Sun Compass and Richard E. Byrd’s Flight Toward the North Pole

In 1926, Richard E. Byrd flew near the North Pole and used a sun compass for navigation. A regular magnetic compass is less usable near the poles because it points toward the magnetic pole, which is different from the geographic pole, and that the needle will point toward the ground due to the magnetic dip.

Flat-Earthers are too fixated on the stories about Richard E. Byrd’s compass being unusable in Antarctica and use it as “evidence” of flat Earth, as if it only happens in Antarctica. They failed to realize that the same thing also occurs near the North Pole, and Richard E. Byrd himself also prepared for it.

Geographer Albert Bumstead made the sun compass Richard Byrd used for his journey toward the North Pole. A sun compass works in reverse of a sundial. A sundial tells the time from the position of the sun. In contrast, a sun compass tells the position of the sun from the current time. Then, the direction of the North can be determined from the observed position of the sun.

Byrd also carried the same compass for his expedition to the South Pole in 1929.