Classes in celestial navigation and related topics
Celestial Navigation Classes: Spring 2017Many new class options and opportunities. All classes and workshops are held at the Treworgy Planetarium at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut. Most workshops meet Saturday and Sunday, some are also offered on weeknights.
Easy Introductory Celestial Navigation
Offered three times this Spring: March 4-5 [DONE], May 6-7 [DONE], June 10-11.
Learn how to shoot the Sun at Noon and how to use the Sun and stars as a compass in traditional wayfinding. Ideal for beginners interested in marine celestial navigation as well as long-distance hikers and other wayfinders. more...
Modern Celestial Navigation
Offered three times this Spring: March 18-19 [DONE], May 16,17,18 [DONE], June 17-18.
Practical celestial navigation for the 21st century. How to use modern sextants to determine exact latitude and longitude using the Sun and stars anywhere on Earth, analyzing sights with modern tools like calculators and software apps. more...
Traditional Celestial Navigation using HO249
May 27-28, 2017.A workshop covering the time-honored "Intercept Method" using standard, traditional sight reduction tables. Pure paper and pencil celestial navigation as practiced at the end of the 20th century. more...
Advanced Modern Celestial Navigation
June 3-4, 2017.A workshop in advanced and exotic methods of celestial navigation from spherical trigonometry fundamentals to artificial satellite navigation. more...
Celestial Navigation: 19th Century Methods
Offered twice this Spring: April 1-2 [DONE], June 13,14,15.Real celestial navigation from the historical perspective of the Age of Sail. Hands-on sextant observationa with historical instruments and historical pencil and paper calculations, just as it was done aboard American sailing vessels in the late 19th century. more...
A frequently asked question:"They all sound good - which class should I take?"
Of the various introductory classes above, if you're completely new to the subject or if you're looking for something with minimal math (there's always some math in celestial navigation), then try our Easy Introductory workshop. If you're interested in history, old logbooks, and perhaps a bit more interested in mathematical details, too, then sign up for the 19th Century Methods class. If you're more practically oriented, more pragmatic, not much interested in historical details, and mostly looking for a last-resort backup or a cross-check of your GPS, then sign up for the Modern Celestial class. Finally, if you're looking for pure paper and pencil methods closest to the standard techniques taught a generation ago, then try our Traditional Celestial class. All of these will give you real, usable navigational skills and methods, though naturally the Easy Introductory class provides more basic capabilities. While each of these classes stands on its own, they also make a nice series curriculum, providing an overview of celestial navigation in different styles and eras.
15 posted. 2 waiting approval.
Do you offer celestial nav courses for sailors?
Also, the class was made more enjoyable through discussions with my other classmates during, and after the class had ended! You know a class is worthwhile when the learning continues outside of the classroom.
Philip M. Sadler, Ed.D.
F.W. Wright Senior Lecturer in Celestial Navigation
Harvard University Astronomy Department
Samuel S. Caldwell MD
Saratoga Springs, NY
I am the author of a new release book, "Riding the Wild Ocean," a collection of my wildest adventures in small boats under twenty feet in length from Cape Cod to the Dry Tortugas. Although my craft is too small and unstable a platform for practical use of a sextant, my extensive experience sailing small boats on the open water enabled me to recognize the great extent to which Frank Reed's instruction reflects the wisdom of a long experienced and master seaman. I can confidently recommend any of his courses based on my delightful experience with this skilled and engaging educator.
Paul S. Krantz, Jr.
I would appreciate talking to your people if you have done this, to discuss things like determining "dip" in a theater where the sextant user is actually BELOW the projected horizon rather than above a true horizon outside.
Another issue is that the altitude of a celestial object projected on the theater's dome would vary from one seat to another inside the theater. I would love to discuss how you have managed this.
You both bring up a fantastic idea that has been approached and (to some extent) solved before. Specifically for the U.S. lunar space program at the Morehead planetarium in NC.
Frank: you excellently bring up dome parallax, but isn't there going to be at least one point, or small area (near center of dome sphere, focal point of the dome) where the parallax wouldn't be nearly as significant? I'd assume this may require a platform / scissor lift etc and might not always be practical, dependent on the type of star projection system in the planetarium selected. I'd also guess the use of a bubble horizon would be necessary too.
Like Bob, I am also very interested in this subject with a local planetarium interested in the subject, and it doesn't seem to have a well published solution ;)
Your collective thoughts? Are there any good resources available on the subject?
I plan on signing up for the Modern Celestial Navigation Course offered in March and possibly the intermediate course as well. Is it recommended to purchase a sextant prior to the course, if so where would one purchase this instrument?
You don't need to purchase a sextant in advance, but if you have one, yes, bring it along. If you would like to acquire a relatively inexpensive, functional sextant, I would suggest looking for a lightly-used Davis plastic sextant. These turn up fairly often on eBay for $100 or less. They're real sextants. You can cross an ocean with one. They're somewhat less accurate than a proper metal instrument, but it's not a major concern. And you can always upgrade later.
Upcoming Events in 2017
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© Copyright 2016, Frank Reed, Clockwork Mapping, Conanicut Island USA.