If there are little clouds you can focus on the sun that is in the afternoon at its highest point in the south, and at night at the pole star (in line with the last two stars of the Big Dipper).

If there are too many clouds you may have something to follow these tips.

zonnebloemThe prevailing wind in our area is coming from the southwest. Therefore, single trees are mostly bent to the NE.
The south-west side is more and longer humid. There grow on trees and poles green moss and algae.
Beeches and chestnuts on their smooth trunk often suffer from “sunburn". The bark rot away then on the south side.
Bark grooves, rough ridges, are formed in the winter because the bark on the sunny side becomes hot and the night cools rapidly through the frost. The bark is shrinking by the cold and the wood does not shrink as quickly, which causes the bark splits open on the south side.

Mature sunflowers do not rotate with the sun any longer, but stay with the flower to the sun rising in the east.

The magnetic north shifts with 55km/year towards Siberia.

The explanatory power of magnetite was with the Chinese already around 400 BC known. A magnet piece floating in a bowl of water on a stick, or a magnetic needle floating on a piece of cork always points north. (Would com-pass have to do with it? (Dutch: kom = bowl)) You can also hang a magnetic needle to a fiber or lay on a sharp point (low friction).

The Iranian astronomer instrument maker Abu - Mahmud al- Khujandi built around 994 in Ray (Tehran), the first known wall sextant with a diameter of 20 meters on a perfectly oriented north-south wall.
From the average of the solar height between the longest and shortest day the geographical latitude (distance from the equator) could be calculated.
The name sextant refers to the arc degrees of 60 degrees (or 1/6de part of a circle).
Around 1730 both John Hadley (1682-1744, GB) and Thomas Godfrey (1704-1749, U.S.) made a handier tool.
With the vertical angle between a celestial object and the horizon, the date and time of day the altitude at which one was could be calculated. Often one uses the sun at 12pm. Or Polaris.

A theodolite is used in triangulation. Along a straight line with a known length, it will be placed alternately on each endpoint and the visor (with (telephoto) lens) is focused on a distant third point. In addition, in each case the exact angle is measured, with which is also the length of the other two triangle sides calculated.
Leonard Digges made ​​around 1571 probably the first copy.

A day without sunshine is like night.