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    Re: Celestial Navigation without a sextant.
    From: Geoffrey Kolbe
    Date: 2008 Mar 08, 08:50 +0000

    When sighting celestial bodies on the horizon, you are pretty much limited
    to the sun, and the moon. In ideal conditions, the planets (except Saturn)
    and the star Sirius can be used. But for all other bodies, absorption of
    light in the atmosphere means that they are only visible once they have
    reached a certain altitude above the horizon. A rule of thumb is that in
    ideal conditions, the celestial body only becomes visible once it has
    attained an altitude which in degrees is equal to its magnitude. (This is
    for observations using the un-aided eye)
    For celestial navigation without any instruments at all, the Polynesian
    canoe Hokule'a (Arcturus) has made a number of Hawaii-Tahiti round trips
    and one to 16,000 mile trip to New Zealand and back using traditional
    methods, based largely on the use of zenith stars.
    I recall an article in Ocean Navigator back in 1985 in which Marvin Creamer
    described his circumnavigation of the world in his yacht Globe Star,
    without any instruments at all. More details at
    http://www.globestar.org/feat.htm Creamer also used zenith stars as his
    principal means of navigation.
    Geoffrey Kolbe
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