A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Mark Coady
Date: 2016 Jan 4, 18:36 -0800
I had managed to miss the ex-meridian exercise in my past midday shots education. I had learned a meridian shot is a nice way to get a good latitude and a so-so longitude without any sight reduction pain.
I understand the ex-meridian concept is if you miss your meridian averaging shots or "on the money” peak meridian shot, it gets you back to square one with a little mathematical hocus pocus.
The only thing is that bothers me is we are trying to get back to an accurate latitude using my estimated longitude to get LHA. In modern times with my accurate chronometers, if I have confidence in my longitude...I probably already have similar confidence in my latitude....so why not just take that sight as a LOP , bring up the morning LOP if available on the DR track, then shoot another in the afternoon, and have a 3 sight St Hilaire party with advanced DR’d LOP’s.
If we are doing this in olden days with more suspect chronometers..and thus suspect longitude....pre St Hilaire, wouldn't I play the safe game and use my tools to zero up the more sure latitude rather than use possibly tweaked longitude to calculate?
I mean latitude I might catch from other star or planet bodies. I understand St Hilaire wasn't around yet....If I understand correctly Sumner got a lat based LOP in 1848 by using three latitudes...I assume because he was more certain of Lat than Lon.
With the ex-meridian I feel like I am using a single suspect variable to calculate a suspect variable, rather than using multiple LOP’s to slowly reign in all the suspectness........if you get what I mean...
This probably means I missed some subtle mathematical elegance or the point completely.... I am trying to figure out when this is the right thing to do.
PS I have my Fathers slide rule he used for navigation at the USCG. It is an intimidating looking Pickett N4-T, vector type LOG LOG. I remember him zooming through Nav problems with it when I was young in the 60's and early 70's. I always marveled at his ability to do seat of the pants navigation in his head. He told me it was because he grew up with the slide rule and manual calculation (he also had a near photographic memory). I treasure it for sentimental reasons, and would secretly like to learn to use it someday. I grew up at the very end of the slide rule era, and switched to the calculator too young to remember the slide rule much.