A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Robert Eno
Date: 2015 Oct 19, 12:11 -0600
Allow me a few moments to act the part of the big turd floating in the swimming pool.
As much as I am an aficionado and supporter of the “old” ways of navigation; e.g.: astro-navigation, is not a truly “self-contained” system. Notwithstanding noon sights (at least to a degree), our profession/craft/hobby/pursuit is dependent on the annual generation of the nautical almanac and other related astronomical ephemeris data, which in turn is dependent up on the maintenance of (in the western world) the US Naval Observatory and Her Majesty’s Hydrographic Office. Both of these facilities, I presume, are staffed by scientists and other specialist professions as well as the vast network of support staff required of any such facility.
And then we have the staff and facilities that maintain accurate time-keeping and which transmit this information on a regular basis to the great unwashed, so that we can set our clocks to the second and upon which the accuracy of the positions derived from our sextant observations are highly dependent. Again, this requires expensive infrastructure and staff.
All of which is to say, in my humble opinion, the notion that astro-navigation is self-contained and not dependent upon outside sources, is really an illusion because we take for granted, those support mechanisms which make it possible in the first place. It is, self-contained to a limited extent, but only until your almanac expires and the atomic clocks stop ticking. After that, it is back to square one.
From: NavList@fer3.com [mailto:NavList@fer3.com] On Behalf Of Alan S
Sent: October-19-15 11:42 AM
Subject: [NavList] Re: Quartz article: reinstating celestial...
Possibly I'm to easily amused, but the more I read of the "rebirth" of classical celestial navigation, seemingly now having been taken up by the U.S.Navy, the more amusing it becomes. My interest in CN is purely an intellectual exercise, as I'm not a boater, worse yet, I tend toward sea sickness in smallish sail boats, so my efforts are limited to position verification, checking my calculated position against GPS fixes while standing on the beach, observing the passing scene. Also now and then a star shot, and that infamous Sun/Moon Two Body Fix. It gets the kid out into the sun and fresh air, virtues in themselves. In conclusion, re what appears to be the return of the Navy to classical celestial navigation, the following has been observed. What Goes Around, Comes Around, or as the French observed, Plus se changer, plus le mem choise, The more things change, the more they are the same.