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    Re: Modern celestial navigation: when and why?
    From: Carl Herzog
    Date: 2015 Feb 12, 06:56 -0800

    The Sea Education Association continues to practice celestial navigation on a regular basis. SEA operates two 120-foot brigantines that conduct academic and experiential programs for college students. These ships are doing trans-oceanic voyages in both the Atlantic and Pacific on a year-round basis. More info on these programs is available at www.sea.edu

    Celestial navigation is primarily practiced as an element of the nautical science curriculum. During a shore component that usually precedes the voyage, students learn the underlying theory and practice of basic sight reduction. At sea, the students practice shooting the sun and stars on a daily basis. Depending on the specific program and cruise track, each student usually completes a day's work as part of a final requirement. 

    Professional crew participate in the practice on a daily basis as well, for both teaching and maintaining personal proficiency. Celestial sights are regularly plotted and used in conjunction with DR to maintain a track on the paper chart. This backs up the GPS track, which is maintained on both the paper chart and electronic system.

    Although celestial plots are incorporated into the navigational record, the primary reason for continuing to practice it is the diverse educational value it offers. Few SEA students end up pursuing professional maritime careers, so learning celestial is less about developing a professional skill than it is about accessing the other lessons that celestial offers in geography, mathematics, astronomy, and history.

    -- Carl Herzog 

       
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