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    Re: long lost lunars
    From: Bruce Stark
    Date: 2003 Dec 7, 17:49 EST

    Frank,
    
    In the way we work our lunars you and I are at different ends of the
    spectrum. I do everything the old way, not even graphing or plotting. I find it
    satisfying to work observations the way the old navigators did.
    
    But this approach is not going to take the world by storm. Most people shy
    away from anything that calls for a skill they don't already have, and the
    present generation has no skill at pencil-and-paper calculation. They've had no
    reason to develop it. The recruitment that will keep sextant navigation alive
    (and perhaps help put the history of navigation on an honest footing) will almost
    certainly come at your end of the spectrum.
    
    Obviously you know what you are talking about, and your advice on observing
    is quite sound.
    
    I was especially pleased by what you had to say about Maskelyne. I think you
    will find that most of us on the List feel the same way. Maskelyne is not the
    only one would benefit from a more knowledgeable assessment, but that's the
    place to begin.
    
    The only thing I take exception to is the idea that navigators had to have a
    chronometer to see them through the four days or so of the dark of the moon.
    Dead reckoning saw them through. Dead reckoning gave the continuity the
    chronometer provided for later generations. The purpose of nautical astronomy was
    simply to correct the reckoning now and then. That kept it from drifting
    dangerously far from the truth as the weeks and months went by.
    
    Bruce
    
    
    

       
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