A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: David Pike
Date: 2017 Oct 1, 12:56 -0700
Randall Morrow you said: Just skip it and use a mirror. I had tried water, oil and molasses before going to mirror. Mirror use is faster, works in windy conditions and is less hassle, with no liquid to pour, store or clean up. With mirror, even the dimmest navigational stars can be used. Mirror was used by Ahmundson at the south pole, unaffected by wind and temperature.
I agree with your views on the usefulness of a mirror horizon for recreational sightings, but was a mirror Amundsen’s preferred horizon close to the Pole when he was determined to prove he actually got there? He states towards the end of Chapter 2 (page numbers vary) of ‘The South Pole’ that the sledge party took with them two glass horizons with dark glasses and a mercury horizon. It’s possible that the glass horizons were there primarily in case the mercury froze or was lost for some reason. Moreover, he doesn’t actually say ‘mirror’. Could they have been using the surface reflection from a piece of dark glass? The well known photograph does indeed show the party using a device which some believe has levellers, which wouldn’t have been needed with a liquid filled horizon, but this might have been a staged photograph at the start or finish of the journey. DaveP