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    Re: Master & Commander
    From: Stacy Hanna
    Date: 2003 Dec 7, 19:30 -0500

    The reality is that in todays Navy they are ringing the bells when noon
    for their time zone is indicated on the GPS receiver. The watch has
    already been relieved, (no later than 1145) and even though by
    regulation the navigator or quartermaster is supposed to be observing
    LAN (if the weather permits) it probably isn't happening on the majority
    of ships.
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Navigation Mailing List
    [mailto:NAVIGATION-L{at}LISTSERV.WEBKAHUNA.COM] On Behalf Of George
    Sent: Sunday, December 07, 2003 19:33
    Subject: Re: Master & Commander
    Bruce Stark quotes the following statement from a friend-
    "By this time the Navigator is observing the track of the sun.  At his
    signal, the OOD instructs the Bo's'n's Mate of the Watch to strike 8
    Thus an exact noon is noted by the ringing of the ship's bell and it is
    dead accurate with a well trained bridge watch.  Sometimes this takes a
    of doing, but rather quickly they all get on to it and we can all set
    wrist watches accurately."
    I would like to take issue with the "exact" and "accurately" aspects of
    this statement. Time may be determined that way accurately enough for
    change-of-watch, but NOT for navigational purposes. No matter how
    well-trained a bridge watch is, there's no way to determine the
    moment-of-noon, to within several minutes, by observing at or near noon,
    for (at least) two reasons.
    1. The Sun is rising so slowly, near noon, then remaining stationary
    imperceptible motion, then falling so slowly, that it just isn't humanly
    possible to determine the moment-of-noon with any accuracy. Only by
    determining an altitude before noon, then the same after noon, and
    splitting the time-difference, can any accuracy be obtained.
    2. Even then, that's only the moment of maximum altitude, not the moment
    local apparent noon, which occurs at the time of meridian passage.
    the two, even on a sailing vessel, there can be a discrepancy of 5
    or so, depending on the Northerly or Southerly component of the speed of
    the vessel.
    Sorry to reiterate what's been said several times before on this list,
    me and by others.
    In other respects, the message was of great interest, and I hope Bruce
    persuade its author to join our list.
    contact George Huxtable by email at george---.u-net.com, by phone
    01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy
    Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.

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