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    Smog and celestial navigation?!
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2010 Feb 1, 19:18 -0800

    In a letter to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, April 5, 1976, I found a fascinating, and so "70s", theory about the possible obsolescence of celestial navigation. The letter is advocating "Omega" and says,
    "An alternative to sextant navigation has to be installed worldwide before the growing atmospheric pollution renders the sextant obsolete."
    And:
    "The periods of twilight have always been limited to a very few minutes. In the past 10 years, this period has been reduced to such an extent that it is already extremely difficult, in fact frequently impossible, to fix the ship's position at twilight.
    I refer specifically to the northern hemisphere from about the latitude of 10 degrees north. It seem to me, and I can only base this on what I have seen in 20 years of ocean navigation, that something is happening in the atmosphere up north."

    It sounded to me almost like some lines from "On the Beach," and at first I dismissed this as the rantings of a kook (and he may still be), but this guy was quite serious. So... does anyone on NavList think that smog has obscured the horizon significantly in the past few decades? I could imagine that it's a real issue in some local areas. Is celestial navigation today less viable today than it was fifty or sixty years ago because of smog obscuring the horizon??

    -FER


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