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    Sight reduction method history
    From: Lu Abel
    Date: 2013 Nov 2, 14:58 -0700
    Can anyone give, in broad-brush terms, a brief history of celestial sight reduction methods used aboard ships from the advent of reasonably accurate timekeeping forward?

    What method (in very general terms) did Captain Cook use?   Clipper Ship navigators?   The navigator on the Titanic?   Navigators of WW II battleships?

    The spherical triangle that must be solved to compute Hc was well-known from ancient times.   But solving it is error-prone and tedious.   Were logarithms used to simplify the calculations?   When were tabular methods introduced?   How tedious was sight reduction?  Etc.

    As I sit here and bang some numbers into my scientific calculator and out pops Hc and Zn (or, better, my smart phone app simply gives it to me!), I wonder how people did it before the magic of silicon.

    Again, not a treatise, but an overview.

    Thanks.

    Lu

       
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