Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 14-10-2015, 17:08   #16
Senior Cruiser
 
StuM's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Port Moresby,Papua New Guinea
Boat: FP Belize Maestro 43
Posts: 6,713
Re: Back to Celestial

But from another report:
"http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/10/14/fearing_hacking_us_navy_resumes_sextants/"

"The new seamen and women won't be having too tough a time of it. While they will learn how to take positions using the sextant, the actual calculations from log tables to show where the ship is will be handled by a computer,"


__________________

__________________
StuM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 02:13   #17
Moderator
 
weavis's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: SEVILLE - MALLORCA
Posts: 10,140
Send a message via Skype™ to weavis
Sextant training reinstated

Seeing stars, again: Naval Academy reinstates celestial navigation

Lt. Christine Hirsch, who teaches navigation at the Naval Academy, explains methods of celestial navigation taught to midshipmen this year. The threat of cyber warfare has led academy officials to reinstate instruction in celestial navigation, the ancient methods of steering a ship by the stars.

You can't hack a sextant: Navy thwarts hackers by going old school
The same techniques guided ancient Polynesians in the open Pacific and led Sir Ernest Shackleton to remote Antarctica, then oriented astronauts when the Apollo 12 was disabled by lightning, the techniques of celestial navigation.

A glimmer of the old lore has returned to the Naval Academy.

Officials reinstated brief lessons in celestial navigation this year, nearly two decades after the full class was determined outdated and cut from the curriculum.

That decision, in the late 1990s, made national news and caused a stir among the old guard of navigators.

Maritime nostalgia, however, isn't behind the return.

Rather, it's the escalating threat of cyber attacks that has led the Navy to dust off its tools to measure the angles of stars.

After all, you can't hack a sextant.


This 1940s sextant is among the supply stored at the Naval Academy. Midshipmen were tested on celestial navigation for more than a century before the required class was cut in the late 1990s.

"We went away from celestial navigation because computers are great," said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Rogers, the deputy chairman of the academy's Department of Seamanship and Navigation. "The problem is," he added, "there's no backup."

Among the fleet, the Navy ended all training in celestial navigation in 2006, said Lt. Cmdr. Kate Meadows, a Navy spokeswoman. Then officers' training returned in 2011 for ship navigators, she said. And officials are now rebuilding the program for enlisted ranks; it's expected to begin next fall.

"There's about 10 years when the Navy didn't teach to celestial," said Rogers, the Naval Academy instructor. "New lieutenants, they don't have that instruction."


Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Rogers demonstrates how to use a sextant at the Naval Academy. Rogers developed lesson plans this year for the reinstatement of celestial navigation, an ancient practice seeing a resurgence today because of the threat of cyber attacks.

The Navy also began pilot programs this fall in celestial navigation for ROTC students at colleges in Philadelphia, Rochester and Auburn.

In Annapolis, midshipmen studied celestial navigation more than a century, until 1998. So what happened?

The Air Force.

In the 1990s, airmen launched two dozen satellites nearly 13,000 miles above Earth. By 1995, this network, the Global Positioning System, could pinpoint your location within feet.

Since then, GPS has never been shut off, according to the government's website gps.gov.

Today, 31 satellites circle the Earth, each twice a day, costing taxpayers about $1 billion a year.

"The perceived need for sextants was taken away," said Peter Trogdon, president of Weems & Plath in Eastport.

The company has sold sextants, and other nautical instruments, since it was founded in 1928 by Naval Academy navigation instructor Capt. Phillip Van Horn Weems. He taught Charles Lindbergh navigation during the pioneer days of aviation.

The current president, Trogdon, said sales of sextants plunged after GPS.

"There's only a few thousand sold a year," he said. A lightning strike to a ships' mast could disable GPS receivers. "Most of those are sold to yachtsmen that want to have a backup."

Still, GPS has transformed humanitarian and rescue efforts around the world.

Celestial navigation, by comparison, isn't exact. A skilled celestial navigator may calculate locations to within 1.5 miles, Rogers said.

Using GPS "you're within feet. You're not even in the same ballpark. If you can use GPS, it's just so much more accurate," Rogers said, adding, "we know there are cyber vulnerabilities."

