What This Constellation Tells Us About Jack Sparrow's Quest

The first trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is out, and it looks like Jack Sparrow’s getting some help from the heavens to save his skin again.

The trailer, and the left-side of the poster’s skull logo, feature a unique constellation that looks an awful lot like the Trident of Poseidon. That’s the very thing Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is trying to find so that he can control the seas and stop all the pirate ghosts who are trying to send him to Davy Jones’s locker. All signs point to the constellation leading Jack and his hearty band of scoundrels to the trident’s location, meaning star navigation will likely play a role in the film.

This isn’t the first time that Pirates of the Caribbean films have used celestial mapping to point the way to their treasure, though this latest version will hopefully make more logical sense. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End featured the Mao Kun Map, a magical artifact that equally relied on navigation and literal blind luck to get Will Tanner and company to the Land of the Dead.

Jack Sparrow, a pirate through and through, has traditionally used maps, his trusty compass or a snarky one-liner to guide him to his latest conquest. While those were pretty common tools of the trade for 18th century pirates, star navigation was also a widely used resource, particularly when sailing open waters. Tools like the Astrolabe, which measured latitude through the stars, and the Noctural, which helped them discover the time, were popular with navigators. Lots of the time, they just looked up, saw the constellations and figured out where the heck they were.

Typically, navigators relied on the Pole Star when sailing north of the equator, and the Southern Cross constellation when navigating the Southern Hemisphere. Sadly, the teaser trailer didn’t give us enough of a specific look at the stars to determine where the movie will take place. Considering the fact that we get a peek at Isla de Muerta, and the fact that they’re Caribbean-based pirates, things will probably take in the northern half of the globe.

Let’s just hope they made the night sky so otherworldly that Neil deGrasse Tyson has to step in cry inaccuracies, like he did with James Cameron’s Titanic, prompting the filmmaker to digitally fix the stars to match the ship’s real location.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales comes out May 26, 2017. You can watch the trailer below.

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