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    Re: the Quintant
    From: Dan Allen
    Date: 2002 Jul 9, 15:58 -0700

    Answers for George's questions, but first a clarification.
    
    My memory was wrong.  My quintant scale is calibrated from -2 degrees to 142 degrees,
    for a total range of 144 degrees.  The scale continues on to where 150 degrees
    would be located, but the numbers stop at 144 degrees.
    
    Now to George's questions.  I went outside and used the quintant at its maximum
    range.  The slot of vision that George was curious about is indeed very small, but
    it was large enough to be usable.
    
    In answer to George's second question, my forehead / crown did not impeed the
    light path.  It is tall enough to "see over" my head.
    
    It is indeed a strange feeling to use it to look over one's shoulder.  I used it
    to examine the tops of trees behind me.
    
    I took a couple of photos of the quintant which I will post on my web
    site later this week.
    
    Neat stuff!
    
    Dan
    
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Navigation Mailing List
    [mailto:NAVIGATION-L{at}LISTSERV.WEBKAHUNA.COM]On Behalf Of George Huxtable
    Sent: Monday, July 08, 2002 11:25 AM
    To: NAVIGATION-L{at}LISTSERV.WEBKAHUNA.COM
    Subject: Re: the Quintant
    
    
    On the subject of quintants and their history, Dan Allen wrote-
    
    >I agree with your thinking George.
    >
    >I have a qunitant made by Fuji around 1900.  It has no other markings on
    >it other than "Fuji #372".  The scale is actually calibrated to 150 degrees,
    >slightly past the 144 degrees that qualify it for quintant status.  It is
    >very similar to sextants of the period appearance-wise, and if glanced at
    >quickly one would never know it is a quintant.
    >
    >Dan
    
    ===================
    
    At that date, 1900, it seems likely that a quintant would be intended, not
    for large-angle lunars, but more for horizontal angles when surveying. It
    also gives a navigator a better chance of nulling-out anomalous dip by
    measuring two apparent altitudes of a body: the altitude measured up from
    the horizon below it, and the altitude measured up from the opposite
    horizon. This would become possible for bodies up to 30 deg. altitude.
    
    I wonder if Dan can help, as owner of a quintant. Me, I have never been
    able to handle a quintant, or see one at closer quarters than in a museum
    case.
    
    As I understand it, there are two important differences between a quintant
    and a sextant. The first one is pretty obvious: the arc is wider and has
    been cut so as to read up to 144 deg. or more (for Dan's instrument, 150),
    as opposed to the sextant which reads up to 120 deg. or perhaps a few
    degrees more.
    
    The second difference is a bit more subtle. In a sextant, when it's used
    near an angle of 120 deg., the geometry of the mirrors is such that light
    is being reflected from the index mirror at (almost) grazing incidence.
    Because of this, the field-of view in that mirror is reduced to a very
    narrow slot. In a quintant, the relative positions of the two mirrors have
    been altered so that the light passing from one mirror to the other is at a
    shallower angle to the horizontal, which increases the vertical aperture
    angle subtended by the index mirror, when measuring larger angles.
    
    So I ask Dan to check whether, at settings of 144 and even 150 degrees,
    there is a useable slot of vision available in the index mirror. And also
    whether, when set to these larger angles so as to observe bodies seen
    rather behind-and-above his head, his forehead or crown gets in the way of
    the light-path at all. The latter might be an important matter when making
    back-observations for altitude, but presumably would not be a serious
    handicap to meausuring horizontal angles.
    
    George.
    
    ------------------------------
    
    george---.u-net.com
    George Huxtable, 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    Tel. 01865 820222 or (int.) +44 1865 820222.
    ------------------------------
    
    
    

       
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