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    Re: Marion-Bermuda Race 2019
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2018 Nov 29, 12:50 -0800


    Yes, I agree that the use of "zenith" in that article is wrong. One could say "peak altitude" or "highest elevation" and various other phrases. You suggested "culmination" or "upper culmination". I suggest staying away from those on the grounds that it's more jargon (and jargon suffocates celestial navigation, as I wrote a few days ago). Even as jargon, this word "culmination" simply isn't widely used. From the vast majority of english-speaking celestial navigation practitioners and enthusiasts, that word will inspire only puzzlement.

    Celestial navigation suffers from entropy. Words drift in meaning. Techniques become distorted. Methods become rituals. It's a steady, slow decline... The use of "zenith" as seen on the Marion-Bermuda web page is not the usual evolution of language. The word "zenith" has a valuable and highly specific meaning in positional astronomy and celestial navigation, and it does not mean the peak altitude of the Sun at local noon. The zenith is one thing: the point directly above an observer as determined by local gravity, 90° from the true horizon.

    Frank Reed

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