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    Re: Weekend Class: celestial navigation - 19th century methods
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2010 Feb 18, 17:24 -0000

    My reaction to Frank's posting of the syllabus of his class on 19th century
    celestial navigation is this: It looks exactly right, and should be of great
    interest and value to all concerned.
    Perhaps, while the classmembers are taking their observations, someone will
    be standing by, to add a bit of verisimilitude, with a bucket of cold
    seawater, to hurl into their faces when not expected. And their arithmetic
    should be done, down below, by the light of a suitably dim candle, on a
    Anyway, I hope a lot of Navlisters, and others, will sign up for it, and
    wish the class clear skies, and every success.
    contact George Huxtable, at  george@hux.me.uk
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Frank Reed" 
    Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:35 AM
    Subject: [NavList] Weekend Class: celestial navigation - 19th century
    I will be teaching a two-day class in 19th century celestial navigation
    methods March 27-28, 2010 at the Planetarium at Mystic Seaport in Mystic,
    Connecticut. This course is appropriate for beginning students as well as
    navigators familiar with modern techniques interested in historical methods.
    Details on cost and how to sign up may be found here:
    To register for this class, on the web page above, scroll up to the top of
    the page and look for the details in the right-hand margin.
    A two-day weekend class devoted to the history and practice of celestial
    navigation as it was done aboard the whaling vessel Charles W. Morgan during
    the second half of the 19th century.
    Students will learn details of the practical techniques, both the
    sight-taking methods and the mathematics, of navigation using the Sun and
    stars aboard 19th century sailing vessels. The instructor, who has
    extensively studied the navigation methods in the surviving logbooks of
    Mystic Seaport's whaleship Charles W. Morgan, will recount some of the
    history of the whaling voyages and teach students exactly how the Sun and
    Moon were used to navigate in the 19th century. The Charles W. Morgan,
    currently undergoing an extensive three-year restoration, is not only the
    centerpiece of Mystic Seaport's collection, but also a prototypical whaling
    vessel of the 19th century. The celestial navigation methods used aboard the
    Charles W. Morgan were typical of most American whaling vessels in this
    period. After this class, students will have in-hand the practical skills of
    19th century navigation, fun and useful for practical navigators, navigation
    enthusiasts, as well as the professional or armchair historian.
    This class is appropriate for adults as well as younger students with good
    basic math skills. If you can add and subtract, you can do celestial
    navigation. A basic understanding of latitude and longitude are the only
    prerequisites for this class. Traditional 19th century celestial navigation
    occasionally uses technical astronomical and mathematical terminology like
    right ascension and
    logsecant, but have no fear, all of these will be explained.
    Students will learn how to take and clear a meridian latitude sight for
    "latitude by Noon Sun", the single most important sight in the history of
    celestial navigation. Students will also learn how to take and clear a "time
    sight" or "longitude by chronometer" sight which was the workaday method of
    19th century navigation. Students will also be taught basic sight-taking
    procedures using an actual 19th century brass sextant or ebony octant from
    the instructor's personal collection.
    This class isn't just "about" navigation. You will walk away with the skills
    to do it yourself. A student who completes this two-day course will be
    proficient in the basic skills of 19th century celestial navigation and
    could successfully navigate across an ocean today, with a good dose of luck,
    using these historical methods. Students will also have an understanding of
    the navigation of the Charles W. Morgan, as it was actually done, as seen in
    the primary source evidence of the surviving logbooks.
    DAY ONE: two three-hour sessions. Topics covered: Noon Sun, 19th century
    approaches to Noon Sun sights, latitude sailing, the essential aspects of
    finding longitude, navigation on the Charles W. Morgan's maiden voyage
    1841-45 as understood from the logbooks. An opportunity to take actual
    sights, weather-permitting.
    DAY TWO: two three-hour sessions. Topics covered: review of altitude
    corrections, applies to latitude and longitude sights. Clearing a time sight
    using simple tables, how to practice 19th century navigation in the 21st
    century, the limitations of these methods and their relationship to modern
    navigation, navigation on the Charles W. Morgan's last 19th century voyage
    as understood from the logbooks, an opportunity for sight-taking,
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