On many places it is explained quite well: You use a capital letter for wind directions when that indicates a specific place.

Eg. "I live in the North"

But a small letter, when it goes together with a specific place.

Eg. "I live in the northern province"..

But what about "It has a latitude of X degrees n/North of the equator"?

  • If you aren't asking about whether to use x vs X then please edit the question title and the bolded sentence so that all x's and X's are shown with the same capitalization. – James Waldby - jwpat7 May 29 '13 at 23:21
  • Yes, that's what I'm asking. What to use? And preferably also why that's the case. – Sironsse May 30 '13 at 4:15

When you mean the northern part of a country, a region or the world, you can say the north or the North.

Birds are migrating from the north.

Houses are less expensive in the North than in the South.

Looking at the Corpus of the contemporary American English, I find 7 sentences containing a phrase similar to "12 degrees north of the equator"; in all of them north is not written capitalized, but one of them uses Equator instead of equator.

The Arecibo Observatory owes its existence largely to Puerto Rico's political status as a U.S. Commonwealth, and to its geographic position only 17 degrees north of the Equator.

Northern is an adjective, and it is not written capitalized, except when a word would be written capitalized, or when it is part of an official name, for example in Northern Ireland.

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