New research has jumped to the conclusion that the Vikings were probably sailing to Greenland when they arrived in Canada by error. The mysterious crystal called “sunstones” used to guide them at the time, and it looks like someone was not watching his sunlight correctly.
Sunstones the crystals that split the passing of light through them would have been a great way to navigate at the time. In fact, in most cases it would have been very successful, this is shown by how the Vikings made it to Paris and even into Egypt. Unfortunately, though, the discovery of Canada was maybe not such a celebration – it may just have been a case of going left when you should have gone right. Basically, the way Sunstones allowed the Vikings to stay on course was that they allowed them to see the position of the sun even on cloudy days.
Remember that the Vikings never did use any other tool for sea navigation and had no knowledge of the magnetic compass.
Researchers have been running constant simulations for sailing from Norway to Greenland, only by sun navigation. These have led them to believe that any Viking navigator that did not look at the sun and change their course at least every 3 hours would have potentially missed Greenland completely. As if they did not look at the sun regular enough to chart their due west course, then they will have drifted south.
This meant if they did not die at sea, then they would have reached the coast of Canada. There has been proof of archaeological findings to show the Vikings were present in North American long before Columbus, yet no one knows if this was a discovery or an accident due to searching for previous Greenland colonies.
Researchers believe that a mistake is more likely the answer. This is because even though legends are told of these sunstones, there is little to none documented proof of Vikings having many of them. More historians believe they used nonmagnetic sun compasses to navigate the seas. And the North Atlantic with its prone cloudy weather would have been a challenge!