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    Re: Timing Lunars with a Rock
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2005 Jul 19, 18:06 EDT

    George Huxtable wrote:
    "What a mess  listmembers would make of estimating time at an African lake,
    if that's the  best they can do between them!"
    Lucky for us then that the time machine  has not yet been invented. :-)
    Back to the historical context for a  moment, I found it just amazing that a
    longitude measurement of such import (at  the time) was accomplished with the
    help of a stone swinging on the end of a  string. I have not been able to
    confirm that this was really the case in the  specific situation described, but
    it's at least possible.
    Lunars were  apparently rather popular among European explorers/travelers in
    19th century  Africa. The famous David Livingstone apparently took hundreds of
    lunar  observations while he was roaming around southern Africa.
    Go here:  http://www.hti.umich.edu/ and click the "Making of America"
    collection. Enter  "lunars" as a search term. You'll find all sorts of references
    including the  tale of Livingstone's last travels and also a complete online
    edition of  Chauvenet's "Manual of Spherical and Practical Astronomy".
    42.0N  87.7W, or 41.4N 72.1W.

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