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    Re: Learn Celestial Navigation
    From: Lu Abel
    Date: 2012 Jul 11, 12:33 -0700
    Bryan:

    What a great idea -- to demonstrate to you students that math isn't a bunch of useless equations, but can affect people's lives every day!

    One thing that I would caution is that celestial navigation really has two parts. 

    First of all, there's the theory -- how to use spherical trig to determine an unknown side and internal angle of a spherical triangle.  I can see a way of challenging your students to use their knowledge of spherical trig to develop the equations that are commonly used.   Also some pragmatic solution-building -- seeing that whilst one can solve the spherical trig problem, plotting the solution on a chart would require a chart covering such a large area that the plotted line would be tens of miles wide (not very good for getting your position to a few miles), so the method of comparing what your sextant should have read vs what it actually read leads to the altitude-intercept method.

    Beyond that, though, is actually determining one's position by celestial.  Surprisingly, that does NOT require a knowledge of spherical trig -- just the ability to use a scientific calculator (or, before that, some specialized tables) to enter numbers and come up with an answer.    Sort of the way looking up answers in a logarithm table does not require a knowledge of how they are derived.

    Since you're in the middle of one of the USA's most beautiful sailing areas, I'd try contacting sailing schools or sailing clubs that might be willing to help.

    The American Sailing Association teaches a course in celestial navigation.   The United States Power Squadrons also does.   There's a chapter of USPS across the bay from you with members in the Camden/Rockland area.

    Lu Abel



    From: Bryan Feezor <bfeezor@gmail.com>
    To: NavList@fer3.com
    Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:06 AM
    Subject: [NavList] Learn Celestial Navigation

    I am a High school math teacher on Vinalhaven, an island off the coast of Maine, and I am planning on teaching a Celestial Navigation course next school year as part of one of my math classes. I have many questions about CN and only a basic knowledge of the practice. I would love to get some more information on class offerings or instruction for myself as I have only taught myself what little I do know.
    Any information about where to look for classes or helpful websites would be fantastic!
    Thanks,
    Bryan
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