Classes in celestial navigation and related topics
Navigation Education Partnership Opportunities
Currently all of our classes are hosted in partnership with the Treworgy Planetarium at Mystic Seaport Museum. Classes are also held privately and have been offered both in Chicago (where I lived for 25 years) and in southern New England. We are actively seeking other partner institutions: museums, universities, schools, maritime academies, marinas, yacht clubs and other institutions. There's good money in this for both sides. Contact us for details.
The requirements for hosting our classes are simple:
A contacts list
We publicize all classes, but this will work best if you, as a partner institution, can reach out to your members or other list of contacts. Publicize the class and bring in students.
A classroom or meeting space
Any classroom or common meeting space with seating for up to 25 people. Seating at tables is normally required since celestial navigation involves a fair amount of "paper work" and occasionally plotting.
Digital projection equipment
Since our classes involve many visuals, we require an ordinary digital projector or a large format flat-screen television or monitor for the full duration of any class. If your institution can't provide a projector or monitor, please let us know and we can make other arrangements.
As a partnership, we bring expertise and all the tools needed to teach celestial navigation. Students will have the opportunity to practice sights using sextants and other instruments owned by ReedNavigation and we provide all visuals and printed tables and manuals (in some cases, a "lab fee" may apply).
Lieutenant, USN sep.
Frank taught an incredible class on celestial navigation that brought me from novice to some solid understanding of sextants, their history and most importantly their use as a aid to seeing the sea...and knowing where you are on this planet!
Hands on, wealth of knowledge, great resources at Mystic Seaport, he really covered a lot of ground! There was a lot of math but unlike in my youth, I was on the edge of my seat to soak up knowledge!! Frank made it relatable and real. The sextant which is such an iconic tool of the sea, was demystified. By the end of class i felt comfortable with it. I had mastered how it worked, how to read it and how to adjust it to insure its accuracy.
I came away with all of the cheat sheets and understandings of equations and concepts that breathe the life into what you capture through your sextant sightings.
I would highly recommend Frank and believe the Mystic Seaport with its planetarium, an ideal setting for my class with him discovering this timeless tool of the sea.
Frank did a great job keeping the class interesting with visual aids, both on screen and out on the seaport grounds. Frank had also noticed i was interested in the Draken. This is the Viking ship which had made its voyage across the Atlantic and up and down the east coast, resting for winter in Mystic as the troops regroup, gathering resources for another ocean voyage. He took extra time to talk about and show with polarized film the concept of the "Viking Sun Stone" which is a suspected navigational aide the Vikings may have used to traverse the globe as they had.
All in all i would highly recommend this class to any and all folks interested in learning about navigation and sextants. Informative and digestible, but most of all useful to the point where i am comfortable with the instrument and have the formulas needed to continuing to set my sights on the horizon!!
I look forward to more classes to learn more from Frank and strengthen my understandings of celestial navigation!
Several things stand out. The course material is presented in a balanced way, with a well thought mixture of detailed calculation, broken up by historical, factual, and hands-on aspects. This type of teaching is well suited to most, as it provides periods of more intense reasoning with relaxation and humor. Anyone can walk away with new-found knowledge. I also feel that the approach of understanding historical context and a simple practical approach is unique. It has gone a great way toward clearing up a lot of my preconceived ideas and confusions resulting from the many contradictory or esoteric approaches found in various volumes or on the internet.
Very simply, I learned a lot and it went a long way toward clearing up a mess. I was fascinated the whole time. The courses and NavList provide the tools to keep learning even after the course is over. I left able to measure what I see with a more calibrated eye for real world application, and a greater appreciation of human history. I can strongly recommend these classes for the curious, the fascinated, the historian, the hardcore navigator, or the armchair one. There is something in them for all.
I also found the NavList community to be helpful and encouraging as my journey continues. I hope I can undertake even more material in additional courses in the future.
"There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats" (Kenneth Grahame, from the "Wind in the Willows")
The class was also a great resource for my teaching and my own research interests such as the visibility of celestial objects in the daytime (Jupiter and Venus) and the effects of astronomical refraction near the horizon. I hope to take more workshops with Frank.
Dr. Russell D. Sampson
Eastern Connecticut State University
Philip M. Sadler, Ed.D.
F.W. Wright Senior Lecturer in Celestial Navigation
Harvard University Astronomy Department
- Office Hours: Online,
- Modern Celestial ONE:
Oct 10,11: Atlantic session OR
Oct 13,14,15: Pacific session
- Modern Celestial TWO:
Oct 17,18: Atlantic session OR
Oct 19,20,21: Pacific session
- Celestial Age of Sail:
Oct 24,25: Atlantic session OR
Oct 26,27,28: Pacific session
Oct 31,Nov 1: Atlantic session
(no Pacific session)
© Copyright 2020, Frank Reed, Clockwork Mapping, Conanicut Island USA.