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CHAPTER 15

NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS

1500. Definitions plain their physical properties. Navigational astronomy
deals with their coordinates, time, and motions. The sym-
The science of Astronomy studies the positions and bols commonly recognized in navigational astronomy are
motions of celestial bodies and seeks to understand and ex- given in Table 1500.

Table 1500. Astronomical symbols.

217

218 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY

1501. The Celestial Sphere absolute motion. Since all motion is relative, the position of
the observer must be noted when discussing planetary
Looking at the sky on a dark night, imagine that ce- motion. From the Earth we see apparent motions of
lestial bodies are located on the inner surface of a vast, celestial bodies on the celestial sphere. In considering how
Earth-centered sphere (Figure 1501). This model is use- planets follow their orbits around the Sun, we assume a
ful since we are only interested in the relative positions hypothetical observer at some distant point in space. When
and motions of celestial bodies on this imaginary sur-
discussing the rising or setting of a body on a local horizon,
face. Understanding the concept of the celestial sphere is
we must locate the observer at a particular point on the
most important when discussing sight reduction in
Chapter 20. Earth because the setting Sun for one observer may be the
rising Sun for another.
1502. Relative and Apparent Motion Motion on the celestial sphere results from the motions
in space of both the celestial body and the Earth. Without
Celestial bodies are in constant motion. There is no special instruments, motions toward and away from the
fixed position in space from which one can observe Earth cannot be discerned.

Figure 1501. The celestial sphere.

NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 219

1503. Astronomical Distances away. The most distant galaxies observed by astronomers
are several billion light years away.
We can consider the celestial sphere as having an infi-
nite radius because distances between celestial bodies are 1504. Magnitude
so vast. For an example in scale, if the Earth were represent-
ed by a ball one inch in diameter, the Moon would be a ball The relative brightness of celestial bodies is indicated
one-fourth inch in diameter at a distance of 30 inches, the by a scale of stellar magnitudes. Initially, astronomers
Sun would be a ball nine feet in diameter at a distance of divided the stars into 6 groups according to brightness. The
nearly a fifth of a mile, and Pluto would be a ball half 20 brightest were classified as of the first magnitude, and
an inch in diameter at a distance of about seven miles.
the dimmest were of the sixth magnitude. In modern times,
The nearest star would be one-fifth of the actual dis-
when it became desirable to define more precisely the limits
tance to the Moon.
of magnitude, a first magnitude star was considered 100
Because of the size of celestial distances, it is in-
times brighter than one of the sixth magnitude. Since the
convenient to measure them in common units such as
fifth root of 100 is 2.512, this number is considered the
the mile or kilometer. The mean distance to our nearest
magnitude ratio. A first magnitude star is 2.512 times as
neighbor, the Moon, is 238,855 miles. For convenience
bright as a second magnitude star, which is 2.512 times as
this distance is sometimes expressed in units of the
bright as a third magnitude star,. A second magnitude is
equatorial radius of the Earth: 60.27 Earth radii.
2.512 × 2.512 = 6.310 times as bright as a fourth magnitude
Distances between the planets are usually expressed in
star. A first magnitude star is 2.51220 times as bright as a
terms of the astronomical unit (AU), the mean distance
between the Earth and the Sun. This is approximately star of the 21st magnitude, the dimmest that can be seen
92,960,000 miles. Thus the mean distance of the Earth from through a 200-inch telescope.
the Sun is 1 AU. The mean distance of Pluto, the outermost Brightness is normally tabulated to the nearest 0.1
known planet in our solar system, is 39.5 A.U. Expressed in magnitude, about the smallest change that can be detected
astronomical units, the mean distance from the Earth to the by the unaided eye of a trained observer. All stars of
Moon is 0.00257 A.U. magnitude 1.50 or brighter are popularly called “first
Distances to the stars require another leap in units. A magnitude” stars. Those between 1.51 and 2.50 are called
commonly-used unit is the light-year, the distance light “second magnitude” stars, those between 2.51 and 3.50 are
travels in one year. Since the speed of light is about 1.86 × called “third magnitude” stars, etc. Sirius, the brightest star,
105 miles per second and there are about 3.16 × 107 seconds has a magnitude of –1.6. The only other star with a negative
per year, the length of one light-year is about 5.88 × 1012 magnitude is Canopus, –0.9. At greatest brilliance Venus
miles. The nearest stars, Alpha Centauri and its neighbor has a magnitude of about –4.4. Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are
Proxima, are 4.3 light-years away. Relatively few stars are sometimes of negative magnitude. The full Moon has a
less than 100 light-years away. The nearest galaxies, the magnitude of about –12.6, but varies somewhat. The
Clouds of Magellan, are 150,000 to 200,000 light years magnitude of the Sun is about –26.7.

