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    Re: A One-Hour Presentation on Celestial Navigation
    From: Bob Goethe
    Date: 2016 Mar 17, 13:02 -0700

    Thank you all for your help on this.  I was pleased at how well it went.  I used Ken's presentation as my starting point, then moulded it to fit the way my own mind worked, and what I knew of my audience.  Robert Vanderpol's "train that passed every hour on a schedule accurate to a second or so" turned out to be enormously an enormously helpful image for people trying to wrap their heads around time and longitude.

    One person asked about Slocum's $5 clock, so I touched on the idea of the lunar.

    I decided that rather than using PowerPoint as a way of helping people visualize a globe, I would use a GLOBE as a way of helping people visualize a globe.  I cut out paper circles, then made a slit in each so that I could (more or less) make them lie down properly on the surface of the globe, to try and get across the idea of circles of position.

    I am attaching a photo of my globe-prop, my speaking notes, and my handout.

    Other props I brought included:

      - my Tamaya sextant
      - an Astra iiib sextant
      - two Davis Mark 3 sextants
      - the whole-horizon mirror I pulled out of my Tamaya when I replaced it with a traditional mirror

    ...to give people an idea of the range of instrument types/prices they could consider if they wanted to learn more.  I brought along the Davis Mark 3s, a Nautical Almanac, some copies of Pub. 249, and some copies of a textbook I like...so that if people were motivated to start learning on their own, they could go home with a "starter kit".  It turned out that there is a Power Squadron course in celestial going on now in Edmonton, so I was able to point them in that direction for the next iteration of the course.

    I talked for about 45 minutes, and there was 1/2 hour of questions and discussion.

    I encouraged people to play with the Davis sextant, and to look through the books.  I asked them to not touch either of the metal sextants as, I said, they would need a couple of minutes of instruction on how to pick up and hold a sextant to avoid turning a $2,000 precision instrument into a $50 coffee table ornament.  I referenced Lecky, who said, "Never loan another man your horse, your gun, or...your sextant."  I did say that it was a joy just to hold a precision instrument like the Tamaya in your hands, and that doing so would add a couple of years to your life. 

    Again, thank you all for your help!

    Bob

       
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