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    Re: Lunar Distance in Wikipedia
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2007 Aug 23, 09:14 +0100

    Renee wrote-
    | Since we don't have a reference for the last date of publication of the
    | lunar distance tables in HM Nautical Almanac, I'll take that factoid out.
    Well, we now have four such references, contradictory.
    I suggest you leave it for now. It's one of those "factoids" that doesn't
    really need to be stated precisely; all that's really necessary is to give a
    rough idea, such as "in the early years of the 20th century". But as it CAN
    be verified, we might as well get it right. I have emailed Catherine
    Hohenkerk, of HMNAO, and I expect she will come up with the goods soon,
    unless she happens to be away.
    | I think the "Errors" section needs a rewrite.  And the facts need some
    | support.
    | The "method" section is about how lunars are done.  It does not make clear
    | that this has changed over the years.
    Well, it didn't change much, over the "lunar period" of a century or so. At
    first, there was only the Hadley quadrant (= octant) to use, but very soon
    the brass sextant arrived, with greater range and precision. Planet
    predictions appeared at some date, which I don't know. A great variety of
    methods for clearing evolved, to minimise the workload. But that's all that
    I can think of. What else do you have in mind? There are, of course recent
    changes in the way the job can now be done, using computers and computed
    positions. It depends on how much emphasis you wish to put on the modern
    "sextant hobbyist" aspect of lunars, compared with their historical
    importance as a navigational tool.
    The "history" section does not give
    | any useful information about how the use of lunar distance in navigation
    | changed over the years.  I agree there needs to be a change.
    There's certainly a case for crediting some of the characters involved,
    including the French contribution (La Caille), Mayer in Germany, Maskelyne
    in Britain.
    I've started a
    | discussion on the article's discussion page.  It seems polite, since I am
    | proposing undoing the work of "Jrvz", who added the bit about the method
    | intercepts, and the link to "longitude by chronometer".
    Yes. No doubt, the reference to intercepts was well-meaning, but it distorts
    the historical sequence.
    | I have put in the [[citation needed]] tags.   While I agree that
    | sources can sometimes get things wrong, I believe checking facts is best,
    | even if I am sure I already know the topic I'm writing about.  I don't
    | references for the facts that I've flagged "citation needed".  I was
    | that other readers of the article would be able to supply some of the
    | requested citations.
    I support that rigorous attitude, but there comes a point where citations
    can be overdone, in my view.
    | I have credited Clive in the caption to the illustration.
    If he wishes to
    | include his name in the illustration, I'll be happy to upload the new
    | version.
    Thanks. I'll ask him.
    | I think the "Errors" section is hard to follow.  I do believe the
    | reader would benefit from references for most of the facts, but I don't
    | access to citable sources on the topic.
    Renee, please say whare you think the difficulties in understanding occur,
    and I will give it a try. I have now despatched my piece for "Navigation
    News" on that same topic of lunar distances, so have time to give it a bit
    of thought.
    contact George Huxtable at george@huxtable.u-net.com
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    To post to this group, send email to NavList@fer3.com
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