In 2004, he spent two weeks at Naval Station Norfolk studying stars — Betelgeuse, Capella, Pollux — before navigating aboard the cruiser Thomas S. Gates.

He didn't once need a sextant.

Still, a world without GPS isn't too remote a possibility for retired Navy Capt. Terry Carraway, of Silver Spring.

He formed the nonprofit Navigation Foundation in the early 1980s to sustain proficiencies in celestial navigation. That organization peaked with more than 500 navigators, he said.

"In the event that we had to go into a national emergency, we would probably have to shut the GPS down because it can be used by potential enemies," he said. "It would be pretty hard to train a lot of people in celestial navigation, so we wanted to keep contact with all the people who taught it."

The foundation disbanded in 2002.

"The old celestial navigators all passed away," said Carraway, 88.

Cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, used to have a course devoted entirely to celestial navigation. It ended about 10 years ago, said David Santos, the academy spokesman.

Some classroom instruction remains in theories of celestial navigation, Santos said. Also, cadets use a sextant aboard the tall ship Eagle.

Instructors at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, in Kings Point, New York, have continuously taught celestial navigation, said Benjamin Benson, the academy spokesman. In fact, instructor Capt. Timothy Tisch shared materials to help the Naval Academy rebuild its program.

Benson provided a statement from Tisch:

"Knowledge of celestial navigation in the GPS era provides a solid back-up form of navigation in the event GPS becomes unreliable for whatever reason," Tisch said in the statement. "It is also good professional practice to use one navigational system to verify the accuracy of another."

In Annapolis, celestial navigation instruction ended loudly.

The Capital reported in June 1998:

"First came the old salts, who fear the military school will no longer produce 'real' sailors. Knowing how to navigate by the stars, they say, is the mark of a mariner. Then came the profit-seekers, who asked if they could inherit the academy's $1,500 sextants. Such devices, inquirers said, would be a nice addition to their museum, a nice mantle piece, or of some use out on the yacht." (The academy still has its sextants, Rogers said.)

The decision to cut the academy's long-standing class on celestial navigation was even raised in a New York Times editorial calling the move "a melancholy surprise."

Still, that decision came after months of discussion that began with a 1996 curriculum review. That review came partly in response to a cheating scandal in the early 1990s that ended with 24 midshipmen expelled.

The review committee decided the required sophomore course on navigating by stars was outdated. Then-Superintendent Adm. Charles Larson, after consulting with commanders of Navy ships, cut the course and added extra lessons on computer navigation.

Midshipmen were relieved. Celestial calculations were painfully difficult, requiring a nautical almanac and volumes of tables. Still, the news caused more than a dozen letters to the editor in Proceedings, the magazine devoted to naval service.

"It fired people up," Fred Rainbow, the magazine's editor then, told The Capital.

Some lessons continued, but instruction in celestial navigation ended entirely within years. The 2010 curriculum manual didn't even mention celestial navigation.

Five years later, the Navy reinstated the subject in the manual issued two months ago.

The first midshipmen to receive training were juniors during this past summer school. Future classes will learn theories of celestial navigation during an advanced navigation course. And the Class of 2017 will be the first to graduate with the reinstated instruction.

But it's only three hours of celestial navigation — so students won't be skilled with sextants.

"This is the first semester we added it in, so we're just baby-stepping it," said Lt. Christine Hirsch, who teaches navigation at the academy. "We just added the theory, but we really do have the capabilities to expand."

Still, it's welcome news to maritime enthusiasts.

"Fantastic," said Trogdon, the president of Weems & Plath. "How cool is it to go back to the ancestral technique?"

Rogers at the Naval Academy said, "That's a victory. I agree with them. I think, if you're out at sea, you should be able to navigate without GPS — things happen."

In the 1990s, midshipmen were tested on the sextant. They took celestial measurements, then entered data, sometimes 20 figures, for each star, time, distance, angle.

This year, Midshipman Phillip Lowry, of North Ogden City, Utah, learned the general theory of celestial navigation. He considered those past mids.

"I don't envy them."

