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    Re: Latitude by Lunar Distance
    From: Wolfgang Köberer
    Date: 2006 Nov 11, 08:49 +0100
    Frank,
     
    I never thought that re-inventing the wheel in celestial navigation was one of the goals of this group. But if - as you (no capitals) say - the criterion is that a concept is novel "to this group", well, the concept of finding one's position by astronomical observations certainly is a new concept for a group of 2nd graders; your grade of novelty is obviously dependent on the group of reference you choose. What I want to say by that is this: in a group like NavList, where in my opinion a couple of discussions were way above the level of professional discussion in the heyday of celestial navigation (maybe owing to advanced tools of computation) , I would not expect that someone tosses in an idea as "new" without at least a small reservation that it might not be so new after all - which you now admit ("probably ten times, too"). Therefore I am completely at a loss for what reason you (again: no capitals) feel "attacked". I had only intended to say that there is a historical predecessor to this discussion. And the "sorry" pertained to the fact that it may be a bit disappointing to find out that an idea is not that original as one thought in the first place, after all. An experience I've had many times myself.
     
    Finally about my proficency at taking and working out lunars that you made a subject of: I own a few sextants - starting with plastic and ending with Plath - but I admit that on an Atlantic crossing a couple of years ago I only took one sun and one star shot. Which basically shows that I am not that much interested in being perfect in taking celestial shots and working out a solution/position line as fast and accurate as possible. I am not interested in balancing 2 spinning plates on 2 sticks simultaneously either. I admire people that can do it, but it' s just nothing that I aspire to do myself. Which is to say: I am interested in the history of navigation for the cultural and scientific aspects of this subject. If I have to occupy myself with the technical details, I do, but not for the sake of them. This seems to be different with you (still: no capitals), which is fine with me. Different people have different tastes. As long as this list tolerates such people as me I will throw in whatever I think might be of interest, even if you  might feel attacked.
    May I sit down now?
    -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
    Von: NavList@fer3.com [mailto:NavList@fer3.com]Im Auftrag von FrankReedCT@aol.com
    Gesendet: Samstag, 11. November 2006 00:16
    An: NavList@fer3.com
    Betreff: [NavList 1661] Re: Latitude by Lunar Distance

    Wolfgang you wrote:
    "So the idea is not exactly original or new (94 years) and has been
    published in a peer-reviewed journal before, I am sorry to say."
     
    Call me confused, but why are you "sorry" to say that? It goes without saying that everything in celestial navigation has been thought of before. Probably ten times, too. But did YOU ever realize that you could determine a true position fix using lunar distances without any horizon at all? I think it's quite a novel concept for this group of people. I suppose that's why a couple of people were determined to attack it instead of trying it out.
     
    Out of curiosity, has anyone besides me tried it yet? Have you measured some lunar distances assuming that GMT is known (as it is today, of course)? Have you plotted out the resulting lines of position and experienced the satisfaction of finding your position by celestial navigation in an entirely new way? I dropped the topic in October, but I would be happy to discuss it again.
     
    I feel I should say this every time, just so there's no confusion: this use of lunar distances to get a fix in latitude and longitude is entirely different from the historical method of lunar distances which used the measured distance to determine GMT. The measuring process, the required fine adjustment of the sextant, and most aspects of the clearing process are the same or very similar, but the final result is completely different.
     
    -FER
    42.0N 87.7W, or 41.4N 72.1W.
    www.HistoricalAtlas.com/lunars


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