A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2020 Mar 31, 11:17 -0700
Although Mystic Seaport Museum has unfortunately been forced to cancel on-site classes and workshops and has now released almost all of its staff, my class that was scheduled for this coming weekend, "Celestial Navigation in the Age of Sail", will be offered as a high-quality virtual workshop next week.
We will meet in three three-hour sessions April 7, 8, and 9 using Zoom web conferencing. Each daily session will be offered twice, once from 12:00 noon - 3:00pm EDT (Eastern US time) and then again from 6:00pm - 9:00pm EDT to give you schedule options and also to serve participants joining from other time zones. I will leave it to you to do time conversions but just to double-check your work: 12:00 noon EDT is 16:00 UT and 6:00pm EDT is 22:00 UT. If you want, you're welcome to mix and match based on your daily schedule. You could attend Tuesday's early session and then Wednesday and Thursday later sessions, for example. Or attend the early sessions all three days. In fact, if you want a detailed review every day, you could attend the early and lurk in the later session each day (at no extra cost beyond the basic registration fee). Both sessions will be live.
This online workshop will happen. I guarantee that as much as I can guarantee anything "in these uncertain times". I already have the required minimum number registered. Scared of the tech of an online workshop? Don't worry: it's dirt simple, and I will run a one-hour practice session a day or two before the workshop.
To remind you, here's a general description of the workshop:
Celestial Navigation in the Age of Sail
A fast-paced introductory workshop in the history and the actual techniques of celestial navigation as it was practiced aboard American vessels in the Age of Sail. We'll learn how to take sights and work calculations, especially as done aboard Mystic Seaport Museum's premier exhibit vessel, the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan. Examining original logbooks and navigational calculations from its voyages, we'll apply these same methods to modern navigation.
In this class, we'll learn how to use and adjust sextants and octants, both historical instruments and their modern equivalents, and we'll learn the classic method of finding latitude by "Noon Sun". We'll also cover in detail the math of the "time sight" for finding longitude. Throughout, we will compare what we're doing with actual logbook entries and calculations in the collections of Mystic Seaport, bringing historical documents to life.
This is real navigation, not just a class "about" navigation. Fast and intense, students who complete this class will have the basic celestial navigation skills to cross any ocean using the Sun, a sextant, and a few other simple tools, drawn directly from the 19th century.
Taught by Frank Reed, a gifted teacher and a recent guest expert in celestial navigation on Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk science talk show on The National Geographic Channel.
Note that we'll handle the lack of actual sextant practice as if it's a rainy day. With in-person classes, in the event of rain, I guarantee all students the opportunity to meet me for sight practice at a future date, during another class or separately scheduled. The same applies to online web-based workshops. When the world gets back to normal, we'll get together on a nice sunny day here by the Atlantic Ocean and have fun with sextant sights!
If you're a little worried about using online tools, I will be running a practice session for about an hour a day or two in advance. Details in a few days.