THE UNIVERSE

1505. The Solar System volves around the center of the Milky Way galaxy (Article
1515), and the Milky Way is in motion relative to its neigh-
The Sun, the most conspicuous celestial object in the sky, boring galaxies.
is the central body of the solar system. Associated with it are at The hierarchies of motions in the universe are caused
least nine principal planets and thousands of asteroids, com- by the force of gravity. As a result of gravity, bodies attract
ets, and meteors. Some planets have moons. each other in proportion to their masses and to the inverse
square of the distances between them. This force causes the
1506. Motions of Bodies of the Solar System
planets to go around the sun in nearly circular, elliptical
orbits.
Astronomers distinguish between two principal mo-
tions of celestial bodies. Rotation is a spinning motion In each planet’s orbit, the point nearest the Sun is
about an axis within the body, whereas revolution is the called the perihelion. The point farthest from the Sun is
motion of a body in its orbit around another body. The body called the aphelion. The line joining perihelion and aph-
around which a celestial object revolves is known as that elion is called the line of apsides. In the orbit of the Moon,
body’s primary. For the satellites, the primary is a planet. the point nearest the Earth is called the perigee, and that
For the planets and other bodies of the solar system, the pri- point farthest from the Earth is called the apogee. Figure
mary is the Sun. The entire solar system is held together by 1506 shows the orbit of the Earth (with exaggerated eccen-
the gravitational force of the Sun. The whole system re- tricity), and the orbit of the Moon around the Earth.

220 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY

Figure 1506. Orbits of the Earth and Moon.

1507. The Sun

The Sun dominates our solar system. Its mass is nearly a
thousand times that of all other bodies of the solar system com-
bined. Its diameter is about 865,000 miles. Since it is a star, it
generates its own energy through a thermonuclear reaction,
thereby providing heat and light for the entire solar system.
The distance from the Earth to the Sun varies from
91,300,000 at perihelion to 94,500,000 miles at aphelion.
When the Earth is at perihelion, which always occurs early
in January, the Sun appears largest, 32.6' of arc in diameter.
Six months later at aphelion, the Sun’s apparent diameter is
a minimum of 31.5'.
Observations of the Sun’s surface (called the photo-
sphere) reveal small dark areas called sunspots. These are
areas of intense magnetic fields in which relatively cool gas
(at 7000°F.) appears dark in contrast to the surrounding hot-
ter gas (10,000°F.). Sunspots vary in size from perhaps
50,000 miles in diameter to the smallest spots that can be
detected (a few hundred miles in diameter). They generally
appear in groups. See Figure 1507. Large sunspots can be
seen without a telescope if the eyes are protected.
Surrounding the photosphere is an outer corona of very
hot but tenuous gas. This can only be seen during an eclipse of
the Sun, when the Moon blocks the light of the photosphere.
The Sun is continuously emitting charged particles,
which form the solar wind. As the solar wind sweeps past
the Earth, these particles interact with the Earth’s magnetic
field. If the solar wind is particularly strong, the interaction
can produce magnetic storms which adversely affect radio
signals on the Earth. At such times the auroras are particu-
larly brilliant and widespread.
The Sun is moving approximately in the direction of Figure 1507. Whole solar disk and an enlargement of the
Vega at about 12 miles per second, or about two-thirds as great spot group of April 7, 1947. Courtesy of Mt. Wilson
fast as the Earth moves in its orbit around the Sun. and Palomar Observatories.

