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    Re: Celestial Navigation on TV
    From: Brad Morris
    Date: 2009 Oct 28, 09:12 -0400

    Hi Frank
    Question 1:
            Clearly, our contestant did not have a grasp of celestial navigation, 
    and just picked one of the three angles.  One out of Three chance and the 
    Question 2:
            The start chart shown is only for one hemisphere, due to the path of the sun on the left.
            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.
            It would be easier to determine which hemisphere, if the chart had 
    restricted itself to those of the 57 navigational stars that resided in that 
            However, with the declination of Polaris at N89, of Vega at N39 and of 
    Canopus at S53; it is clear that he has more stars than the hemisphere can 
    No clue as to what show or year, but it must be prior to 1973.
    Best Regards
    -----Original Message-----
    From: navlist@fer3.com [mailto:navlist@fer3.com] On Behalf Of frankreed@HistoricalAtlas.com
    Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 9:32 PM
    To: NavList@fer3.com
    Subject: [NavList 10288] Celestial Navigation on TV
    I was watching an episode of an old television show earlier today, and it 
    included a visual "quiz" on navigation. Here are two quiz questions and the 
    answers from the "contestant":
    1) Question (as loud music plays and a star chart is diplayed on the screen): 
    "We'll start with celestial navigation. The celestial triangle is formed on 
    the celestial sphere by the great circles connecting the elevated pole, the 
    zenith of the assumed position of the observer, and the celestial body. Mark 
    your assumed position in the triangle by pressing the correct key."
    He answers: "I can't even hear myself think!" and presses the wrong key.
    2) Question (after a star chart flashes on screen for a fraction of a second): 
    "Name ten of the navigation stars you just saw on the screen. You have ten 
    He answers: "Canopus... Polaris... Vegas [sic]... It's too fast! I can't remember."
    I think it's just possible that this was the first and only time that the 
    navigational triangle was correctly defined in American television history. 
    It was a "fake" quiz and this question was probably read from a textbook just 
    to sound like complex science jargon, so it doesn't really count. But it was 
    still remarkable to hear those words in such an incongruous setting.
    I am attaching a screen capture of the star chart as displayed for the second 
    question. How would you rate our contestant's answer?
    PS: Nice frame around the video screen in that screen capture, isn't it? It 
    looks like the "brushed metal" interface that was popular in Apple's Mac OSX 
    five to ten years ago. In fact, the screen capture is from quite a bit 
    earlier. You get ten NavList points if you can name the television program 
    and the year.
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