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Old 20-01-2019, 10:22   #1
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Celestial navigation book?

Hello! Does anyone have a recommendation for a good celestial navigation book? Something that is a good "self teaching" guide for a total beginner? Thanks a bunch!
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Old 20-01-2019, 11:02   #2
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

Lots out there. Last I heard, the U.S. Navy still uses Bowditch's Practical Navigator. It goes into a lot more than just celestial. A professor/sailor at my college went by Mixter's Primer of Navigation, which goes into intricate detail, and includes problems to work out for practice. Mary Blewitt's Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen is perhaps simpler and more user-friendly.
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Old 20-01-2019, 19:12   #3
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

Quote:
Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
Lots out there. Last I heard, the U.S. Navy still uses Bowditch's Practical Navigator. It goes into a lot more than just celestial. A professor/sailor at my college went by Mixter's Primer of Navigation, which goes into intricate detail, and includes problems to work out for practice. Mary Blewitt's Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen is perhaps simpler and more user-friendly.
Thanks for this info! I just got the 2017 Practical Navigator as a pdf file for free from this website: https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.po...2&pubCode=0002

Looks like some heavy reading, but two things I have a surplus of is time and ambition. Thanks for the recommendation!
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Old 20-01-2019, 19:21   #4
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

This one: https://www.amazon.com/Miranav-workb...8037251&sr=8-1
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Old 21-01-2019, 05:47   #5
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

A Classic and one of the easiest to read and follow books is Mary Blewitt's "Celestial Navigation for Yachtsman", now in its 13th Edition. I began my education on the matter of celestial before the advent of "electronic" navigation with the earliest edition of this book which proved easy to read and follow and proved very worth while. Of course, there are other more exhaustive treatments of the subject that one may resort to once the essentials are grasped but this book can easily get you going.


FWIW...


PS: A decent sextant and reliable timepiece make a world of difference for the beginner as well as the more experienced.
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Old 21-01-2019, 09:38   #6
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

I learned the basics from Bowditch and from the almanac. Refined my skills greatly when I got hold of "Celestial for the Cruising Navigator", which was heavy on the use of a scientific calculator for sight reduction.


Bowditch is pretty dry reading but everything is in there. It is the ultimate authority. And digital is FREE. A bound volume, even if it is not the current edition, is very handy, easier to flip pages than scroll a mouse or drag a finger.



HINT: learn to do LAN first. Pre calculate time of Local Apparent Noon, when the sun is exactly on your meridian. Start shooting just before, record times and reading, and watch how the sun goes higher and finally when it is exactly due south (or north as the case may be) it will seem to hang there for a bit. From the time it last seems to move until the time it appears to be moving again, height wise, will likely be the best part of half a minute. Take the average of those two times and see how closely it agrees with your calculation. Should be spot on the money. The height of the observation corrected, subtracted from 90, is your Latitude. Sweet and simple.



With that first taste of celestial learned and practiced, time to move on to reducing a morning or afternoon sun sight to an LOP, or Line Of Position. I won't write a book here, cause Bowditch already wrote it and others as well. But you will have learned how to manipulate the sextant itself, and how to correct for instrument, height of eye, atmospheric, etc corrections. The battle half won, in other words. Then you start with an assumed position. If using tables, you want an assumed position that gives you an even minute of LHA, Local Hour Angle. All explained in Bowditch. Then simply look up the HC, compare to HO, and that is how far your LOP is from the assumed position. The Azimuth and Intercept are all you need to plot your LOP on the chart and you know your position is somewhere on that LOP. With two or more LOPs shot at the same time you have an instant fix. Unfortunately you can't shoot two bodies at once, so you will actually be making a running fix, advancing or retarding one or more LOPs to a common point, your reference being your DR track. Then where they cross or nearly cross, (typically you actually get a small triangle, not a single point) is where you are at. LAN is an LOP that just happens to run exactly east/west. It can be advanced or retarded, but it is more common to advance a morning sun line to the time of LAN, or else local zone time Noon, and later in the day retard your afternoon sun sight to noon as well, and you have your noon position, a few hours late, but you compare that to your DR and you can advance to wherever you want. Maybe take a round of stars at twilight. Moon is good anytime it is visible, and lots of times you can get a good moon and sun fix during the day. Bowditch will make this all come alive for you. Celestial for the Cruising Navigator does not use tables, just calculator, so definitely learn both tables and formula methods, for redundancy purposes.
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Old 21-01-2019, 09:50   #7
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankF View Post
Hello! Does anyone have a recommendation for a good celestial navigation book? Something that is a good "self teaching" guide for a total beginner? Thanks a bunch!
I learned by reading
Self Taught Navigation in Ten Easy Steps by Robert Kitteridge.

It may still be available through Amazon.
It is in fact easy with his guidance.

Bowditch is a great reference but not at all for self teaching for most people.
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Old 21-01-2019, 17:09   #8
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

Something else to consider is an online (home study) course, such as Starpath.


Also, if you have any questions during your studies, NavList is an invaluable resource. You can search about 25 years worth of discussions on pretty much every aspect of celestial navigation - or ask a question and it will likely be answered by multiple extremely knowledgeable and friendly people.


I would also be more than happy to help. You can post your questions here (or I'll see them on NavList), or PM or email me.


Celestial navigation can be a seemingly complicated pursuit, but it doesn't have to be. You can be out taking sights and plotting your position in a day with the right information.
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Old 21-01-2019, 18:20   #9
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

Practical Celestial Navigation by Susan P. Howell.

Mystic Seaport used this book for instruction for many years.

It is still available on Amazon.

Cheers
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Old 21-01-2019, 18:24   #10
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

Try this...... https://www.dropbox.com/s/a5blh1rgvi...ation.pdf?dl=0

written by a simple sailorman for simple sailormen....
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Old 21-01-2019, 18:53   #11
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

Unable to make head or tail of Mary Blewitt, I went for the much simpler "Sun Sight Sailing" by S. L. Seaton. Once I had the basics, it was easier to understand both Bowditch and the Nautical Almanac's instructions.
Nice thing about Bowditch is you can keep going back and with many re-readings begin to understand what is actually going on, which makes troubleshooting a lot easier.
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Old 21-01-2019, 19:00   #12
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

There's a free online course from Vanderbilt University if you're interested.

https://my.vanderbilt.edu/astronav/overview/
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Old 21-01-2019, 19:14   #13
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

BTW, I would not recommend Bowditch as useful for learning celestial navigation. Don't get me wrong, it's a great reference book. I refer back to my copy a lot. But there are many books which are far better suited for the "total beginner".
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Old 29-01-2019, 16:03   #14
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

This is what you need https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B01MUI9I1I
Celestial Navigation: using the Sight Reduction Tables Pub. No. 249 and the related Celestial Navigation Exercises for Class and Home study (power point slides also available on his site)

The subject isn't that easy, the author made it straight forward. Also, whilst teaching, isn't important what the teacher knows, it's important how the knowledge can be transferred.

I've tried 3 books + I've attended a RYA course in London, I didn't get my head around celestial... then... I SAW THE LIGHT!!!! the book comes with forms, etc to be able to understand what celestial nav is all about.
I've just finished my second Atlantic crossing, the first doing lots on celestial nav. Next crossing will be 100% celestial!
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Old 30-01-2019, 12:49   #15
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Re: Celestial navigation book?

Teacup Navigation

- Windows software
- book in pdf format, or hard copy
- plans to build your own Octant

Website: Teacup Navigation Home

PDF:

http://www.teacupnavigation.net/Cele...a_Teacup_v.pdf
.
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