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    Re: which sextant is this...?
    From: Sandy King
    Date: 1997 Jul 27, 8:22 AM

    On July 11 Ken Gebhard wrote:
    
    >The sextant about which you inquire is (as you suspect) a Russian Navy
    >sextant which goes by the official name of SNO-T.  This is pronounced
    >SNO-T, and is sometimes erroneousnly called this.  I visited the factory
    >in Russia where it was made in 1993.  At that time it was sold through
    >an English dealer who marketed it as the CETUS sextant.  He obliterated
    >all markings that could identify it as Russian made, and frankly implied
    >that his Firm made it.  The sextant also appeared at a few places in
    >Europe (mostly France) under the name of ZVEZDA in a beautifully
    >finished wooden box.  It retailed for from US$600 (CETUS) to $1000
    >(ZVEZDA).  In 1994, the factory raised their wholesale prices to the
    >point that the sextant could not be competative with others such as the
    >Freiberger (Zeiss), and the Astra IIIB.  The sextant is claimed to be
    >very rugged, but otherwise has nothing to recommend it except as a
    >curiosity.  I have seen some with a huge amount of backlash.  Further,
    >the fact that it could not be returned to its box without first removing
    >the telescope made it unpopular with European clientelle.
    >Ken Gebhart  http://Celestaire.com
    
    
    I have just returned from a vist of several weeks to St. Petersburg,
    Russian. While there I purchased from a stall vendor (who specialized in
    old cameras) a CTO-T sextant (stamped with date of manufacture of 1988),
    for about $150. It is a brass sextant, farily heavy, coated with an
    aluminium colored paint. The wooden box is aluminium cover on the outside,
    while the inside is painted yellow.
    
    The appearence of this sextant suggests that it is a sturdy, no-frills,
    model. It is of substantial weight and seems very well put together. The
    design of the release of the index arm is quite different from anything I
    have seen before. However, the release and gearing mechanism seems to work
    well and backlash does not appear to be a probelm on this specimen. Another
    interesting feature is that instead of a vernier read-out for tenths of
    minutes, there is instead a small magnifiying glass which swings into place
    over the minute read-out by which one visually interpolates to readings of
    tenths. However, there is no reason a vernier read-out could not have also
    been provided and I may eventually make the necessary calculations and add
    this feature.
    
    I own a Heath sextant, manufactured in England around 1978, and have worked
    with a number of other metal sextants, including the Astra IIIb. However,
    at this point I have not done enough work with the CTO-T to make any
    comments regarding how it may compare with others.
    
    Sandy King
    
    
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