A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Ed Popko
Date: 2021 Apr 30, 09:38 -0700
HarvardX online courses is offering “PredictionX: Lost Without Longitude - Explore the history of navigation, from stars to satellites.”
This course is given by Alyssa Godman (Robert Wheeler Wilson Professor of Applied Astronomy, Harvard University)
About this course
Humans have been navigating for ages. As we developed the tools and techniques for determining location and planning a route, navigation grew into a practice, an art, and a science. Navigational skill has long been tied to commercial, economic, and military success. However, the ability to predict when and where one will reach a distant destination is more than just a key to empire-building — it’s often a matter of life and death.
Using video, text, infographics, and Worldwide Telescope tours, we will explore the tools and techniques that navigators have used, with a particular focus on the importance (and difficulty) of measuring longitude. Grounded in the principles of position, direction, speed, and time, we will learn the challenges of navigating without a GPS signal. We’ll learn how the Age of Exploration and the economic forces of worldwide trade encouraged scientific progress in navigation; and how Jupiter’s moons, lunar eclipses, and clockmakers all played a part in orienting history’s navigators.
Centuries of progress in navigation have helped put humans on the moon and spacecraft on a comet. This course will explain how we got there, and how that progress enables you to get where you’re going today.
What you'll learn
What exactly navigation is and how it works
The importance of position, direction, and speed
The many navigational tools of the 18th century
How the motion of the sun and stars aids navigation
Why longitude is so difficult to determine
The historical context of navigation’s technical advances
The role of chronometers and lunar distance
The story of John Harrison and The Longitude Prize
You can enroll free as an “audit” or pay a $45 fee if you want a certificate at completion from Harvard.
At the time of posting this note, there are currently 17,078 already enrolled.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
To enroll in this or any other HarvardX course:
You will have to create an X consortium account to view this course and any of the thousands of other ones.
There is no cost to enroll.