When facing north, the east is on the right and the west is on the left. When facing south, the east is to the left and the west is to the right. Use one o'clock on the watch instead of 12 o'clock during daylight saving time. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
During a sunset, it's easy to tell which way is west because everything that's west of you is getting darker while everything that's east of you is getting lighter. During a sunrise, things work differently-the thing that's east of you is getting darker while the thing that's west of you is getting lighter.
Here are some more ways to figure out which way is west: During a sunset, go to your local library or museum and look at some maps. Learn where all the major cities are on the planet so you can find out which way they face. Then check what direction those cities are seen from here in Illinois. That will help you figure out which way is west.
Do you need to know how far west or east you are? No, not really. If you want to know how far away something is, use this tool for measuring distance on earth or in space.
Did you know that you can see both the North and South poles from Chicago? In fact, you can see all seven continents from our city!
East and west are at right angles to the north and south. The east is in the clockwise direction of rotation from the north. West is directly opposite east. The sun's position in the sky can be used to determine east and west if the general time of day is known. During daylight savings time, when the hour is adjusted down, it is necessary to begin counting westward from 1 instead.
For example, suppose that the sun is due south at 10:00 a.m. If you know that it is March, then you can say that it is "in the west" at that time. Since the sun is out until 2:00 p.m., it is not possible to say with certainty what time it will be "in the east." However, since the sun will have moved westward (toward its setting position) during those two hours, it is reasonable to say that it will be "in the west" by 2:00 p.m.
In summary, the east-west direction is that part of the compass point system which is perpendicular to the north-south direction. Directions such as northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest indicate points on a compass rose relative to the location of an observer. Directions such as north, south, east, and west indicate directions relative to some fixed reference point, such as the North Star or Sun.
Assume it's two o'clock in the afternoon. To establish the north-south line, draw an imaginary line between the hour hand and twelve o'clock. Because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, you can identify which direction is north and which way is south by looking at the sky. If you live in the southern hemisphere, the situation will be reversed. The north-south line will now be based on four o'clock instead of twelve o'clock.
In the northern hemisphere, if you were to look up at the sky right now, you would see that the sun is just above the horizon in the east. This means that it is still daytime and you can continue to follow the instructions below to find out which way is south.
The process for telling which way is north is exactly the same as telling which way is south. All you need to remember is that in the northern hemisphere, the sun goes down in the west and rises in the east. So draw an imaginary line from three o'clock to nine o'clock to determine the north-south line.
This method isn't very accurate unless you live in a region with a relatively small land mass, like North America or Europe. For example, using this method to find south in Africa would lead you to believe that it is still day when it is night time. There are more precise methods for finding south in areas such as Africa.
The north-south line will now be based around six o'clock instead of twelve.
The reason this works is that the Earth is a sphere, and on a sphere, lines of longitude (the north-south lines) always cross the earth at the same point, no matter where you are on the surface. Lines of latitude (the east-west lines), on the other hand, go through points on the surface where there are changes in altitude. These points are called poles. The north pole is the only one that doesn't get any sunlight all day, while the south pole gets half as much during its night.
Since we're assuming that it's two o'clock in the afternoon, then according to our map, the north pole is behind some trees. At this time of day, light from the south pole would reach the ground near the tree line, but light from the north pole wouldn't. Therefore, the tree line marks the boundary between areas of light and darkness, and since dark objects are closer to the north pole, then they must be farther away from the sun than light objects are.