A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Robert VanderPol II
Date: 2016 Mar 3, 19:43 -0800
Re: A One-Hour Presentation on Celestial Navigation
From: Lu Abel
Date: 2016 Mar 3, 20:19 +0000
One thing I must ask of you and Francis's other comments, though, is the assumed purpose of this hypothetical one-hour talk. Is it to whet a newbie's appetite for learning celestial, or is it to give them -- within an hour's time -- a technique they could use with no further study required for emergency navigation.
Neither, what I read into the first post in this thread was that the folks attending were sailors and would have a bit of interest to begin with. I don't see being able to reliably teach that many people anything in one hour.
Since they already have initial interest I would try to get across that the bar to entry is not that high.
First, this isn't rocket science, it's playing with a measuring instrument, a watch and doing some simple but fussy math. Relating their existing knowledge of visual nav to celestial nav helps them understand that the basic concepts are the same, there's not some special understanding they have to acquire. Showing that the heavy duty math has been reduced to looking up values in tables and doing basic math hopefully cements that this isn't really that hard except you have to be a bit meticulous.
Second, (which I didn't bring up earlier) there isn't a big monetary hurdle, you can put together a setup that would take you around the world for less than $80. Like a lot of things that fall into the category of entertainment a high inital entry costs keep most people from even trying things, fearing that if they don't take to it there will be a lot of emotional baggage walking away from those entry costs. Lowering the entry costs lowers the emotional risk if the activity is later given up so people are more likely to spend the money and take the risk.
·Davis Mark3 ($60)
·Casio watch ($15)
·Long term almanac, plotting sheets, Ageton and work sheets can all be downloaded for free. The only cost would be laminating and a couple of fine tip Dry-Erase pens. All this should be able to fit in the sextant box.
I would mention that there are a number of special cases (Polaris and the Noon sight) that eliminate 1/2 to 3/4 of the math and table lookups, but I wouldn't go into them very deeply. I don't think you could go into specifics and cover all the other stuff in an hour without leaving people's heads spinning and no time for questions.
To reiterate, with people that have already expressed some interest I would try to emphasize the low to moderate bar to entry without sugarcoating it, you have to be be meticulous with the math, but it's not that hard and it's not that expensive.