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    From: Ken Gebhart
    Date: 2004 Sep 26, 21:43 -0500

    on 9/26/04 6:35 PM, Alexandre Eremenko at eremenko@MATH.PURDUE.EDU wrote:
    > 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
    > report:-)
    > Conclusion: When you pack Soviet equipment, do NOT rely on the clamps:
    > put foam INSIDE the box!
    > Alex.
    About the Star Globe,
    For several years during the seventies we offered this globe in our catalog.
    We got them through a British firm because of the cold war conditions. The
    globe was quite nice, with cyrillic lettering on a yellow or gold colored
    globe, in the same pine box you mention. The Freiberger globe was ok, but
    where the gores were butted against each other on the substrate, the joints
    pushed out so that the globe was not smooth.  This made the Russian globe
    far superior to the German one for esthetic reasons.
    Although the globes have never been popular (or even known) in the West, we
    still get requests for them from Navies in Asia (such as India, Thailand and
    Ken Gebhart

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