More info on celestial navigation

Here’s some links for more information about celestial navigation from our presentation on April 30th, 2016.

History and general info:

Smithsonian Institute – Celestial Navigation at Sea – Navigating by the stars

Secrets of Ancient Navigators – Nova

Pytheas’ Measurements of Latitude – Wikipedia

How to:

Rough Science Challenge – Measure Latitude and Longitude

The Natural Navigator

Navigation by Sextant -PBS


American Practical Navigator (view online or download)

Longitude (preview below)

Mercury Transit May 09, 2016


I just wanted to let everyone know about a celestial event that doesn’t happen very often. On May 9th, the planet Mercury will pass between Earth and the Sun. This is what is called a transit. Mercury can be seen as a “dot” moving across the face of the Sun. The next Mercury transit will occur in November of 2019 and not again until November of 2032.

The photo shows the path of Mercury and approximate times (in Universal Time).

Of course, you DO NOT look at the Sun without the proper equipment. Looking at the Sun without the proper equipment can (probably will) cause serious damage to your eyes, including blindness. And we don’t want that to happen. Sunglasses will not be enough. A welding shield lens (#14) or darker will be sufficient. Because Mercury is small against the Sun, binoculars or a telescope of 50 power is best. If you have a telescope, but no Sun filter, you can project the image onto a piece of white paper. But DO NOT look into the eyepiece. Be sure to keep the eyepiece facing away from you at all times.

The event will last a little more than 6 Hrs, beginning at 7:12 am EST.

If you have the opportunity to observe, please let us know how it goes. Some of our guys will be trying to get pictures with scopes and binoculars. When they’re available, we’ll publish it for you.

Good viewing!

Sun-n-Fun 2016

SUN n FUN 2016 UK RAF Cadets Solar Observing

The Lakeland Sun-n-Fun Fly-In is the second largest Fly-in/Airshow in the US. It brings pilots and aviation enthusiasts from all around the world. And we are there to educate the public on the relationship between aviation and astronomy. Here a group of RAF cadets from the UK enjoy a look at the Sun, “Up close and personal”.