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    Re: star-to-star distances
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2004 Sep 30, 18:38 -0500

    Dear Fred,
    There are several points in your message I want to reply:
    On Thu, 30 Sep 2004, Fred Hebard wrote:
    > It's only recently that my
    > standard deviations have started coming in consistently under 0.2'
    As a mathematician, I don't like the standard deviation
    for suich small samples.
    What I do with multiple observations is this:
    1) first I plot the measured altitudes against time
    and see whether the dots are on the straight line.
    Usually most of the points fit a straight line well,
    with one, sometimes two relatively much off.
    Those which are clearly off the line should be discarded.
    They can be off only because of some mistake in the
    measurement or recording.
    The rest I average and then reduce the average.
    I mean this is what I would do in a "practical situation".
    In my current experiments, I reduce all observations,
    (except those rejected). Then obtain the average deviation,
    and for each observation compute the difference
    between the deviation derived from this observation and
    the average deviation.
    Then I consider the MAXIMAL difference as a measure of
    quality of my measurement.
    Something like this is recommended in several books.
    > to set the arc
    > slightly different from the final contact point, then wait for the
    > object to settle on the contact point.
    Yes, this I also do. So far I see no noticeable difference
    in the results
    between "bringing in contact" and "waiting for contact".
    > You can wait with stop watch in
    > hand and click it at the moment of contact.
    I don't like this because then I have to reset the stopwatch
    for each observation. (besides, I do not have a stopwatch:-)
    At the moment
    of contact,
    I say "Yes!" to myself (aloud) then quietly turn my face
    from the sextant to the watch, and look at the seconds first.
    Then I subtract one second (needed to say "Yes!" and turn my face).
    And record seconds first, then minutes then hour.
    > to record to the tenth of a second, which I haven't done thus far.
    Do you really think this may have any influence on your
    result? Let us count: 0.1sec=1.5"=0.025' and we agreed that
    a sextant scale can be read only up to 0.1'.
    So it seems that the tenths of a second are irrelevant.
    The Russian manual recommends to record the time to 0.5
    of a second
    > is that 30mm is good with a 6x scope and 35mm for a 7x scope,
    Actually there is an interesting point here.
    In this SNO-T certificate, it is written that the inverting
    scope has magnification "6 OR 7".
    I am not sure how to interpret this: they had two different
    models of scopes, or they did not care to measure magnification
    > Perhaps we can meet sometime at Purdue
    > when I go to see my daughter;
    > I'll bring my sextant.
    Oh, really?!! Don't forget to warn me by e-mail in advance
    so that I will give you my phone numbers!

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