Classes in celestial navigation and related topics
About me, Frank ReedI teach all of the classes in celestial navigation presently offered by ReedNavigation. I have been teaching celestial navigation on a casual basis for decades, but I decided to make a formal business out of it in 2009. My interest in celestial extends back to my first class in the subject in 1978 at the age of 15. That class was offered by the "Seaport Planetarium", now the Treworgy Planetarium, at Mystic Seaport and was taught by Don Treworgy himself. I am fluent in nearly every technique and tool in celestial navigation from ancient historical methods to the most modern computer-based applications, and I am one of the world's leading experts in the topic of lunars.
Head Cartographer, Centennia Historical Atlas
The principal focus of my business, Clockwork Mapping (formerly Centennia Software), is the development and marketing of the Centennia Historical Atlas. The Centennia Atlas was, for over fifteen years, required course material for all students at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD. Please visit HistoricalAtlas.com to learn more.
Invited Whaleship Voyager
Celestial navigation expert on the 38th Voyage of Mystic Seaport's 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan, July 2014. Demonstrated historical celestial navigation techniques at sea off the coast of Massachusetts. Organized and operated 38Talk, an online community for discussions among Voyagers and others related to the 38th Voyage. Featured guest in live webcast from the deck of the Charles W. Morgan as we sailed among the whales on Stellwagen Bank north of Cape Cod, July 2014. I discussed the basics of "nautical astronomy" for an introductory audience: watch the video. I also appeared briefly on the CBS Evening News in their coverage of the 38th Voyage.
Gravitation and Physics
I am an expert in gravitational physics including topics ranging from theoretical general relativity to practical tidal analysis. My thesis at Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT, 1984) was awarded High Honors, and I was also the winner of the Sherman Prize in Mathematics and the Bertman Prize in Physics. Read an article about me from Physics World magazine in their Once a Physicist column.
Leap Second Conference
In October 2011, I presented a paper on celestial navigation and the issue of "leap seconds" at the conference on "Decoupling Civil Timekeeping from Earth Rotation" hosted at the headquarters of AGI near Philadelphia. I was the "small fry" non-academic among the world's experts in positional astronomy and the science of time-keeping including Dennis McCarthy, George Kaplan, and P. Kenneth Seidelmann among others. Neil deGrasse Tyson, television personality, host of the new Cosmos, and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, also joined us as an interested guest. Here's a photo of us:
I was a featured guest interviewed on Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalkRadio program which airs on several stations in New York City and other cities and also can be heard over the Internet: StarTalkRadio: Time Lords and the Science of Keeping Time (to listen to my contributions, go to time stamps 12:09-14:50 and 24:20-25:35).
Published article "Celestial Navigation and UTC"
On the significance of changes in 'leap second' procedures and its potential impact on traditional celestial navigation. Presented at conference in Exton, PA. October, 2011. Published in the Journal of the American Astronautical Society, 2012. Read the preprint.
Interview on NPR's "Here and Now"
Discussing the future of celestial navigation and the recent announcement that some basic instruction in celestial navigation will once again be part of the curriculum at the US Naval Academy. October 2015. Listen here.
"After Longitude", National Maritime Museum
In March 2012, I delivered two presentations on lunars at the "After Longitude" conference at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, UK (a few hundred yards from the Prime Meridian). One paper focused on the role of lunars in American commercial dominance in the Pacific in the 19th century, especially aboard whaling vessels. The second paper "Lunars in the Space Age" focused on modern use of lunars for position-finding in space. Lunars were shot during Apollo missions to the Moon, especially on the flight of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to reach lunar orbit.
Susan P. Howell Memorial Lecture
In June 2004, I gave the Susan P. Howell Memorial Lecture on the topic of Lunars focusing on the use of lunars aboard the Boston trading vessel Reaper in 1809-1810. The logbook of this voyage is in the research collection at Mystic Seaport.
I have organized "Navigation Weekend" conferences in 2006, 2008, 2010 bringing together navigation enthusiasts, scholars in the history of astronomy, and practical navigators to the Treworgy Planetarium at Mystic Seaport. I also did numerous presentations of my own at these conferences on lunars, the history of the Nautical Almanac, and other topics.
Experience at Mystic Seaport
Though I am not on staff now, I've been employed by Mystic Seaport directly several times over the past couple of decades. I have presented over 3000 planetarium lectures there primarily focused on topics in celestial navigation.
Management of NavList
I manage NavList, a community devoted to the history, modern practice, and future of celestial navigation and other forms of traditional position-finding. NavList began as an online community and our message boards continue as, by far, the most active arena for online discussions on these topics.
Please look for me on Facebook and feel free to join our small celestial navigation Facebook group. It's a nice place for casual, light discussions, but NavList is where the real action happens.
- By email or phone
© Copyright 2016, Frank Reed, Clockwork Mapping, Conanicut Island USA.