A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
Re: suggestion for a satisfactory celnav narrative
From: Andrew Corl
Date: 2005 Jun 1, 13:47 -0400
From: Andrew Corl
Date: 2005 Jun 1, 13:47 -0400
Dear Frank, Courtney, Jim, and anyone else who cares to read this >How many books constitute a plethora?
More seriously, which books have >you enjoyed? Which did you find less satisfactory? Can you pinpoint any >features that worked or didn't work for you?? For me a plethora of books is over a dozen, and portions of a dozen more. Specific things that did or did not work out is hard to pinpoint. I would come to a point where I was frustrated and throw a book across the room. What I need for learning is a sort of step by step process to do things. Once I have the process down and can reference one statement, I should be able to do fine with my navigation. Courtney wrote: >" I'd like to suggest a group project of >composing a "minimal" narrative of the essentials of celestial >navigation " Frank wrote: It's feasible but first you have to define: what is the 'minimal' narrative of celestial navigation? Latitude and longitude by Noon Sun can be taught in one long afternoon. That's 'minimal' and you can sail around the world using it (if you're feeling reckless and choose to leave your GPS at home). But most navigators who learned the art of celestial navigation in the late 20th century would be repelled by this choice of 'minimal' cel nav because they learned, what I call, "apex celestial navigation"--the extremely stable set of celestial navigation tools and ideas that appeared c.1958 and lasted through the obsolescence of the system four decades later. This "apex celestial" takes maybe 8 or 10 long afternoons to learn, and it's naturally much more involved. Do you need that? Does the student sitting next to you need that? And the one sitting next to him?? My Reply: For Courtney, I am raising my hand to help with this. Don't know what I can do but here is a list of techniques I feel should be in the manual: Dead Reckoning Latitude by Noon Sun Longitude using a shortwave radio and the noon sun Sextant operation and how to determine the elevation above the horizon of the sun, moon, star, and planet Sight reduction using H.O. 249 - method I am presently learning Sight reduction doing all the math (the "apex of celestial navigation" according to Frank) Feel free to add to it as any and all feel necessary. For Frank, I don't think we are attempting to come up with the definitive text on Celestial Navigation. What I envision this being is a simple and accurate manual explaining what to do where numbers come from etc., and maybe not so much emphasis on the theory as to why things work, just that they do work. Again, I will echo Courtney's comments and operate on the assumption that we are adults and know something about safety. Frank wrote: Generally speaking, there are a thousand different students with a thousand different skill-sets and educational backgrounds to bring to bear, and each of those has different goals, too. For each of them, there is a unique, ideal 'minimal narrative'. Maybe we need an expert system that builds a textbook based on each student's answers to a dozen questions (I'm serious --that's a real possibility). In the absence of the perfect text for every student, there are numerous books that do an excellent job of reaching some large fraction of celestial navigation student 'population'. Three I can think of: Howell's "Practical Celestial Navigation" Whitney and Wright's "Learn to Navigate" (by the tutorial system developed at Harvard) Mixter's "Primer of Navigation" But that's just three out of dozens and dozens of options... My reply: Yes there are a thousand different students with a thousand different skill sets, but let's see if we can come up with something simple and easy to use that is at least a start to wet the whistle of the interested novice and challenge the expert to help us all. As to your suggestion of answers to a dozen different questions, yes I think that is a wonderful idea and should be put together by those of you who are experts, I am not. The list of three texts you have suggested, I will look into to help me with my own problems, who knows maybe one of those will be a "Holy Grail" and suddenly I will see the light and all will become clear. As I said Courtney I am raising my hand to help with this and will attempt to come up with an outline for some of the problems I am having. As I get things written I will post them somewhere (not that far yet) and let all of you "shred" I mean edit the document. Andrew