A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Wayne Hilliard
Date: 2017 Oct 1, 13:09 -0400
From time to time I have seen reference to using a plate of molasses as an artificial horizon. It would have benefits over water in being less disturbed by little puffs of wind. So I decided to try this out.
I purchased a little container of blackstrap molasses, and found that it was SO thick that little bubbles in the liquid never really came out of solution...which led to a surface that was too "pebbly" to use as a reflective surface.
I went back to the store and purchased a container of "fancy molasses" - which is a bit thinner. I got a smooth surface to work with...but it takes a L O N G time for it to respond to gravity and form a flat surface. I tried to take a sun sight today and got 4 overlapping, reflected images of the sun. I infer from this that there were several "waves" in my molassis.
The good news is that you don't get double reflections - as sometimes happens with water - from the bottom of the container as well as the surface of the liquid. The bad news is that you can still get multiple reflections.
Mixing molasses with water might be easier said than done...but it would seem that somehow I need to thin it out just a bit more.
Has anybody got any suggestions for me? Anybody made effective use of molasses as an artificial horizon? Or is this one of those ideas that gets mentioned from time to time, but hardly anybody has ever actually tried it?