Look for the North Star.
At night, in the northern hemisphere, look for Polaris. It is located in the handle of the Little Dipper.
Looking at Polaris, you will be facing North.
The North Star is always in the same direction in the night sky, so once you can easily find it you will always know which direction is north.
At night, you can find the North Star using the Big Dipper as well.
The Big Dipper is shaped like a ladle with a handle and a cup. Draw an imaginary line from the two stars that make up the right side, or the outside edge of the cup, of the Big Dipper.
Draw it out several hand-lengths from the Big Dipper.
The direction from the end of these hand-lengths is roughly true north.
As another way to find the North Star is to learn to identify the five stars that make the “W” shape in Cassiopeia.
It is located directly above the North Star, on the opposite side of the Big Dipper.
In the southern hemisphere, you can find the Southern Cross constellation in the night sky to find south.
Get two long sticks.
One should be slightly longer than the other. If you can’t locate Polaris, you can line up any star in the sky using the tips of two sticks.
You can track the motion of the star across the sky to find out which direction you are facing.
Find a flat, open area on the ground.
You will need enough space to stand and place the sticks a couple feet apart. Be sure you pick a spot that has a good view of the night sky.
Push the sticks into the ground a few feet apart. Be sure both sticks are standing straight up.
Push the shorter stick in the ground first.
Line up a star in the sky.
Place the taller stick in the ground so the tip lines up in a straight line with the first stick and the star in the sky.
Check back after 15 or 20 minutes. Look over the tips of the sticks again and note the changed location of the star.
If the star moved left, you are looking north.
If the star shifted to the right, you are facing south.
If the star is higher, you are looking east.
If the star moved down, you are facing west.
The star will likely have moved in a combination of directions, like up and to the right. So, you will need to estimate your southeast direction by how much the star moved in each direction.