A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Robert H. van Gent
Date: 2019 Mar 18, 09:23 +0000
Bessel’s original papers on lunar distances are here (click on the GIF’s)
https://www.e-rara.ch/zut/content/titleinfo/4430186 (vol. II, pp. 266-307)
From: NavList@fer3.com <NavList@fer3.com>
On Behalf Of Roger W. Sinnott
Sent: Mon 18 March 2019 1:16
To: Gent, R.H. van (Rob) <R.H.vanGent@uu.nl>
Subject: [NavList] Bessel's solution of lunar distances
In Wm. Chauvenet's Manual of Spherical and Practical Astronomy, Vol. 1, there is a tantalizing footnote in the section on lunar distances (see page 395 of the Dover edition):
"Astron. Nach. Vol. X. No. 218, and Astron. Untersuchungen, Vol. II. Bessel's method requires a different form of lunar Ephemeris from that adopted in our Nautical Almanacs. But even with the Ephemeris arranged as he proposes, the computation is not so brief as the approximative method here given, and its superiority in respect of precision is so slight as to give it no important practical advantage. It is, however, the only theoretically exact solution that has been given, and might still come into use if the measurement of the distance could be rendered much more precise than is now possible with instruments of reflection."
Has anyone tried Bessel's method, or even seen what it involves? From what Chauvenet says, it would seem to be tailor-made for computer programming.