A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2010 May 25, 19:23 -0700
I had a question off-list about the schedule for the Nav Weekend, so let me clarify. There WILL BE events and presentations on Friday June 4, but most of the presentations are scheduled for Saturday. So, if you can make it, and if you can afford to stay locally (or live locally and don't mind two days of commuting to Mystic), then by all means, come on down for Friday, too! At present, we are expecting a dozen or more people on Friday while a total of about twenty-five intend to be there on Saturday.
I've consolidated most of the priority presentations into Saturday. Gary's Bygrave talk has been moved to Saturday morning while his Earhart presentation remains in the same slot Saturday afternoon. I've split Brad Morris's talk and demo of his circle into two parts. We will have a second opportunity for lunars on the Mystic Seaport grounds just before lunch and I'm hoping (weather permitting) he'll be able to show the circle in action then. In the afternoon, he'll have a half-hour classroom presentation. The schedule is fairly solid right now, and if anything it might be expanded on Friday.
For reference, here's the schedule copied from the web page at fer3.com/mystic2010:
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
FRIDAY June 4, 2010:
Meet the Navigators
Planetarium Classroom (lower level, west side). Get your name badge, pay your attendance fee (if any), and meet your fellow navigation enthusiasts as well as Treworgy Planetarium staff, including R.M. "Max" Maxwell, Planetarium Manager.
Tour of the Collections Research Center
We'll get a behind-the-scenes look at the research center at Mystic Seaport, the museum within the museum, and if time permits, we will see some of the interesting navigational instruments in the collection. Mystic Seaport has required an additional fee for this tour of $10 per person.
A Textbook History of Bowditch's Navigator
Planetarium Classroom. A simple, bibliographic history of the "American Practical Navigator" by Nathaniel Bowditch from its beginnings as a revision of Moore's "New Practical Navigator" through the important editions published in his lifetime (through 1837) and on into the 19th and early 20th centuries when the publication was purchased by the US Government. Those attending will receive a DVD containing dozens of historical editions of Bowditch's Navigator (most of these are available on Google Books, but "local copies" are always nice to have).
A Special Event
TBA. We will have a media event two miles south of Mystic tonight if everything goes according to plan. This is open to all, and we would love to have a crowd.
Dinner in Noank
Friday's group dinner will be at �The Seahorse� in Noank, on West Cove. Please note that there will be no special activities during this dinner, but this will be an excellent opportunity to chat about navigation informally. Please expect to pay for your meal and drinks. Spouses and other guests are welcome.
SATURDAY June 5, 2010: EARLY MORNING SIGHTS
Shooting Lunars and Jupiter in Daylight
Eastern Point in Groton, about five miles from Mystic Seaport. Hands-on experience shooting lunars (weather permitting). Also a challenge to shoot Jupiter in daylight. We will meet by the benches in the small park at Eastern Point here: Latitude=41.3193� N, Longitude=72.0748� W.
SATURDAY June 5, 2010: MAIN PRESENTATIONS
Meet the Navigators
Planetarium Classroom (lower level, west side). For those who did not attend Friday's sessions, get your name badge, pay your attendance fee (if any), and meet your fellow navigation enthusiasts as well as Treworgy Planetarium staff, including R.M. "Max" Maxwell, Planetarium Manager.
Scandals among the Lunarians!
Planetarium Classroom. Was Nathaniel Bowditch a thief? Did he "mutilate" the work of another nautical astronomer? Did the world steal from Elford? What was up with the Baron de Zach? The early 19th century saw the art of navigation turned into science, and while it happened, clever men, and a few women, too, tried to make a living from mathematics. They fought for customers and occasionally attacked each other in words that would make the Internet blush. Frank Reed will present a broad discussion of navigation by "lunars" or "lunar distances" and the math that made it all work in the context of these scandals and intrigues.
