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Classes in celestial navigation and related topics

Micrometer sextant Circumpolar stars and Polaris for latitude Dennis DiCicco's famous analemma time-lapse Ship and horizon A variation on the Equation of Time A Plath sextant Sights around Local Apparent Noon Sights at Beavertail on Conanicut Island

Easy Introductory Celestial Navigation

FALL 2018: Saturday & Sunday, Sep. 29-30, 10:00am - 4:00pm both days

An easy introduction to the basic principles of celestial navigation from a modern perspective designed for yachstmen and recreational boaters as well as long-distance hikers, cross-country explorers, and other wayfinders. Also appropriate for anyone interested in a quick overview of the science of celestial navigation.

This class covers the classic, time-honored method of finding latitude by Noon Sun and longitude by observations before and after noon (including frequently neglected corrections for motion of the observer). We'll also learn how to use the Sun and stars as an accurate compass: how to determine direction using the belt of Orion, Polaris, and other stars. We'll explore a diverse collection of modern celestial tricks and cross-checks to validate your electronic navigation.

Weather permitting, class participants will have opportunities to experiment with sextant observations. Taught by Frank Reed, a gifted teacher and one of the world's leading experts in celestial navigation.



6 posted.

Amy Reifsnyder wrote: 6/22/2013
Thoroughly enjoyed the Celestial Nav class at Mystic Seaport. Very clear instruction, with patience and broad depth of understanding for all in attendance.
I highly recommend any of Frank's classes and workshops, since the guy knows what he's talking about, and he can explain it to folks with (or without) all kinds of math and physics backgrounds.

Plus, it's just plain fun to realize that all you have to do to find out where you are in the universe is "look up". Now that's just cool.
Dr. Russell D. Sampson wrote: 6/22/2013
I took Frank's 19th Century Celestial Navigation class in April 2013 and really enjoyed it. Not only was the class interesting but my fellow classmates were too; a retired skipper of a ballistic missile sub, the son of the fellow who invented GPS, a teacher, a captain of a Panamax container ship and a fellow who crossed the Atlantic solo - twice!

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
Wickware Planetarium
Eastern Connecticut State University
Sarah Ilsley wrote: 6/22/2013
I also took Frank's 19th Century Celestial navigation class. The instruction was thorough and I learned much more than I expected. Not only the techniques of celestial navigation, but a rich account of it's history as well. We had plenty of time to practice using sextants ourselves, and Frank did his best to make sure that each of us understood what he was teaching. He really knows his stuff!!

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 wrote: 6/22/2013
What a joyful and stimulating experience to enroll in Frank Reed's class, Celestial Navigation: 19th Century Methods. Frank is a skillful and engaging teacher, able to draw students into this fascinating subject, whether they be novice or experienced. His depth of knowledge is tremendous. Participants get a real taste of what it was like to be aboard a sailing ship of the day. I learned much to enliven my own teaching and decode 19th century ship's logs. It is a rare experience, indeed, to have so much thoughtfulness, enthusiasm, and fun packed into two days. This is the way to learn!

Philip M. Sadler, Ed.D.
F.W. Wright Senior Lecturer in Celestial Navigation
Harvard University Astronomy Department
Cambridge, MA
Samuel S. Caldwell MD wrote: 6/25/2013
I thoroughly enjoyed Frank's first class in celestial navigation held at Mystic Seaport, and hope to be back for more.

Samuel S. Caldwell MD
Saratoga Springs, NY
Andrew Seligman wrote: 9/16/2013
I took Franks basic class at Mystic seaport. Frank is a fantastic instructor. He made the noon-sight and polaris sight reduction really easy!

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Upcoming Events

  • Nov. 9-10:
    Modern Celestial Navigation
    Note: this session has been postponed a few days andd was formerly an evening session. Now scheduled for Friday and Saturday, this session will meet 10am-4pm both days.

Other Events

  • Dec. 3, 2017:
    StarTalk Television
  • Nov. 3-5, 2017 (done):
    Navigation Symposium
  • Private Tutorials: Anytime.
  • Contact Us