A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Rommel John Miller
Date: 2016 Jan 27, 18:03 -0800
Anyone here get the Proceedings Magazine published by USNI (US NAVAL INSTITUTE)? I ask because I have not seen any chatter about CN in any of the recent issues. But I think if anyone goes to USNI.org they can submit an inquiry where one on the staff might be able to answer it. USNI is the publishing wing of the USNA and based in Annapolis and 100% Navy.
Seems to me that from an historical perspective the reason why many Middies aren’t well versed in CN when they grad to the fleet is that most of CN is taught OJT and through sea-conditions experience. Easier way to teach the idea of a bouncing horizon and to not confuse it with a wave is on the deck of a tossing and pitching boat or ship. Even calm sea undulations can produce anomalies which can confuse a novice shooting the noon sun or a star a night.
If a point of reference is required in order to get the precise reading, a good shot to the horizon is essential, and this confuses me as well as perplexes me when I see pictures of people taking sights and their sextants seem to be pointing up to the sun. The cover of Pike’s Sextant seems to have that as does the picture of the young woman on the NavList website. In the background we see a clearly discernable flat horizon, and yet she with the sextant aimed looks to be looking directly into the sun. Her smile suggests that it is fun and exciting to take a shot. However doing it every noon and at night every day you are at sea is not the “fun” experience she seems to be exuding. Gets pretty old and we all know that a Sextant while essential is only one part of the bigger picture to find your position.
Maybe I take things too seriously but if it is a science and exacting shouldn’t we be serious about it?
Rommel John Miller