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    Re: Lewis and Clark lunars: more 1803 Almanac data
    From: Gordon Talge
    Date: 2004 Apr 18, 14:14 -0700

    Just a personal note of modern life in the big city.
    A few years ago, my family and  I took a trip to Death Valley
    out in the desert here in California. I was astonished at the
    stars visible on a clear night without the interference of the
    lights of Los Angeles. At the Grand Canyon in Arizona a few years
    later it was the same.
    This is what it must have been like for the people observing
    before the "let's light everything up" syndrome took hold.
    Has anyone seen the picture of Europe and North/South America from
    space taken at night? You can see the outline of the continents
    from space like a map just from the lights of cities and towns!
    I can certainly see how some star that "cannot" be seen now with
    the light pollution, could very well have been seen without difficulty
    in the past.
    -- Gordon
    > I am no expert on maritime celestial navigation but have read widely
    > on 17th and 18th century terrestrial celestial navigation and the
    > stars used. Delambre, Mason and Dixon, Gregory, Thompson, Everest-
    > they knew a stack of stars and used ones for zenith transits that
    > today I can barely see. I am continually astonished how they got such
    > good results from what are in some instances low magnitude relatively
    > obscure stars.
    > As an example of the variety consider a few of the stars used by Mason
    > and Dixon viz Hamal, Vega, Deneb, delta and gamma Cygni, eta Pleiades,
    > Aldebaran. And for Gregory beta Centauri, alpha Cor. Borealis, Tri
    > Aust, Vega, beta Cygni, alpha Aquilae (Altair) and what about epsilon
    > Pegasi and zeta Aquilae. Today I wouldn't be able to find these last
    > two in the night sky let alone get them into an artificial horizon.
    >  I repeat my contention that it is dangerous to suggest that stars
    > weren't being used just because sailors weren't using them.
    > Kieran Kelly
                                 (. .)
    | Gordon Talge WB6YKK           e-mail: gtalge AT pe DOT net |
    | Department of Mathematics      http://www.nlmusd.k12.ca.us |
    | Norwalk High School                   Norwalk, CA          |
    | (o-    Debian / GNU / Linux                                |
    | //\    The Choice of the GNU Generation                    |
    | v_/_                  .oooO                                |
    |    - E Aho Laula -     (  )   Oooo. - Wider is Better -    |
    +-------------------------\ (---(  )-------------------------+
                               \_)  ) /

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