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    Re: Mid XIX century Nav
    From: Henry Halboth
    Date: 2005 Nov 15, 11:24 -0500

    Alex, much depends on whether or not the Longitude of the "rock" was
    accurately known. Pending confirmation of such knowledge their purpose
    must remain in the realm of supposition.
    On Mon, 14 Nov 2005 19:36:31 -0500 Alexandre E Eremenko
    > I am reading a book by a famous Russian XiX century
    > author, Goncharov, on his voyage to Japan in 1853/4.
    > (The Russians were trying to "open" Japan for trade
    > at that time, the same thing did the Americans (at exactly the same
    > time).
    > Japan was "closed to foreigners"; no one could land
    > etc. I don't want to describe all details.
    > Anyway, the Russians were negotiating with the Japanese
    > authorities for a permission to land. The following episode
    > in this long and complicated negotiation, which lasted several
    > months, attracted my attention. The Russians asked for a
    > permission to land on some rock between their ship place
    > and the land. Apparently a small uninhabited island.
    > The reason they clamed for this permission was the
    > "Necessity to check chronometers".
    > Apparently they thought that this was a good reason
    > for landing on a rock).
    > Unfortunately the author of the book was not interested
    > in navigation and did not want to explain to the readers
    > this point. WHY did the Russians think that this was a
    > legitimate reason?
    > Why exactly did they need land to check their chronometers?
    > Or, more precisely, why did they think that "checking chronometers"
    > is a legitimate reason for a landing?
    > What was the proper procedure of "checking chronometers" they had in
    > mind?
    > Was this by the Lunars?
    > Did they mean that a firm ground
    > is needed for the Lunars? Or Jupiter satellites? to install a
    > powerful
    > telescope?
    > (They were at ancor in the Nagasaki harbor at that time. Nagasaki
    > was one of the few cities where foreigners were permitted to stay on
    > ancor
    > at that time). To finish this part of the story I just say that they
    > were
    > not permitted. The Japanese quickly built some structure on the
    > rock,
    > as an evidence that this rock was "land", rather than some "rock in
    > the
    > sea"
    > or "uninhabited (and unclaimed?) island" where anyone can land.
    > Before
    > arriving
    > to Nagasaki, the Russians signed the paper that they will not land
    > without
    > the permission of the authorities.)
    > But I only wanted to discuss the CelNav part of the story.
    > Why did the Russians think that "checking chronometers" was a
    > legitimate
    > purpose of landing on a rock?
    > Alex.
    > P.S. I am well aware that the first underwater transoceanic cable
    > layings
    > were made at about the same time. So the Lunars were doomed, already
    > then,
    > even as a
    > mean
    > of checking chronometers:-(

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