The Bygrave Slide Rule and Sight Reduction
Planetarium Classroom. Gary Lapook will discuss the amazing Bygrave cylindrical slide rule and demonstrate his modern "Flat Bygrave" adaptation. The Bygrave rule was standard equipment aboard British aircraft and airships in the early days of aerial celestial navigation. It was a marvel of design which could clear a standard celestial sight faster than almost any other non-electronic means of clearing sights. We will all learn how to clear common altitude sights using this extraordinarily efficient method.
Channel Islands Navigation Tools
A presentation of some tools developed by Greg Rudzinksi for coastal and celestial navigation. Everyone will receive one of Greg's nicely-constructed "kamals" or one of his Polaris "Latitude Wheeler" cards. Greg will not be physically present for this presentation and will instead join us virtually from California by webcam or at least web audio.
Shooting Lunars, Round Two
North end of Mystic Seaport grounds. More hands-on experience shooting lunars (weather permitting). Brad Morris will also demonstrate his historic "reflecting circle" which he will talk about in detail later in the afternoon. Also a challenge to shoot Jupiter in daylight. Conditions are not as favorable at this time of day, near noon, so if you're interested in trying this with your own hands, please try to make it to the early morning session at Eastern Point (see 7:30am above).
Celestial Navigation on the Complex Plane
Planetarium Classroom. Robin Stuart will show how the use of complex numbers transforms the spherical trigonometry used in celestial navigation into plane trigonometry and makes calculations conceptually simpler and more compact. His paper on this topic was recently published in NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation. Detailed derivations will be avoided with the primary focus being on the application of the resulting simple formulas to classical problems in celestial navigation. Specific examples taken from 19th and early 20th century texts will be treated. Prior exposure to the basic arithmetic of complex numbers would be helpful.
A Prismatic Circle
Planetarium Classroom. Brad Morris will demonstrate his historic reflecting circle, an exotic and unusual 19th century navigational and astronomical instrument. The story of how he acquired this instrument is as interesting as the instrument itself and involves negotiations over its apperance in a cable tv program.
Lunars and Altitude Accuracy
A presentation by Frank Reed on the altitudes used in clearing lunar observations. This will include a derivation of the required accuracy limits and the remarkable "miracle" that applies to lunars measured around 90 degrees. Also, the amazingly easy method for clearing lunars requiring almost no trigonometry that follows from this fact and was completely over-looked in the period when lunars were practiced at sea.
The Celestial Navigation Aboard Earhart's Electra
Planetarium Classroom. Gary Lapook, a noted expert in the subject of aerial celestial navigation as practiced in the early and mid 20th century, will present an analysis detailing the issues of celestial navigation on the fated circumnavigation flight of Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan in 1937. In particular, Gary will discuss the observations that might have been possible approaching Howland Island, on the last leg of the voyage, when Earhart and Noonan's Lockheed Electra disappeared without a trace.
US Navy Navigation
Planetarium Classroom. CDR Mike Nielsen, USN (ret) will discuss his experiences in navigation, celestial and otherwise, during his decades of service in the US Navy.
Dinner in Mystic
Moorings Restaurant at the Hilton Mystic. A buffet group dinner. Please expect to pay a flat $30.00 for dinner, not including drinks. Please plan on staying for the after-dinner presentation. Everyone who attends the dinner will receive at least TWO free navigation books donated by David Burch of the Starpath School of Navigation and Ken Gebhart of Celestaire.
A Commercial Report on Celestial Navigation
After dinner, Hilton Mystic. Ken Gebhart will talk briefly about Celestaire and developments in the world of sextant sales.
The Navigation of H.M.S. Bounty
After dinner, Hilton Mystic. Frank Reed will give a brief account of the celestial navigation, including many lunars, aboard the infamous Bounty commanded by William Bligh from late 1787 until the mutiny in April 1789. Bligh was highly skilled in the methods of scientific navigation which were becoming prominent at this time.
If anyone has any questions at all, please speak up.
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