Science: Journey info Wonder

Six days after the three-caravel fleet eased west from the Canary Islands, the scientific mysteries of a strange watery world began to crop up. On Sept. 13 the compass needles pointed 3½° west of the North Star. Christopher Columbus and his jittery mariners had never before seen this westerly shift. But Columbus guessed an explanation: the North Star moves.* This was a notable contribution to the science of navigation and it was the expedition's first triumph over the mysteries that dogged the voyage.

Columbus sailed 458 years ago into more new things than a New World. In the current issue of Natural...

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