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/n...009-story.html
__________________

__________________
- Never test how deep the water is with both feet -
10% of conflicts are due to different opinions. 90% by the tone of voice.
Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.
weavis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 02:46   #18
Moderator
 
carstenb's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2012
Location: Copenhagen
Boat: Jeanneau Sun Fast 40.3
Posts: 4,941
Images: 1
Re: Back to Celestial

Does this mean that those of us that know how to use a sextant are now absolved of being dinosaurs?
__________________
I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted - Elmore Leonard
carstenb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 02:47   #19
Moderator
 
weavis's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: SEVILLE - MALLORCA
Posts: 10,140
Send a message via Skype™ to weavis
Re: Back to Celestial

Quote:
Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Does this mean that those of us that know how to use a sextant are now absolved of being dinosaurs?
No. But it is more difficult for you with short arms.

__________________
- Never test how deep the water is with both feet -
10% of conflicts are due to different opinions. 90% by the tone of voice.
Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.
weavis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 05:40   #20
Registered User
 
transmitterdan's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2011
Boat: Valiant 42
Posts: 4,028
Re: Back to Celestial

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Sorry, which navy now directs missiles with celestial positioning ? Maybe dead reckoning too...?

Deck officers have more things to learn than semaphore morse code and smoke signals no matter how romantic the notion
Almost no GPS guided munitions are used nowadays. The enemy has figured out how to fake the GPS signals and thus render the GPS guidance useless. So most weapons are designed for laser and inertial guidance as well as other "signals of opportunity". This is a hot topic within certain military organizations.
__________________
transmitterdan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 05:47   #21
Registered User
 
transmitterdan's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2011
Boat: Valiant 42
Posts: 4,028
Re: Back to Celestial

It is easy to spoof or jam GPS, albeit in a small area, and the Navy is doing everything it can to combat that reality. But GPS jamming costs a lot of money and exposes oneself to attack so it's unlikely that yachts will be affected by this threat. In fact, actions being taken by the military to negate the threat of GPS jamming makes it less likely any of us will see any problem. After all, if some would be hacker knows all that effort will go to waste they are less likely to spend the time and $ in the first place. So while this news may give some satisfaction to the "dinosaurs" among us it does not mean we all need to run out and buy a sextant.
__________________
transmitterdan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 07:53   #22
Registered User
 
jreiter190's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Melbourne, Fl., Patrick Airforce Marina
Boat: 1965 Pearson Alberg 35 #190
Posts: 322
Re: Back to Celestial

Simon Sez, thanks for the kind words. I was fortunate to be on a small ship (LST) with a small Operations Dept. We only had four QMS aboard so, although I was only an E3, I was required to have the skills of an E6. On a Cruiser, I would have been a brass polisher. As it was, I polished brass, corrected chart portfolios, did synoptic weather, was the unrep helmsman, the GQ helmsman, and stood Quartermaster of the watch. I'm eternally grateful for the training I received, not only as a navigator, but in seamanship. It never occurred to me that the Navy would ever shelve celestial. I consider GPS God's gift to the human race to make amends for all the **** He's put us through. (Voice from Above ) "At least you idiots will know where you are!". If the windjammer sailors had access to self tailing winches, they sure as.hell would have used them. Fair Winds
__________________
jreiter190 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 08:26   #23
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Germany
Boat: 2ft wide dreaming chair
Posts: 311
Re: Back to Celestial

no idea what E3 is but your description sure sounds familiar to a corporal / specialist
what i liked about the small ships was that you created redundancy by education in a more family type environment and ranks only mattered in official buisness.
learning to take the helm, operate the radar or reading morse lights sure keeps the middle watch awake
i hated the last assignment, a frigate with about 400 sailors on board.
__________________
Simonsays is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 08:54   #24
Registered User
 
jreiter190's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Melbourne, Fl., Patrick Airforce Marina
Boat: 1965 Pearson Alberg 35 #190
Posts: 322
Re: Back to Celestial

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
But from another report:
"http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/10/14/fearing_hacking_us_navy_resumes_sextants/"

"The new seamen and women won't be having too tough a time of it. While they will learn how to take positions using the sextant, the actual calculations from log tables to show where the ship is will be handled by a computer,"


