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    Re: Timing Noon
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2002 Apr 10, 09:20 +1000

    George Huxtable wrote:
    'the Sun must be on the meridian IF AND ONLY IF he is at a (known) longitude'
    The practical situation is being all at sea. The 'known' longitude is the DR
    assumption. Unlike celestial navigation (CN) generally (more on this below)
    this DR needs to be reasonably accurate for my postulated Noon Fix position.
    Assuming morning star sights were taken, followed by a Longitude Sun sight
    when the Sun's azimuth was at 90� (more below), and the boat has been heading
    in a constant direction at a known speed, without too much interference from
    current, assuming all this (phew!) then the DR should be accurate enough for a
    Fix - with the safeguard that if observations of meridian passage don't
    coincide with the exact, known, time then this is an indication that perhaps
    the DR is out, or something else is awry. What I was trying to say in the
    earlier posting was that one takes observations of the sun over the few
    minutes the Sun appears to hang in the sky, while knowing the exact moment it
    happens, providing the DR is good.
    Granted that I went a bit overboard about presumed accuracy while at sea.
    If the observer finds herself (or himself) at sea during summer in a wide
    range of Latitudes (reasonable enough assumption) then a Sun sight at 90� of
    aximuth will yield a position line (LOP) running north/south - in other words
    a meridian of Longitude. This can then be advanced to cross the Sun's meridian
    passage sight, which gives an east/west LOP, or Latitude line. Then later on
    in the afternoon the Sun's azimuth will be at 270�, leading to another
    Longitude LOP. And so we go on, constantly testing our DR assumption,
    constantly refining our calculated position.
    But what if we have no idea where we are to start with? I remember when
    studying CN (well, when starting this study) this bothered us all. What if
    there was this humungous storm? That went on for weeks? Followed by more weeks
    of fog? And then a monsoon? Where would we be then? Although the instructor
    was sceptical about our concerns he plotted a Fix using a DR some thousands of
    miles away. Obviously the intercepts were long. THEN he took the Fix and
    re-used it as a DR and re-plotted, and lo and behold, the result was quite
    acceptable. Since then I've used this simple technique myself, when trying to
    solve CN problems that deliberately don't give a DR position. With one, my
    first intercepts were 500 odd miles long, but the second calculation was close
    enough not to encourage me to do the process over again - in practice one
    would go with that until the next round of sights.
    Still have a query. To what extent could one use a calculated Longitude, such
    as the 90� and 270� azimuths, or perhaps meridian sights made on land, with
    north and south sticks in the ground if necessary, to ultimately set one's
    clock? This is where this is all going, to try to find a reasonably simple
    (sorry, lunatics) way to establish, and regulate, the Longitude/Time question.
    Bring back the Board of Longitude!
    'presumably Thornleigh, near Sydney' Very close, its actually Westleigh, about
    a mile to the north west, but as Westleigh is still, happily, mostly bush
    Thornleigh (with its railway station) is often the only suburb marked on maps.
    Peter Fogg
    George Huxtable wrote:
    > Peter Fogg had some kind words to say and then-
    > >The almanac contained within the electronic nav calculator I use gives
    > >me a precise moment for meridian passage of the Sun, according to the
    > >Lat/Long and date entered.
    > >
    > >For example, tomorrow Wednesday the 10 April, 2002
    >  at my position
    > >S33�44' E151�04, LAN occurs at 11h57m10s, the Zone Time is 10 hours
    > >ahead of GMT.
    > >I would be happy for anybody to check this data, any way you can, often
    > >wonder about just how accurate it is.
    > I have checked this prediction for local apparent noon on that date and at
    > Peter's location (presumably Thornleigh, near Sydney) on my own pocket
    > calculator. This was programmed using the data from Meeus "Astronomical
    > formulae for calculators", and hence Newcomb.
    > It gives me the same answer, within a second, as Peter obtained, i.e.
    > 01:57:10 GMT.
    > Where does this time derive from? At Greenwich, the Mean Sun passes the
    > meridian at 12 noon. Thornleigh is 151�04 further East in longitude, so at
    > 15� per hour, the mean Sun would transit the meridian there 10h 04min 16
    > sec earlier or at 01h 55min 44sec GMT. However, the equation of time is
    > then 1min 26sec, in the sense that the real Sun lags 1min 26sec behind the
    > mean Sun at that point of the year. The real Sun will then pass the
    > meridian of Thornleigh, and everywhere else on that same line of longitude,
    > at 01h 57min 10sec GMT. This is the GMT of Local Apparent Noon at
    > Thornleigh on that day.
    > >If correct, its a great asset, since it also gives me my precise GHA,
    > >and thus Longitude, at the moment of meridian passage, as confirmed by
    > >my (corrected for error) ship's clock.
    > I'm puzzled about this. If Peter had set up a couple of posts in his garden
    > on an exact North-South line, he would be able to tell when the Sun passed
    > the meridian. But otherwise, how can he tell it from the clock, even if
    > that clock has been set exactly to read GMT? If the clock reads 01:57:10,
    > then he knows the Sun must be on the meridian IF AND ONLY IF he is at a
    > longitude of E151�04. But if he isn't at that longitude, the Sun won't be
    > on the meridian. How can he tell if the Sun is on his meridian? He is
    > indulging in a circular argument, and assuming what he is trying to
    > measure, as I see it.
    > All Peter is able to measure accurately at noon is the Sun's altitude,
    > which taken with its declination will give him his latitude. Finding the
    > longitude to any accuracy requires a further measurement of Sun altitude,
    > earlier or later in the day (or both).
    > If I have completely missed the point of what Peter Fogg is explaining, I
    > hope he will forgive me and put me right.
    > George Huxtable.
    > ------------------------------
    > george@huxtable.u-net.com
    > George Huxtable, 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    > Tel. 01865 820222 or (int.) +44 1865 820222.
    > ------------------------------

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