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    On polar nav
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2002 Sep 12, 08:18 +1000

     Am reading 'Robert E. Peary at the North Pole' A Report to the National
    Geographic Society by The Foundation for the Promotion of the Art of
    It has, not unexpectedly, much data on the navigation involved. There is
    a map showing his track, which indicates he over-ran his latitude by a
    few miles (kept going north until he was heading south again) and the
    implication is that this ensured he reached the pole, given the
    limitations of his instruments - within about 5 miles.
    This raises a question, which was put as an assertion by a 'reliable
    source' - that the thing to do, and the thing done, was to set out from
    the polar camp and follow a circle around it, so that the actual pole,
    if a little way off, would be encompassed and any subsequent doubts
    about exact postion would
    be laid to rest. The book doesn't mention this, although the track on
    the map indicates Peary was off a little to one side (to the left while
    facing north).
    Some time ago there was some discussion on the list about polar
    navigation. Amundsen apparently camped and measured the sun's altitude
    thoughout the day. Although I have no reason to doubt that these
    measurements were taken with great care surely there would be a
    practical limit to just how precise a spot they could indicate.
    Does anybody know whether Amundsen did send out a party to circle his
    polar camp? I know Scott found Amundsen's black tent and accepted this
    as the pole, so I guess he didn't describe any circles.

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