True. In 1966 standing the mid-watch on a Standard Oil T2 on our way back to Frisco from Ak, I said to the second mate, who was justified in his pride in his skill with a sextant, " Mate, pretty soon you'll be able to plug your sextant readings into a black box and it'll spit out your lat/long". "Kid, he says, I always thought you were full of ****. Now, I'm sure of it".
__________________
jreiter190 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 11:36   #25
Registered User
 
jreiter190's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Melbourne, Fl., Patrick Airforce Marina
Boat: 1965 Pearson Alberg 35 #190
Posts: 322
Re: Back to Celestial

BTW, Texas Instruments put out a navigation calculator that reduced sights called a Merlin in the '70s. Also, in the '70's, had an Omega system operating world wide using very low frequency radio waves. In the 80's, a Magna vox 4102 Trans sat system. In the 40's, Ship's crossed the Atlantic using CONSOLE, counting the spaces between signals. The British broadcast the eastern 1/2, we Yanks the western 1/2. Throughout all these innovative upgrades, Ship's STILL used celestial as backup. No offense intended
__________________
jreiter190 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 12:55   #26
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 17,062
Re: Back to Celestial

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
Almost no GPS guided munitions are used nowadays. The enemy has figured out how to fake the GPS signals and thus render the GPS guidance useless. So most weapons are designed for laser and inertial guidance as well as other "signals of opportunity". This is a hot topic within certain military organizations.
JDAM was the only one I am familiar with that was GPS guided, GPS is dead easy to jam, not so easy to spoof

See if this works, for those interested this explains the Hellfire RF missile guidance system, how it knows where the target it, without GPS

http://www.mediafire.com/listen/zadj836t42v8akw
__________________
a64pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 15:05   #27
Registered User
 
transmitterdan's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2011
Boat: Valiant 42
Posts: 4,028
Re: Back to Celestial

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
JDAM was the only one I am familiar with that was GPS guided, GPS is dead easy to jam, not so easy to spoof
Not that hard:

https://www.ae.utexas.edu/news/featu...poofing-of-uav
__________________
transmitterdan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 15:50   #28
Registered User
 
Delancey's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Miami, FL
Boat: sunk by irma
Posts: 3,464
Re: Back to Celestial

"US Navy recruits to learn how to navigate using the stars as America grows increasingly worried about possible hacking of computer navigation systems"

I dunno. Am I the only one who thinks this sounds a little fishy? To say you are worried about possible hacking of computer navigation systems implies that you think they are somehow vulnerable.

Really? The USN logs onto Active Captain every time they leave the dock? Control of the GPS satellite constellation is vulnerable to some hacker with a high speed connection sitting in a basement somewhere?

How much did we pay for these systems? Who designed them that they are inherently vulnerable to hacking? Just doesn't sound right.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	image.jpg
Views:	63
Size:	266.5 KB
ID:	111048  
__________________
Delancey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 19:01   #29
Registered User
 
jreiter190's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Melbourne, Fl., Patrick Airforce Marina
Boat: 1965 Pearson Alberg 35 #190
Posts: 322
Re: Back to Celestial

Yeah , but it's FUN to be scared! Do THEY think we'll get disoriented and sail off the edge of the earth? My hands are trembling so bad I can't work my micrometer drum.
__________________
jreiter190 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2015, 20:58   #30
Registered User
 
Randy's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: San Diego
Boat: Searunner 31
Posts: 639
Re: Back to Celestial

This whole story is essentially a non-story. US Navy officers don't spend any time navigating. Even when as a senior officer and holding the title of "Navigator" few even put dividers to a chart. The Quartermasters do the navigating and the seniorchiefs and masterchiefs are navigation gods. Celestial is nothing new to the Qm's, it is one of the tools.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
__________________

__________________
Randy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
sextant

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
I have heard of people going back and forth from USA to MX and back and no a Passport shorebird2 The Sailor's Confessional 33 02-06-2014 05:29
Celestial Navigation Help Needed Loose Ends Navigation 67 10-11-2011 13:19
Celestial Navigation SkiprJohn Navigation 45 29-12-2008 23:15
Davis Mark III Sextant Celestial Navigation Training Aid longonsilver Classifieds Archive 0 27-01-2008 15:17



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:32.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.