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    Smart & Green
    From: Dan Allen
    Date: 2008 Jul 6, 23:16 -0600
    Green's textbook was mentioned recently.  Let me say a bit more about Green and his predecessor Smart.

    Smart was a professor for many years in Glasgow.  W.M. Smart's "Textbook on Spherical Astronomy" was first written in 1931, it being comprised of the lectures that Smart delivered annually in Cambridge England.  It was published in six editions from 1931 to 1977, all done by Cambridge University Press.  The sixth edition of 1977 was revised by a student of Smart's, one R.M. Green.

    In 1984 Robin M. Green decided to rewrite the book using a vector approach.  His work "Spherical astronomy" was published by Cambridge University Press in 1985.  I have both paperback and hardback editions of this work.  It has 19 short chapters and two appendices.  He includes general relativistic treatments of parallax, aberration, and other phenomena.

    Smart's original work had a lot of very interesting nautical problems at the end of chapters, the kinds of problems that navigators would encounter.  These examples made the theory of the chapter have relevance to celestial navigation.   All of the examples in Green's later work are for astronomers and physicists and have absolutely nothing to do with navigation at sea.

    There is an entry for "sextant errors" in the index for Smart's work, but there are no entries for the word "sextant" in Green's index, and I doubt the word is to be found in the text even once.  In other words, Green is all about astronomy, and not about navigation.

    For these reasons I relate much better to Smart's original work, but a modern physicist like Frank Reed would probably get a lot out of the newer work by Green.  However both books are recommended on the shelves of any serious student of these subjects, along with Chauvenet, Norie, Dutton, Moody, Meeus, Bowditch, etc.

    Perhaps I am just too nostalgic about Smart's work: it is how I taught myself spherical trig as a teenager! 

    Dan Allen
    N39.997° W111.757°

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