Monday, February 22, 2016

Celestial navigation makes a comeback!

Anyone who has read the classic Carry On, Mr. Bowditch knows a bit about celestial navigation. I remember being enthralled with the story of Nathaniel Bowditch and his breakthrough discovery in navigation. It was the culmination of learning about the heavenly spheres of Copernicus, Galileo, and the brave men who sailed the seven seas, guided only by the stars, moon, and sun.

Today most navigation is done via GPS, SATNAV systems, and other electronic means. But, the U.S. Navy is bringing back celestial navigation! In an era of increased security risks, it's important to have navigators who can steer ships without the help of global positioning systems. You can read or listen to an NPR report on this new, but ancient, trend in sailing. 

And if you haven't read Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, I highly recommend it. It's an engrossing story of a remarkable young man and his diligent work in navigation. 

Lookout GPS, the sextant is coming back! 

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