Celestial Navigation at Night w/Air Almanac
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This DVD is a compilation of official USN training footage, previously unavailable in any other format but 16mm film, ordered from the U.S. Government's Film Archive. It prepares one to perform Celestial Navigation at night, using the moon, planets and navigational stars.
Part 1: THEORY
Basic concepts, refresher on Latitude, Longitude, GHA, LHA, Geographical Position, Zenith Distance
Part 2: THE HORIZON SYSTEM
Using a sextant to measure altitude of a celestial body. Includes discussion of how the Air Almanac can be used to find the relative position of celestial bodies with respect to your own vessel, + Introduction to the Celestial Line of Position
Part 3: THE INTERCEPT METHOD
Easy-to-understand demonstration of what the Celestial Triangle is, and necessary information to solve it by using the Air Almanac
Part 4: SOLUTION & PRACTICAL APPLICATION
Using concepts from the first 3 Parts, and a complete example of solving the celestial triangle through the 3 stages of Observation, Computation and Plotting.
Extra: as an added bonus, also included in this 2-hour program is "Pathfinders from the Stars," a feature film from the Department of Commerce, Coast and Geodetic Survey Division, that presents a history of Navigation
This program, as well as two others in the series, "Celestial Navigation for the Complete Idiot" and "Celestial Navigation: Sextant Use & the Sun Noon Shot" are produced by Magic Lamp Productions and feature skipper Gene Grossman.
All are available from Amazon - and more details can be seen at www.CelestialNavigation.com
When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.
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I second what the other reviewer has to say about the added feature of "History of Navigation." It may be a little interesting but it is not at all related to the study of celestial navigation. It is far more interesting in terms of what we were thinking about for high tech navigation ooptions in the days before GPS became a reality. Still I would have given the overall DVD 5 stars because the C. Nav instructional part is excellent and no one says you have to watch the extra feature; and unless you are just curious or bored I wouldn't bother.
Here is my rub:
THERE IS NOTHING SPECIFIC IN HERE ABOUT CELESTIAL NAVIGATION AT NIGHT !
In fact only the LISTING says "....Navigation at Night" the ACTUAL package for the DVD makes no such claim. So it isn't the producer's error, it is Amazon's listing error.
Celestial at night is a subject that no one seems to pay any attention to other than to say the horizon is unreliable for regular sextant sights without ever offering much insight as to why that would be so or what accuracy could be expected in moonlight conditions. If you are offshore away from city lights then three weeks out of four there is plenty of moonlight to see a horizon, so I was curious about why isn't it done? I have made passages when the availability of a clear sky and a clear horizon has eluded us for days on end. If my only opportunity was a night sight after a time like that you can bet I would take it.... but it would be nice to know what considerations/limitations/corrections to apply to the result. When I stumbled on this listing I thought there might be some subject mater on nighttime c. nav and I wanted to see what insights might have been offered. After all the Polynesians and the Arabs did it at night.... or so the lore tells us... so why not present day navigators?
Of course night sights are possible if you have a bubble horizon as would be always be used in aircraft and sometimes used as an accessory to marine sextants. Since this DVD is about aircraft celestial navigation I suppose you could argue that it would apply to night sights... but it isn't specific about night sights.
If you want a concise explanation of what the heck you are actually doing as you thumb through the almanac and the sight reduction tables, as well as a great explanation as to how to thumb through those tables, this is the best resource I have found to date. It really pulls it all together in a way that makes it make sense and instructional part is only 50 minutes long total. I'd bet you couldn't read and understand Mary Blewitt's fine and popular book on the subject in an hour!
If you were hoping for information specific to night sights, it isn't here.
They lost two stars with their last video which has nothing to do about anything called "Pathfinders From The Stars". It is an early 60's film presentation about one of our very first satelite navigation systems using cameras to take pics of a satellite and then compare it to stars. It is completely useless and pretty sure it was put in there as a time filler to say they have a _ hr video in their advertisements. They say it is useful in space exploration at the end and they show a Gemini capsule in orbit.