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    LUNARS class at Mystic Seaport
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2014 Oct 24, 11:59 -0700

    Two more navigation classes coming up in the next few weeks at Mystic Seaport. Learn how to shoot LUNARS, just like they did aboard Mystic Seaport's Charles W. Morgan back in the 19th century. During both of these classes, I'll also spin a few yarns about my experience as celestial navigator this past summer on the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan, among the whales north of Cape Cod. 

    --November 15 - 16, 2014. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm both days.
    --An intermediate level class in the famous method of finding longitude by lunar distances, usually known for short as "lunars". Lunars were widely used at sea in the early 19th century in the era before chronometers became common. By observing the position of the Moon relative to the Sun or stars, navigators used the Moon as a great natural clock in the sky. From James Cook and Nathaniel Bowditch to Joshua Slocum, lunars were a challenge that proved a navigator's skill. Students in this class will learn the details of adjusting a sextant properly for shooting lunars, tricks for taking accurate sights, and easy methods for clearing these famously difficult observations. We'll also talk about some of the interesting mathematics and astronomical theories that made lunars possible. For a modern celestial navigator or navigation enthusiast, there is no better test of your sextant and observing skills. Weather permitting, students will have opportunities to take actual lunar observations, determining their longitude in the great tradition of Cook and Bowditch and Slocum.

    Also, if you're interested in an introduction (recommended) to the lunars class, or if you're interested in traditional navigation generally, there's still time plenty of time to sign up for:

    --November 1 - 2, 2014. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm both days.
    --An introductory class in the history and the actual techniques of celestial navigation as it was practiced aboard American sailing vessels in the Age of Sail. We'll learn how it was done, especially aboard Mystic Seaport's premier exhibit vessel, the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan, by examining original logbooks and navigational calculations from its voyages, and we'll apply these same methods today. In this class, we'll learn how to use and adjust sextants and octants, both historical instruments and their modern equivalents, and we'll learn the classic method of finding latitude by "Noon Sun". We'll also cover in detail the math of the "time sight" which was used to determine longitude from the 19th through the middle of the 20th century. Throughout, we will compare what we're doing with actual logbook entries and calculations in the collections of Mystic Seaport. Weather permitting, students will have opportunities to make actual sextant observations. This is real navigation, not just a class "about" navigation. Fast and intense, students who complete this weekend class will have the basic celestial navigation skills to cross any ocean using the Sun, a sextant, and a few other simple tools.

    Cost for either class: $100 ($90 for members of Mystic Seaport). Register for these classes by phoning the Reservations desk at Mystic Seaport:
    860.572.5322, press 1 at the prompt.

    Thanks and please let me know if you have any questions!

    Frank Reed
    Conanicut Island USA

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