# NavList:

## A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

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Re: Averaging
From: Bill B
Date: 2004 Oct 19, 15:13 -0500

```> Now, for the purpose of checking consistency, some people will find it easier
> to
> sketch out the altitude versus time diagram in the manner Peter describes,
> rather than to inspect the raw numbers. Nothing wrong with that. But then
> inevitably the idea crops up that a best fitted line would give us the perfect
> answer to what sextant altitude to use for a chosen time. This is not so.

Agreed.

A theoretical question to help me establish a baseline of sorts in my mind
on treating a nonlinear function as linear before digesting Herb's
reasoning.

Assume an error free sextant and operator.

Assume the observed altitude of the sun is anywhere between 30 and 70
degrees.  Altitudes and latitudes that fit the above parameters are dealers
choice.

Five observations of the sun are taken over a four-minute period and an
averaged Ho and time are computed.

An observation at the average time computed above is made.

In the worst case scenario, what would be the difference between the
averaged Ho and an Ho from from an observation taken at the average time
used?

Thanks

Bill

```
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