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    Re: Lunars
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2007 Sep 26, 01:11 -0400

    I wrote:
    "Consider: how would those folks who recommended the prize have known back
    in 1714 that there would be a device invented, twenty years in their future,
    that could reliably measure angles to about 1' of arc?"
    And Fred, you replied:
    "Newton would have made his secret presentation to the Royal about then.  He
    worked on the moon orbit problem."
    Fred, I can't figure out what you're talking about here. The fact that
    Newton worked on the 'moon orbit problem' has nothing to do with the ability
    to measure angles to some specified accuracy. As for his "secret
    presentation" perhaps you should elaborate on what you think this implies.
    And I asked:
    "Who in the world suggested that 1' of arc was the limit of accuracy for
    such measurements?"
    You replied with one word, "Newton". I'm sorry, but I think you've got two
    separate lines of reasoning confused here. Newton was certainly aware that a
    certain level of accuracy in lunar distance observations and predicted lunar
    distances would be required to achieve a given level of accurcay in
    longitude determination. But that's a trivial matter that anyone with
    passing skill in astronomy could work out. He certainly didn't offer any
    predictions on the ultimate limits of angular measurements. Nor did his
    suggestions "set up" the lunar distance method as the intended winner of the
    Longitude Prize.
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