A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: John D. Howard
Date: 2016 Jul 20, 05:26 -0700
I think the reason for the sextant being the same as when Capt. Cook used one IS fundamental biological.
As Frank Reed and others have pointed out the sextant is better than it needs to be for navigation and there are devices that can measure angles to better than an arc second but they are not hand held. Yes, you could put encoders, microchips, etc on a sextant and read to seconds of arc but how would you hold it steady enought to get anything useful?
I have a total station ( theodolite ) that reads to one second but it has a 40X scope on it. I could never hand hold the scope and get a good view - too shakey. As long as you hold a sextant in your hands there will be a limit as to how precise the mesuremunt CAN be.
The other problem with precision is in the other thing we must measure - time. If you measure the angle to the arc second then you better measure the time to the 1/100 second. How long does it take you to say "Mark"?
I do not think men ( or women ) have changed much since Cook sailed the Pacific.
Just my 2 cents