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    Re: BBC - A History of Navigation
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2007 Oct 07, 00:29 -0400

    George H:
    "As for the Great Bear, its stars are in the wrong positions, completely
    jumbled about."
    
    Nope. Tain't so. Ursa Major (the Great Bear), as well as Ursa Minor, Draco,
    and Cepheus are all portrayed about right, in the correct relative
    locations, shapes, and sizes. You don't see most of the stars of the Great
    Bear because they're simply off the map (the southern limit as drawn is
    about 57 or 58 degrees declination). Of the bright ones, only Alpha UMa
    should be present, and in fact, it's in just about the right spot. On the
    other hand, the stars of Cassiopeia are missing. It looks like the animator
    ran out of time or money when he got to that part of the star chart, ranging
    from 0h RA to 8h RA. But I don't see that it matters anyway. The diagram and
    the animation that follows make their small point: the circumpolar stars go
    round and round Polaris which remains basically motionless.
    
    I think you put far too much energy into attacking this simple little Flash
    animation. It's just a beginner's introduction to the 18th century history
    of navigation. There are a number of minor editing errors (e.g. "and is
    itself a part" should have been "which is itself a part"), but it really
    doesn't affect the educational effectiveness, which is rather minimal
    anyway, no matter how perfectly it is rendered. This animation was just a
    small part of the "online content" that accompanied that rather annoying
    "reality show" re-enactment of part of Cook's voyage called "The Ship" that
    was filmed back in 2001 which explains its over-emphasis on James Cook. I
    assume it's been available online for some five years.
    
    By the way, you recently recommended a diagram for the Wikipedia lunar
    distance page. And it's a nice diagram, but the stars in that diagram are
    "jumbled about" even more so than they are in the BBC Flash animation. I
    don't think it's a serious flaw there. Do you? I ask because if you're going
    to "play critic", it's important to be even-handed.
    
     -FER
    
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