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    Re: book - the complete on-board celestial navigator
    From: Phil Guerra
    Date: 2003 Mar 23, 15:47 -0600

    First, I'm not a professional navigator, just very interested in learning
    all I can about the subject of celestial navigation.  To that end, I began
    researching information and collecting books on navigation.  I was drawn to
    the book you mentioned for the same reason, inclusion of an almanac for
    2003-2007, and hoped that this book would allow me to learn the process of
    sight reduction.
    I received the book, and briefly read through it.  On page 8, the author
    states "Before studying celestial navigation, the reader must be conversant
    with such basic navigational quantitative as latitude, longitude, azimuth,
    etc., and be able to plot the passage of a vessel and fix its position in a
    coastal situation."
    Well, gee, that means I bought the wrong book, because I thought part of
    studying a subject included not knowing something about it in the first
    place.  While I did know the basics regarding latitude, longitude, and
    azimuth, I am more than a little fuzzy on the etc. and plotting methods.  I
    thought that this book would clear it up, but I was mistaken.  It is more a
    book for an experience navigator.
    There's basically, no explanation regarding his methods, and derivation of
    his tables. The examples, he gives are so terse in explanation, that they
    are useless to the novice. (Note: I said novice).  So for me, it is totally
    useless at this point.  At some point down the line, I guess, it could be
    useful.  However, after a bit more research I've found that other books are
    more helpful.
    Now, I've purchased a copy of 'Practical Celestial Navigation' by Susan P.
    Howell.  This is a book I would highly recommend for learning the subject.
    While not exhaustive in approach, there are numerous examples, solutions,
    and table extracts to get a novice underway.
    I have a growing library of Nautical Books, now, including the Bowditch, and
    others.  They are great resources, but the Howell book is giving me the
    information in an easier to swallow method.  The other standard books are
    wonderful, and I've already got dog eared pages in them to prove it.
    While I was waiting for the Howell book to arrive, I was able to decipher
    the Ageton Dead Reckoning method, and created a spreadsheet to check my
    manual methods.  I'm currently coding web pages to present it on the
    Internet.  With the Howell book, I've learned how to plot a fix, and gaining
    insight into using my newly acquired sextant.  Anyway, hope this helped a
    little.  Avoid the frustration and get a copy of the Howell book, if you're
    a novice in search of a good how-to kind of book.
    I don't mean to offend the good Mr. Bennett, just hoping to keep others from
    being so frustrated that they lose interest.  Again, that's just my opinion
    as a novice, and I'll keep it in my resource library for use later.  Other
    more experienced in the subject may find it very useful, and that's great.
    Anything to advance the subject is good in the end. Right?
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Gerard Mittelstaedt" 
    Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2003 1:00 PM
    Subject: book - the complete on-board celestial navigator
    > Hi,
    >  I was looking for a downloadable version of
    > the Nautical Almanac and found
    > The complete on-board celestial navigator
    > by George G Bennett   isbn = 0-07-139657-8
    > listed on Amazon.com
    > The description said that it included an almanac
    > that was valid 2003 - 2007.
    > The price was modest (just under $20.00 US),
    > and I bought it.
    > First, I am not a celestial navigator.  Some years
    > ago I took a few sextant shots of the sun and
    > found S. Texas! ... by "cookbook" method - that
    > is, rigidly following formula - not necessarily
    > understanding.
    > The Almanac section of "The complete..." seems
    > to be abbreviated, and probably needs a lot of
    > interpolation for use.
    > The book is organized in 11 chapters, that can
    > be logically organized into sections on
    > - How to
    > - Almanac data, including
    >   Stars & Aries, Sun & planets, Moon
    > - "planning observations"
    > - sextant corrections
    > - the Marcq St.Hilaire Method -
    > and various tables and forms.
    > ------
    > Has anyone on this list ever used this
    > book?
    > It seems to pack a lot of information into
    > its 176 pages.  I suspect that to make it
    > work one needs to add some extended work
    > (interpolation etc.)
    > ---------------
    > Gerard Mittelstaedt    mitt@hiline.net
    > McAllen, Texas
    > USA

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