A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Paul Dolkas
Date: 2016 Jul 20, 20:59 -0700
It just so happens that at one point, my master’s thesis project was going to be a next-generation sextant/theodolite. So this idea of how you would improve upon the design of the sextant is near & dear to my heart.
I always thought that the biggest problem with sextants (especially the aircraft bubble type) was the problem of figuring out where horizontal is. So why not replace the liquid bubble with an electronic inclinometer? They are now readily available reading down to sub-second accuracy. It could either be attached to the index mirror for a direct readout of elevation, or attached to the horizontal “base” with a rotary encoder to figure the elevation from there. You sight the star, push the button, and you’re done.
I’ll almost bet there are digital theodolites out there using this principal.