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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Celestial Navigation 101: Introduction

Strait of Magellan draws a fairly diverse readership from across a pretty broad spectrum of industries and interests. It isn't uncommon to get lively discussions here between career mariners and rocket scientists and astrophysicists, sometimes on the same topic. Which is great, but it occasionally provides a challenge in keeping posts, if not directly relevant to each reader's primary interests, at least comprehensible. It isn't as difficult in cases like space science, where I myself am just an amateur and a hobbyist. If anything, I'm surprised on the rare occasions that I have anything to contribute to the discussion at all. However, in some fields, including celestial navigation, I am more comfortable claiming some modicum of expertise. And some of the readers here are rather more expert than myself in these fields, so I occasionally find myself writing to that niche.

Last night I was working on a fairly lengthy post which fell into that category. It discussed some departures from standard celestial navigation protocols which I thought would at least generate some interesting discussion. However, as I was writing the post, I found myself stopping to explain the rudiments of celnav every other paragraph or so, in order to keep the post somewhat readable to more than two or three celnav geeks who read this blog. This very rapidly derailed the post.

Coincidentally yesterday, I was going back and looking at some earlier celnav posts, and saw a note from Lefwyn asking if I could provide a basic primer on celestial navigation for the non-navigation types.

So, with these two things in mind, I'm beginning a series of very rudimentary discussions of the underlying principles of celestial navigation here. This may lead into similarly rudimentary discussions of actual techniques.

I'm going to be creating some new illustrations in MS Paint to go along with this. They won't be pretty, and the creation of them may slow things down a bit, but I think they'll be helpful in the long run. And as an added bonus, I'll be able to utilize them in my classroom courses.

This series of posts will be tagged "Celestial Navigation 101", so that eventually they will be an easily accessible online resource for anyone interested in such things.

More to come.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks I just started getting into this stuff and these posts are seeming to be very helpful