A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
Request, about polar navigation equipment.
From: George Huxtable
Date: 2005 Feb 17, 14:27 +0000
From: George Huxtable
Date: 2005 Feb 17, 14:27 +0000
I'm passing on this request for help, from Sally Grant of Keo Films. Any responses should go direct to Sally, and certainly not to me. George Huxtable. ============================================ Keo Films is producing a major 6 part series for BBC2 and The National Geographic Channel. This is a recreation of the expeditions of Scott and Amundsen to the South Pole. Please find more detail on the programme, below. Our teams will be navigating to their destination using astro-navigation techniques. Scott's team are navigating using a theodolite and Amundsen's team using sextants. We have acquired these instruments, artificial horizons for use with the sextants, and a sledging meter. We are still looking for 3 chronometer watches per team. There are some references made to the chronometers used in the 1911 expedition in the document, copied below. What we are looking for are chronometer pocket watches. Whilst it would be lovely to use period pieces as long as they are not too altered from the originals and are able to do the same job, without the addition of modern components these would be suitable. Our sextants and theodolites have been very kindly donated by people who are interested in seeing them put to a good use rather than gathering dust on a mantlepiece. It will be a really interesting way of retelling history to see them used in this way. We are hoping to find someone who has an interest in chronometers who would be willing to loan their instruments to us. We are also looking for a compass for the sledge of Amundsen and of Scott. Scott's team used a bowl compass for the purpose of navigation. 'A bowl compass with needle floating in spirit was used to some extent when giving the course when sledging. It gave fair results when deposited on the snow, but it could not be used with accuracy when held in the hand. A lighter handier design of spirit compass was much needed. The ordinary prismatic compass proved to be of no value for taking bearings in the vicinity of Mc Murdo sound on account of proximity to the Pole, consecutive readings often differing by as much as five degrees" Deb We think that a yachting gimballed compass would be suitable for this purpose, one that can be used in Greenland where the expedition will be filmed. If you are interested in helping with the project and think you may be able to provide some assistance with finding these instruments then please do get in touch. I would like to confirm where we are getting them from by the end of this week if possible as we are shipping our equipment to Greenland at the beginning of March. So if you are able to help please get in touch as soon as possible My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my telephone number is 020 7684 3358. Many thanks for your help. Best wishes, Sally Grant -- Sally Grant Researcher Keo Films tel: 0044 (0) 207 684 3357 / 490 3580 fax: 0044 (0) 207 490 8419 Here's some further information about the series:- ==================================================== The Great Race Info Keo Films has been commissioned to make 6 x 1 hour documentary films by the BBC, National Geographic and the History Channel (US) about the historic expeditions made to the South Pole by Scott and Amundsen in 1911/12. We will be setting two modern teams the challenge of a route similar in length and terrain to that covered by Scott and Amundsen, using only the equipment, clothing and food that were available to the original teams. The 2,500km journey will take place in Greenland between April and July 2005 and should take a maximum of 99 days. Filming the main expedition in Antarctica is not possible since dogs and other non-indigenous species have been prohibited from entering Antarctica since 1994. The end result of the filming will be a major six part series for the BBC and international television markets. The series will interweave the contemporary experience of our teams with the history of polar exploration. The finished programmes will include archive material as well as interviews with historians, scientists, medical experts, explorers and others who may be able to shed contemporary light on history. Keo Films is a rapidly growing production company responsible for making a broad range of TV programming, from high-end linear documentaries through to popular light entertainment series. Recent series include Surviving Extremes, Atlantic Britain, The Dark Side of Everest and River Cottage. Some information about the chronometers. ======================================== Suggested that we take 3 per team - one to be set at mean time and the other 2 to be checked against each other for accuracy Type of watch " Chronometer watches were used on the sledge journeys and were carried in a small wash-leather pocket sewn on to the innner vest just above the belt line. At first they were wound daily, but on account of accidents in letting watches run down it became the practice later to wind watches twice a day, before and after the march. As will be related later, no full account of their performance on the main journey can be given." (Debenhams Report on Maps and Surveys) Winding and use " Frequent comparison of watches - none returned to the base without running down - cause of watches could be due to not winding them correctly although the last word at night was "wind watches" before everyone went to sleep but problems could have been because on harder day's work such as at Beardmore the days were 15 or 18 hours in length" (Debenham) 2 watches used once last party turned back Checked against each other every other day but on Jan 9th discovered that one had lost 26 minutes so comparisons were made every day which showed that one of watches was irregular and the other was used for all sights (Debenham) Mistakes affecting navigation "They were marching on meridian of 160 degrees east - on the 12th at Lat 89 8' there is a mistake in applying watch correction which places party on 163rd meridian instead of 161st 2 1/2 miles in latitude - corrected this by taking theodolite reading with great care next day (Debenham) Amundsen's chronometer settings At Pole they took readings every hour - not many details of watch error but watch no. 3 keeping Civil Time of the Framheim meridian which is 163 degrees 37' West or 196 degrees 23' or 13h 5m.6 East of Greenwich Framheim Civil Time of Australiann date was 35h 6m in advace of Greenwich Mean Time of same date reckoned from noon in Nautical Almanac of that epoch. ??? (Hinks paper)