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    Re: Celestial Navigation on TV
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2009 Oct 28, 20:29 -0700

    Brad, you wrote:
    "Of course, the chart is a blur but based upon the cluster of stars at 
    the center, it could very well be the northern hemisphere."
    You're right. You have to squint at it. Right near the bottom of the star 
    chart, you can make out the square of Pegasus. So that's 0h Right Ascension 
    and sure enough the ecliptic reaches the edge of the star chart right there 
    so the outer edge must be 0 deg Declination. Working around 
    counter-clockwise, I can find Deneb and Vega, Arcturus, Regulus and the 
    sickle, Castor and Pollux just about the ecliptic near 6h R.A. and a few 
    others. It's a stereographic projection apparently. So what about the 
    contestant asked to name ten Navigational Stars? He listed "Canopus, Polaris, 
    and Vegas". Canopus is out - wrong hemisphere. And Vegas... That's the 
    northern hemisphere, yes, but you gotta be kidding me! No "s". And finally, 
    should we trip him up over Polaris? Sure, why not. While Polaris is, of 
    course, used for navigation and it's smack dab in the middle of the northern 
    hemisphere of the celestial sphere, it is NOT on the list of Navigation Stars 
    which any experienced navigator should know. So he's gets a zero. Ha!
    And what was that television show? Well, the contestant's name was "Will 
    Robinson" so even if you're not a baby-boomer, you will probably guess the 
    show's name. You can watch this incredibly cheesy navigation test in an 
    incredibly cheesy anti-hippy episode of this old 60s program. Go here and 
    relish the guilty pleasure: 
    You will see the navigational triangle defined and the navigational stars 
    tested while groovy go-go dancers dancing on pool tables (sinners!) listening 
    to crazy loud music rot the minds of our youth (those "youths" would be older 
    than me by now). Don't say I didn't warn you! :-)
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