A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: David Pike
Date: 2015 Aug 7, 14:50 -0700
Richard You wrote "Can anyone suggest a sort of Celestial Navigation for Dummies, a really simple beginner's introduction?"
For something quick and easy to read for around £10, you can't go far wrong buying "Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen" (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Celestial-Navigation-Yachtsmen-Mary-Blewitt/dp/1408132125 ) by Mary Blewitt (Obit. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1366813/Mary-Pera.html), which will teach you basic celestial and give you worked examples in 59 A5 pages using relevant pages from the Nautical Almanac and AP3270 (sight Reduction Tables for Air Navigation). These were developed and used by Allied Air Forces during WW2 (I believe) and were quickly latched onto by many yacht navigators soon afterwards as an easily followed method of using celestial navigation.
For something slightly more historical, you might try looking on eBay for a SH copy of the 1941 edition of "AP1234 Volume 1 Air Navigation" written by then Sqn Ldr (later Gp Capt) Dickie Richardson. This classic update, known as the Alice in Wonderland edition, because every chapter starts with a quotation from Alice in Wonderland or The Hunting of the Snark, was specially introduced when it was realised that Air Navigation would no longer be the confined to a few specialised Pilot Navigators but would need to be taught to tens of thousands of voluteers straight off the street. Therefore, it had to be relatively simple to understand. The edition was translated into several languages including German for inspection by the Luftwaffe, the only bits which proved difficult to translate being the meaning of being the quotations from Lewis Carroll. The Chapter you should read is Chapter VII Astronomical Navigation (This probably why RAF Navigators call the subject Astro while USAF Navigators call it Celestial). The starting quote is "Why", said the Dodo, "the best way to explain it is to do it.", which is very true. They could have added "again and again" Dave