June 16-18, 2006
Mystic Seaport Planetarium
NOTE: information on the 2008 Navigation Weekend is available here.
Mystic Seaport a few weeks ago on a cloudy day. See if you can find any signs of the 21st century.
Friday through Sunday, June 16-18, 2006, the Mystic Seaport Planetarium in
Mystic, Connecticut will be hosting a "Celestial Navigation Celebration"
devoted to preserving the art and practice of celestial navigation. Celestial
navigation enthusiasts and practitioners as well as professional and private
historians of science will be meeting to discuss the history and future of
Events of the "Celestial Navigation Celebration" weekend are free of charge
and open to all. If you plan to visit other exhibits at Mystic Seaport while
you're here (and you certainly should!), then you would need to purchase
regular museum admission or a museum membership. Details here:
www.mysticseaport.org. Some events
during the weekend are sponsored by the Susan P. Howell Memorial Fund.
If you're planning to attend, please e-mail FrankReed@HistoricalAtlas.com
so that we can have an accurate head count. Please note that all events and
speakers listed below are subject to change and cancellation.
It should be a lot of fun, and we hope to see you there!
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Friday, June 16:
1300-1345 (1:00pm - 1:45pm): Campbell Room, planetarium ground floor, west
Meet the navigators. Get your name tag and meet and socialize with the
participants and speakers. As time permits, we'll have opportunities to tour
the planetarium and the Susan P. Howell Classroom facilities.
1400-1530 Collections Research Center, across Greenmanville Ave at the north
end of Mystic Seaport:
Bill Peterson, Senior Curator of Mystic Seaport, and Don Treworgy, Planetarium Director, will conduct a tour of some of the
navigational instruments in the collection of Mystic Seaport. Many of these
instruments have never been displayed publicly. This is also an opportunity
to see Mystic Seaport's impressive Collections Research Center, a major addition
to the museum, completed in 2002.
1600: Howell Classroom, planetarium ground floor, west entrance:
Lunars, the Other Longitude, part I. Frank Reed will present an overview
of the history of longitude by lunar observations covering the basic principles
of this famous navigational technique focusing on the myths of lunars, both
pro and con.
1715: Howell Classroom, planetarium ground floor, west entrance:
Herbert Prinz, a private researcher with extensive expertise in historical
astronomy, will discuss some of the mid 18th century developments
in the history of celestial navigation, in particular La Caille's solar tables.
Saturday, June 17:
0900-1030: Stonington Point, 3.5 nautical miles SE of Mystic Seaport:
Shooting lunars, weather permitting. Take your own lunar distance sights
and find your longitude the way Nathaniel Bowditch did it 200 years ago.
It's close to Last Quarter so the Moon will be descending in the west while
the Sun is climbing high in the southeast. Bring your sextant, if you have
one. We will also have sextants available for those who don't bring their
own. Please car pool as much as possible.
1100-1215: Lunch. There are good options in Stonington as well as central
Mystic and also at Mystic Seaport.
1230-1300: Howell Classroom, planetarium ground floor, west entrance:
Ian Jackson, retired professor and an arctic explorer in his own right, will
be discussing the journals of the arctic whaling voyages of William Scoresby,
which he has been editing and analyzing for the Hakluyt Society. Ian will
discuss some of the challenges of arctic navigation in the early 19th century
including finding latitude by the midnight Sun "below the pole". Ian has
been collaborating on this project with George Huxtable, known to many navigation
enthusiasts for his perceptive, incisive analyses of many navigational topics.
1330-1400: Howell Classroom, planetarium ground floor, west entrance:
Trudy E. Bell, science and technology journalist and prolific author, will be
discussing early longitude determinations in the United States. Amongst her
many publications, Trudy has written articles for Smithsonian's "Air &
Space" and "Sky & Telescope".
1500-1600: Howell Classroom, planetarium ground floor, west entrance:
Lunars, the Other Longitude, part II. Frank Reed will continue his discussion
of longitude by lunar observations. In this session, Frank will be focusing
on the math and technicalities of lunar distances incuding the five clearing
methods published in Bowditch's American Practical Navigator in the 19th
century. This talk will include some math.
1700-1745: Planetarium, under the dome on the main floor, north entrance:
Don Treworgy will conduct a planetarium presentation discussing the history
of teaching celestial navigation at Mystic Seaport. He'll demonstrate the
ease of explaining circles of position using the planetarium projector. Don
will also take us to arctic latitudes to demonstrate some of the principles
raised earlier in the day by Ian Jackson.
1900: Group dinner at Jamms restaurant (buffet, about $25 per person):
Our keynote dinner speaker is Ken Gebhart. Widely known in the world of celestial
navigation, Ken is the founder and owner of Celestaire, Inc., the world's
biggest seller of sextants and just about everything else required by navigators.
Ken will talk about the origin of his business and some of his experiences
as an entrepreneur.
Sunday, June 18:
1000-1100: Stonington Point, 3.5 nautical miles SE of Mystic Seaport:
Shooting lunars (second opportunity), weather permitting. Take your own lunar
distance sights and find your longitude the way Nathaniel Bowditch did it
200 years ago. It's close to Last Quarter so the Moon will be descending
in the west while the Sun is climbing high in the southeast. Bring your sextant,
if you have one. We will also have sextants available for those who don't
bring their own. Please car pool as much as possible.
1130-1245: Lunch. There are good options in Stonington as well as central
Mystic and also at Mystic Seaport.
1300: Howell Classroom, planetarium ground floor, west entrance:
Craig Waff, a historian with a resume that stretches from JPL to Air Force
One, will speak on the history of the prime meridian in the 19th century
US. He will discuss the influence of practical navigators who actively opposed
an Americanized Washington meridian.
1400: Howell Classroom, planetarium ground floor, west entrance:
Luis Soltero, mathematician and software developer, will tell us about the
development of his popular "StarPilot" celestial navigation software.
1430: Campbell Room, planetarium ground floor, west entrance:
A group sextant workshop, hosted by Don Treworgy. Bring your sextant. Bring
your stories. This is an opportunity to exchange advice on buying and selling
sextants as well as adjusting and maintaining them. Frank Reed will collimate
your sextant telescope or show you how to do it yourself.
1530: Campbell Room, planetarium ground floor, west entrance:
Door prize drawing(s). You must be present to win!
See you next year...
Mystic, Connecticut is easily accessible. It's a straight, forty-minute drive
from T.F. Green Airport south of Providence, Rhode Island which is served
by frequent inexpensive flights on Southwest and other major airlines, and
it's just a mile from Exit 90 on I-95. Mystic is on the main Amtrak train
line between Boston and New York City. There are numerous motels, hotels,
B&Bs, and other accomodations close to Mystic Seaport. While you're in
the Mystic area, consider visiting the nuclear submarine Nautilus at the
Sub Base in Groton. The Mystic Marinelife Aquarium and Center for Exploration,
in Mystic near the highway is also impressive. And for a little adventure,
take the high-speed catamaran ferry from New London to Block Island.
Legal disclaimer: Mystic Seaport, Frank Reed, Don Treworgy, and other
participants in the Celestial Navigation Weekend cannot guarantee any
of the events, activities, or participants in the Celestial Navigation Weekend.
All events and activities are subject to change at any time. Participants
are responsible for their own travel, food, accomodations, and other expenses.
Admission to activities listed above is free of charge. All other activities
at Mystic Seaport require museum admission or membership.
URL for this page: www.fer3.com/Mystic2006