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    Finding longitude in the 12th century
    From: Geoffrey Kolbe
    Date: 2012 Aug 31, 06:31 +0100

    There is a thread running on the History of Astronomy forum (HASTRO)
    started by Janie Schwab (schwab@DUDLEYOBSERVATORY.ORG) who relayed a
    request by a movie script writer. The script concerns an island in
    the Med where a fantastic treasure is buried. The whereabouts of this
    island was historically lost, but an artifact with the island's
    latitude and longitude written on it is discovered in the present
    day. The heros correct the error in the lat. long. by using a
    depiction of Orion on the artifact.
    The discussion follows along the lines of finding the position of
    cities by the timing of lunar eclipses. But one contributer, Clyde
    Hostetter, says, "I spent some of WWII as a Navy officer, learning
    and using a system for determining a point's latitude and longitude
    using only sightings of stars. So did other navigators. The secret
    was volumes of WPA calculations which were used to convert the star
    sightings into an accurate-enough location that all Navy ships
    used...and will again use if the satellites all fail."
    Does anyone here have any comments on this WPA method (whatever that was)?
    Can anyone suggest a means of finding accurate longitude using
    methods available in the 12th century?
    Is there a way of using a depiction of Orion to correct for an error
    in longitude?

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