How To Calculate Magnetic Bearing

How To Calculate Magnetic Bearing

Magnetic bearing is an essential aspect of navigation, especially in the aviation industry. It refers to the angle between magnetic north and a particular direction, measured clockwise. Knowing how to calculate magnetic bearing is essential in navigation to ensure that pilots and seafarers can accurately navigate their vessels.

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Table
  1. Why Calculate Magnetic Bearing?
  2. How to Calculate Magnetic Bearing
    1. Step 1: Determine True North
    2. Step 2: Determine Magnetic North
    3. Step 3: Calculate the Magnetic Variation
    4. Step 4: Determine the Magnetic Bearing
  3. Final Thoughts

Why Calculate Magnetic Bearing?

Magnetic bearing measurement is vital for navigation, especially in areas where compass errors can occur. It is because a compass only points to the magnetic field, which is not always aligned with the true north. From any given starting point, the easiest way to navigate to a particular destination is by calculating the magnetic bearing angle.

How to Calculate Magnetic Bearing

Calculating magnetic bearing is a relatively easy process. The following steps will guide you in performing magnetic bearing calculations:

Step 1: Determine True North

The first step is to determine the true north. This can be achieved by using a chart, heading indicator, or a GPS. It is also possible to calculate true north using the sun or the North Star in the northern hemisphere.

Step 2: Determine Magnetic North

Once you have determined true north, you can then proceed to determine magnetic north. Magnetic north varies depending on the location and time, and it is essential to use updated charts, maps, or software to obtain accurate magnetic variation information.

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Step 3: Calculate the Magnetic Variation

The magnetic variation is the angle between true north and magnetic north. It can be calculated by subtracting magnetic north from true north. If magnetic north is to the east of true north, the magnetic variation is called an easterly variation, and if it is to the west, it is called a westerly variation.

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Step 4: Determine the Magnetic Bearing

Once the magnetic variation is determined, you can then calculate the magnetic bearing by adding or subtracting the magnetic variation from the true bearing or heading. For example, if the true bearing is 080 degrees, and the magnetic variation is 10 degrees west, the magnetic bearing will be 070 degrees.

Final Thoughts

The ability to calculate magnetic bearing is essential in navigating through the seas and skies accurately. Although the process may seem complicated, it is relatively easy to perform with the right tools and information. Remember always to use updated charts, maps, or software and to consider the influence of local magnetic anomalies when performing magnetic bearing calculations.

Happy navigating!

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