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    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2004 Sep 26, 18:35 -0500

    Soviet Star Globe
    Two days ago I received a Soviet star globe.
    I feel this device is rare in the West nowadays,
    so I am describing it in detail.
    In the end of this message I share
    some info
    on finding and purchasing these globes.
    1. Star globes solve the same problems as Rude Star Finders,
    but they do it faster, more conveniently and more precisely.
    The only disadvantage seems to be the size: it fits in the box
    of roughly 9.5 x 9.5 x 10 inches and weights 10 lb.
    (So it is not for small yachts:-) but I imagine that on an
    aircraft carrier this would be a very handy device.
    Soviets had it as a standard equipment.
    A star globe permits you to solve all Celestial nav
    problems in few seconds, without any calculation, and
    the precision seems to be about 0.5d.
    Soviet ones come with certificate which says: the error of
    the arcs division is  at most 0.1d.
    The Russian manual (that I read in my childhood) mentions
    two main uses.
    First, for planning observations. You set it on your approximate
    lattitude and local time of observation.
    It shows you the REAL picture of the sky at this time and lattitude.
    Second, for identifying stars and planets. For example, in a cloudy
    weather you suddenly spot a star in the hole between clouds.
    You take its altitude, whithout knowing which star or planet it is.
    Then you look at the globe and identify it.
    One advantage in comparison with the Star Finder is that the
    Globe permits, for example, to find approximate
    star distances and lunar
    distances to pre-set your sextant (within 0.5 d).
    Then catching two bodies
    70 degrees apart makes no problem.
    It is easy to describe many more uses: it just solves any
    spherical triangle instantenously, with about 0.5 d precision.
    2. The globe conststs of the sphere made of some hard material, maybe
    wood, I am not sure. Stars are drawn on the surface (Hayer names),
    as well as the equator and ecliptic circle, divided in degrees.
    You can mark Sun, Moon and planets with a pencil. Time
    is also marked along the equator.
    The globe itself is pivoted inside the meridian ring.
    It is made of brass, with marking for degrees.
    This assembly (the globe and the meridian ring) is inserted in a wood box,
    in such a way that you can install the globe axis according to
    your lattitude. So that when it is installed correctly, the
    axis of the globe is parallel to the axis of rotation of the
    Celestial Sphere over your head. Then you rotate the globe about
    its own axis to set the local time.
    On top of this assembly there are two brass altitude/azymuth
    rings which
    form a cross of two perpendicular semi-circles supported
    by a horizontal circle. This cross-assembly
    can be rotated in the horizontal plane. Finally there is a sharp
    pointer that you can move on this cross semi-circles
    to point at a star precisely.
    The azimuth is then read on a brass horizontal circle attached
    to the box.
    3. As I understand, a slightly different model (aliminium instead
    of brass, and different configuration of circles) is produced now
    by Freiberger, or maybe they just sell from their warehouse:-)
    The price of a new Freiberger is $1675.
    IMPORTANT: Russian globes are of two types:
    with Latin and Cyrillic inscriptions (names of constellations)!
    Most of the globes on e-bay have Cyrillic inscriptions.
    Typical e-bay price is $300-$400 (add shipping and wire transfer!)
    All Russian and Ukrainian
    e-bay sellers mentioned in my previous messages
    have many of Cyrillic ones, one of them has 4 Latin ones,
    e-mail me if you want to know which one. (I do not want to advertise
    anything on this list:-)
    Once I saw on e-bay a British-made
    globe by Hughes, of 1930-s, which seems
    to be identical to the Russian one
    I described. It was sold for over $700, if I remember correctly.
    4. I bought my one from a British e-bay seller. And it was damaged,
    probably during transportation. The common fault of all Soviet
    devices I have is a pine box. And again one clamp broke during
    transportation (as it happened with my Soviet sextant).
    As a result, one of the globe pivots
    (a tiny metal screw, of unusual form made by Soviet standards) broke, and I spent two
    days looking for replacement:-( Finally I had to MAKE one
    myself! Now I repaired it, and tested, and excited and writing this
    Conclusion: When you pack Soviet equipment, do NOT rely on the clamps:
    put foam INSIDE the box!

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