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    Re: HMS Bounty
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2004 May 18, 18:20 -0400

    On May 18, 2004, at 5:44 PM, George Huxtable wrote:
    
    > How could he have
    > done this without a table of day-by-day Sun declination, that only the
    > ephemeris or some other nautical table could provide?
    
    
    Although not accurate to the minute, one can estimate the sun's
    declination by means of a sine curve running from the equinox as zero
    degrees to the solstice as 90, with an amplitude of 23.5 degrees.  The
    ellipticity of the earth's orbit is accounted for, more or less, by the
    varying number of days between the various equinoxes and solstices.  Of
    course, how does one estimate a sine?  If one remembers the Taylor
    expansion for it, that would be one way.  It's more likely, from
    subsequent references in George Huxtable's post, that Captain Bligh had
    a short table of declinations.  An adequate one could fit on one page.
    
    Making heroes out of the mutineers is undoubtedly stretching the truth
    on the Bounty mutiny.  But, as captain, it was Bligh's fault, just as
    in any other catastrophe on a ship.  Apparently, however, his charms
    were no match for those of some of the Tahitian maidens!
    
    I told some of the boys who work with me the story of the Hawaiian
    girls swimming out to Cook's ship to "welcome" him and his crew.  Some
    of those boys are not too unlike some of Cook's sailors I would think.
    One of them was ready to go to Hawaii on the spot!  He had missed that
    Cook got there 230 years ago.
    
    Fred Hebard
    
    
    

       
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