A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Jim Thompson
Date: 2004 Feb 19, 14:36 -0400
Outgoing mail scanned by Norton Antivirus
Subject: A plea for help....
Forgive the intrusion, but I am a writer researching a novel about the 18C Royal Navy .
I wonder if you could help? I have come across a reference to an “azimuth compass” on a voyage of exploration in 1790. Most sites seem to refer loosely to an azimuth compass as being simply one which marks the card in degrees rather than rhumb-lines, but I suspect there is more to it than that. The following definition from the National Maritime Museum seems to bear this out:
“The azimuth compass was a step up from the standard mariners’ compass. These compasses incorporated a means of aligning the compass with a celestial body such as the Sun or the Pole star. The reading from this alignment would then give another reading for north which could be compared with that given by the compass needle thus allowing the variation to be easily read.”
Can you please tell me:
- If the above definition is broadly accurate?
- If so, I take it that the azimuth compass would be carried aboard separately from the steering compass?
- Hand-held like a sextant?
I would be hugely grateful for any light you can throw on this, as it’s always satisfying to get things right.