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## A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

**Re: Datum for Nautical Almanac**

**From:**George Huxtable

**Date:**2004 Oct 30, 13:45 +0100

Michael Dorl made this further enquiry below, about the basis of the Nautical Almanac's predictions- I will answer his further questionas as well as I can, but am not an astronomer or any sort of pundit on such matters. >I understand that declination is independent of the reference spheroid >provided the spin axes agree. > >are the following statements concerning the NA true? > > Decl and GHA/SHA are with respect to earth's mean equator and equinox. Yes, that's my understanding. > Diurnal; aberrations effects are not included. Correct. An observer riding round with the Earth in equatorial regions is travelling at something like twice the speed of a commercial jet-plane, say 800 miles in an hour. This is a tiny fraction of the speed of light, which is 186,000 miles in a SECOND. The tan of the angle of DAILY aberration is given by the ratio between the two speeds: therefore the diurnal aberration is no greater than 0.3 arc-seconds, so is rightly neglected in the almanac. Even if it happened to be much greater, the effect would still have been excluded, because it depends on the observer's position: there's no such effect at the poles, for example. So the almanac would have left it to the observer to correct for himself. Being completely negligibe, the question doesn't arise. ============== > Diurnal parallax effects are included based a spherical earth of (I >don't know radius). No, they are excluded, because they depend on the position of the observer. They are left for the observer to allow for, depending on the altitude, but information is provided to assist. The horizontal parallax is given for Moon and Sun, and it's included in the altitude corrections for some planets. The predictions are based on a spherical Earth of equatorial radius 6378 kilometres. For the Moon only, this may not be sufficiently accurate. It may need correcting for the shape of the Earth, so an extra small correction, "Augmentation of the Moon's parallax" can be made, which depends on the observer's latitude. =============== >The suppositions concerning diurnal effects are made since the NA contains >no corrections based on position; the NA corrections depend >only on observed altitude. Ah. But the observed altitude depends greatly on the observer's position, doesn't it? George. ================================================================ contact George Huxtable by email at george---.u-net.com, by phone at 01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK. ================================================================