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    Re: sight reduction calculator
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2008 Jan 27, 21:52 -0500

    Here's my review of Luis Soltero's presentation on the StarPilot from the
    Celestial Navigation Weekend at Mystic Seaport back in June, 2006:
     "Luis Soltero,  mathematician, software developer, and a highly experienced
    sailor, delivered an  hour-long presentation on the development of his
    StarPilot navigation software.  His philosophy for this product makes a lot
    of sense. It runs on off-the-shelf  calculators (the excellent TI-89 is the
    current platform) and provides the  navigator with the perfect celestial
    backup. He assumes that very few navigators  will practice enough to be
    proficient with paper tables (or even have them  onboard) when an emergency
    demands them, so he has designed the StarPilot  software to be intuitive,
    easy-to-use, and completely independent of other  sources of navigational
    information. There is also a PC version which is essentially an emulation of
    the calculator version. Luis has created an  excellent sight planning tool
    for selecting twilight stars in advance. He also includes a simple tool for
    working lunars, but this is more of a "just for fun" tool without sufficient
    accuracy. The StarPilot software includes a long-term almanac, but I should
    say that I am skeptical of its accuracy outside the twenty year period from
    1990 to 2010. That, of course, does not diminish its practical  utility at
    all, and it's a great piece of work. It was fascinating to learn  about it
    from the developer himself."
    
    I do strongly recommend it (except for the minor issue with historical data
    as mentioned above). On their web site
    http://www.starpilotllc.com/starpilot_pc.htm you can request a trial code
    for the PC version to check out its functionality. I don't remember whether
    it handles bubble sextant Sun sights, but I suspect that it does. You could
    also email him and ask.
    
    Luis' logic for using the TI-89 is quite sensible: it's standard
    off-the-shelf hardware, available in practically any electronics store on
    Earth. The thing is nearly indestructible, but if you should happen to lose
    it, you can just buy a new one and re-install the software in a few minutes.
    
     -FER
    
    
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