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Easy Introductory Celestial Navigation

March 16 - March 17

An easy introduction to the basic principles of celestial navigation from a modern perspective designed for boaters as well as long-distance hikers, cross-country explorers, and other wayfinders. Also appropriate for anyone interested in a quick overview of the science of celestial navigation. We’ll also discuss celestial navigation options for the Marion-Bermuda Race, which takes place in June of this year.

This class covers the classic, time-honored method of finding latitude by Noon Sun and longitude by observations before and after noon (including frequently neglected corrections for motion of the observer). We’ll also learn how to use the Sun and stars as an accurate compass: how to determine direction using the belt of Orion, Polaris, and other stars. We’ll explore a diverse collection of modern celestial tricks and cross-checks to validate your electronic navigation. Weather permitting, class participants will have opportunities to experiment with sextant observations.

Requirements: Basic addition and subtraction, good familiarity with latitude and longitude.

Recommended for ages 18 and up, students as young as age 10 welcome.

Course is taught by Frank Reed, a gifted teacher and a recent guest “expert in celestial navigation” on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “StarTalk” science talk show on The National Geographic Channel.