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    Re: (OFF-TOPIC) Flight 370
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2014 Mar 24, 20:28 -0700

    Brad, you wrote:
    "Not a scintilla of celestial navigation."

    I wouldn't go that far. :) First there was the partial circle of position that Peter Monta posted about. We have all since seen it in media reports. That's sufficiently close to celestial navigation that I am already working it into the opening discussion for the introductory celestial class I'm teaching this coming weekend. That's definitely in range for NavList. Additionally, it's interesting to ponder the thought that anyone with sufficient positional astronomy knowledge who was awake on that flight would have detected the change in course easily by watching the stars and also, more disturbingly, would almost certainly have been filled with dread as the stars of the southern sky rose higher and higher into the sky as the flight progressed deep into the southern hemisphere... if in fact that is what happened. There would have been no doubt, no doubt at all, in the mind of a passenger with moderate astronomy knowledge (who happened to be awake and looking out the window) that the aircraft was deep in southern latitude and flying further south with every passing minute above a pitch black sea. Rather terrifying to imagine... Towards the end, even passengers with minimal knowledge of the sky may have noticed the strange, disturbing sight of twilight before sunrise on the wrong side of the plane.

    But, yes, the majority of the recent discussion, while fascinating for most of us, is most certainly off-topic. We frequently meander off-topic in NavList discussions, and my rule-of-thumb is to stay within a limit of "two steps removed". If a conversation is one step away from our main topics, it will probably drift back, and in any case we're in the ballpark. But if that conversation then spawns a discussion which drifts yet further afield, well then we should start to worry (but only a little)... If it then drifts outside "two steps removed", it's time to speak up.


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