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    Re: Celestial Navigation in the Movies
    From: David Pike
    Date: 2021 Feb 2, 09:39 -0800


    Just seen few scenes from the Norwegian 2019 film "Amundsen". There are several scenes with sextants. I suspect the actual sextant shown is fake: it is the drum-sextant, it has the sight tube as a half-binocular, i.e. it looks too "tamaya"ish to be used in 1911. Am I wrong? Warm regards, Tony 60°N 30°E

    If you mean the South Polar Expedition, you need to examine the photo here
      Amundsen's original South Pole StationAmundsen's original South Pole Station . Unfortunately, you can’t see much because of the mittens.  There’s some debate over whether the photograph was taken at the exact pole or on the way to the pole.  They appear to be using a mirror AH, which Amundsen took as a stand-by in case the mercury for his prime AH froze, which it did not.  It’s shown better here amundsen-expedition-proving-themselves-at-the-south-pole-by-use-of-picture-id516126526 (1024×675) (gettyimages.com) .  It’s difficult to see how anyone could have twiddled anything with mittens on.  If they knew what 32' looked like they might have been able to set close and estimate, then set again.  Close to the pole, the Sun's altitude wouldn't have changed much, just wrack around the horizon changing with distance off 90S and declination.  At the exact pole, Hinks would suggest it changed only slowly with time, because P and Z are coincident and PX changes only slowly.  It’s also interesting that both Getty Images and Alamy are claiming this photo as their own.  I’m not sure how they can do that.  As has been said many times before, movies are for entertainment, not to relate exact history.  DaveP   

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