A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: John Blake
Date: 2017 Aug 3, 14:42 -0700
I really enjoyed this poem. I was a navigator and radar operator in B52s from 1958-65 when we had to rely heavily on celestial navigation when crossing the Atlantic Ocean during our 24-hour airborne alert missions. One effect that you didn't work into your poem was Coriolis Effect, not too important on the ocean, but as much as 7 miles correction when travelling at 500 miles an hour. I now teach Astronomy at a Community College and about 10 years ago, I was asked to teach.a celestial nav course. We only got 8 students to sign up. Seven of those owned boats that had a sextant onboard, but they didn't know how to use it. It met for two hours on six successive Saturday mornings. It was a lot of fun to dig back into a bunch of dormant brain cells in order to teach that course.
The references to the importance of time and longitude were very good. If you haven't visited the Grenwich Observatory in England, I highly recommend you do so. They provide a lot of history about the evolution of reliable and accurate clocks; very interesting. If it has been more than ten years since you visited, you need to do so again since it has been re-organized and is much more interactive. They also have a new building entirely devoted to astronomy.