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Alternative Satellite Navigation


The driver of a car is lost, driving around in the city without a clue which way is which. They have no sat-nav, but also no map, compass, etc. Suddenly the passenger says "We're going East". A bit later the driver takes another left turn and the passenger says "We're going North".

The thing is, though: How does the passenger know this?! They have no map and no compass, so, how does the passenger know which way is North, South, East, and West? The driver asks. The passenger replies "Satellite Navigation".

Now this is quite baffling, because the car has no sat-nav, so how can the passenger be "using satellite navigation"?!

Well here's how the trick is done: If you're lost in an urban environment with no map and no compass, you can easily tell which way South is. Even if it's a cloudy day with no sun visible. Satellite dishes in the Northern hemisphere point in a direction quite close to SOUTH. There's a good reason for this: The TV satellites are in geostationary orbit, which means they orbit over the equator, which when you're in the Northern hemisphere is in a South direction.

Sky TV satellite dishes in the UK point within a few degrees of true South, and as they are attached to walls of houses all around town, they are an easy clue on which way South is.

To perform this trick you don't need to go to Halfords and buy a sat-nav, and you don't need to subscribe to Sky TV yourself. You just need to know that satellite dishes point close to South, and to be in an area that has plenty of satellite dishes on the walls of houses.

In Australia, satellite dishes point within however-many degrees of North, and that's not to do with water going down plugholes, it's to do with which way the equator is. In the Southern hemisphere, the equator is in a northerly direction.


Other things: If you have satellite navigation, it's best not to put your own HOME postcode into it, also see why satellites stay up, and what is geostationary orbit?. For a wider range of conjuring tricks, see magic tricks