Scientists have proved the ability of the ancient Vikings to see through the clouds.
Hungarian scientists have found that polarizing crystals can establish the exact location of the Sun in the sky covered with clouds.
The study confirms the hypothesis according to which such “sun compass” was used by the Vikings to find a way to the sea.
Scandinavian sailors could accurately estimate the height of the Sun and the direction in which it was, despite the thick layer of clouds.
They used a transparent mineral (Iceland spar, calcite, cordierite and tourmaline), which splits the beam in two. The results showed that calcite was allowed to determine the location of fluorescent lights with the greatest accuracy.
Drops of water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere refract the sunlight, scattering it and making polarized. The result is bright, becoming the sky, making it indistinguishable to the direct rays of the Sun.
In addition, the Vikings probably used minerals towards the morning and during the summer solstice, when their effectiveness was greatest.