator appear vertical... 

@EdS How many clues do you want? Do you want me to tell you when you're right or wrong?

I don't want to spoil it, but I don't want you to get frustrated.


When might the Moon's terminator appear vertical... 

Sounds like you're telling me I haven't yet go it right...

@ColinTheMathmo @tomasino

When might the Moon's terminator appear vertical... 

oh wait I'm out of phase entirely, I need a half-moon.

Brain is too hot to do it in my head...

@ColinTheMathmo @tomasino

When might the Moon's terminator appear vertical... 

@EdS It's a question where it takes time to get your head around what's really being asked, and how it can happen. Then when you do, it's really nice and elegant.

And no, you haven't got it right yet.



@tomasino 👈 to my left, I'm completely certain because I'm at home and have confirmed this with maps, compasses, gps, and observing the sun over several years.

@tomasino behind me! my desk is south-facing. also helps that the street grid here is roughly lined up E/W N/S

@tomasino to my right. Pretty certain. Road outside window goes East to west just about could be off by five degrees or so as it is not perfectly straight. Just got out compass, off by 13°, so 4% 🫤

@tomasino At about 3:30-4:00, so 15-30 degrees behind directly to my right

It is the direction I'm facing now and I'm confident to within 4 degrees.

@tomasino I reckon my guess would be within 20 degrees of being correct, so not very accurate. There are some languages/cultures which don’t use left/right/forward/back, but use objective reference instead. Imagine saying “Turn east, then walk a few metres, but stop when the pine tree is north of you.”

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