this it will reappear in the evening sky. the polar diameter is less than ern elongation. They are enough to present perceptible disks. and the meridians are slightly Mercury is never seen more than about 28° from the elliptical. heading toward east- See Figure 1509. These motions Sun in the evening sky. Earth. the equatorial diameter. appear in the morning sky at dawn. or ellipsoid of it will move behind the Sun to superior conjunction. After disappearing in the morning twilight. However. In common with other planets. The naked-eye planets. The dimensions of the Earth Sun. Therefore the stream of light from they always appear in the neighborhood of the Sun. they appear to oscillate back twinkling effect. At this time it is moving between the Earth and Hemisphere. Of these. Therefore. as additional and more Near greatest elongation it appears near the western horizon precise measurements become available. It will gradually move For most navigational purposes. like the other planets. only four are commonly used for celestial naviga- tion: Venus. and those with orbits larger than that of the Earth are called superior planets. 1510. high tides on Sun to inferior conjunction. and Saturn. and the others the outer planets. At these not exactly an ellipsoid. the toward the Sun. during which it appears as a morning or evening star can . On rare occasions at inferior conjunction. Therefore. Uranus is barely visible to the unaided eye. the Earth can be away from the Sun to western elongation. Saturn. At this time they are between the Earth asteroids lie chiefly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. then move back considered a sphere. Mars. and Sun (known as inferior conjunction) or on the These are all too faint to be seen with the naked eye. Uranus. the orbits of the planets lie in nearly the same plane as the Earth’s orbit. are close and forth from one side of the Sun to the other. causing the period of weeks or months. unlike the stars. Jupiter. Uranus. and Neptune are so much larger than the others that they are sometimes classed as major planets. results differ slightly when equally times it resembles a first magnitude star and is sometimes precise and extensive measurements are made on different reported as a new or strange object in the sky. are recomputed from time to time. and Pluto. Mars. the 1509. however. or the eastern horizon before sunrise. rather than circular. For this reason it is not commonly used for navigation.) From night to night the planet deflection of water and air currents to the right in the will approach the Sun until it disappears into the glare of Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern twilight. Saturn. A few days later. which is the intersection of the mean plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun with the ce- lestial sphere. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 221 1508. Since the Earth is after sunset. The Planets The principal bodies orbiting the Sun are called plan- ets. Jupiter. Nine principal planets are known: Mercury. Because of the Earth’s rotation. The four planets nearest the Sun are sometimes called the inner planets. The Earth planet will cross the face of the Sun as seen from the Earth. Jupiter. The stars are so distant that they Since Mercury and Venus are inside the Earth’s orbit. as seen from the Earth. western sky after sunset. Venus. Neptune and Pluto are not visible without a telescope. the Earth rotates on its When Mercury or Venus appears most distant from the axis and revolves in its orbit around the Sun. opposite side of the Sun from the Earth (superior conjunction). Inferior Planets Planets can be identified in the sky because. they do not twinkle. flattened at the poles and bulged at the equator. The broader stream of seen either in the eastern sky before sunrise or in the light from a planet is not easily disrupted. it is at its east- other celestial bodies. Neptune. The interval parts of the surface. Over a a star is easily scattered in the atmosphere. are the principal source of the daily apparent motions of (Although the planet is in the western sky. the planet will the open sea lag behind the meridian transit of the Moon. it is at greatest eastern elongation. For brief periods they disappear The orbits of many thousands of tiny minor planets or into the Sun’s glare. The two planets with orbits smaller than that of the Earth are called inferior planets. After revolution. The Earth’s rotation also causes a ernmost point from the Sun. are point sources of light. Earth is approximately an oblate spheroid. This is known as a transit of the Sun. Figure 1509. Oblate spheroid or ellipsoid of revolution. Except for Pluto. the planets are confined to a strip of the celestial sphere near the ecliptic.

They can pass behind the Sun closest planet. about five weeks before and after becoming increasingly visible through the late night hours inferior conjunction. This relative. Instead we see them move away from the Sun until junction. it rises and sets approx- those of the Moon. Venus can reach a distance of 47° from the Sun. be visible throughout the night. until it reaches the next stationary group of Sunspots. and begin moving westward be seen by the naked eye as a small dot about the size of a (retrograde motion). Venus can pause (at a stationary point). imately with the Sun and is thus lost in the Sun’s glare. but they cannot pass between the Sun and the Mercury disappears for about 5 days. however. point and resumes its direct motion. At these times it can be seen during the day and Sun sets. maximum brilliance. the planet will rise in brighter than any other object in the sky except the Sun the late evening. near superior con. disappears for 8 days. Earth. When a telescope. The interval between oppositions is planets are not confined to the proximity of the Sun as seen known as the synodic period. the planets days in succession. disappears for 50 days. appears as a morning or evening star for approximately 263 Observed against the background stars. Mercury is seen to go through phases similar to superior planet is near conjunction. Through strong binoculars or a telescope. Gradually it becomes visible in the early morning sky allowing it to dominate the morning or evening sky. Planetary configurations. planet is moving strangely in space. the superior Earth at opposition. Approaching opposition. Mars. and set when the is sometimes observed for a celestial line of position. until at opposition. This is not because the Venus can be seen to go through a full set of phases.222 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY Figure 1510. Superior Planets up with and passing by the slower moving superior planet. it will rise when the and Moon. vary from about 30 to 50 days. a planet will slow down. observed motion results because the faster moving Earth is catching 1511. it has a magnitude of about –4. and becomes increasingly shorter for . (conjunction). From day to day. Near inferior conjunction Venus normally move eastward in what is called direct motion. it rises and sets earlier. Around inferior conjunction. This period is longest for the from the Earth. When it transits the Sun.4 and is until dawn. The superior planets are brightest and closest to the As planets outside the Earth’s orbit. At before sunrise. around superior conjunction it Approaching opposition. Observed with a they are opposite the Sun in the sky (opposition). It Sun rises. it disappears for about 35 days.

8 but is more often known to have at least 18 satellites. at about magnitude 5. but can vary from this average by up to a quar- visible for about 175 days before and after opposition. Saturn appears as highly gibbous. none of which are between –1. Jupiter.5. normally 1512. Saturn is now can become as bright as magnitude –2.2. the binoculars. elongated because of its system of rings. It revolves around the Earth once in about 27. Their motions around Jupiter can be observed same side of the Moon is always turned toward the Earth. Near conjunction it is navigation. days before and after opposition. The planet disappears for as measured with respect to the stars. regularly reaching magnitude –2. The inner figures of the Moon represent its appearance from the Earth. Oppositions occur at intervals of The Moon is the only satellite of direct navigational in- about 400 days. The planet is visible for about Uranus. disappears for about 25 days near conjunction. This is called the si- about 32 days at conjunction. .0 or brighter at opposition. the outermost of the navigational planets. The cycle of phases depends on the Moon’s revolution with Saturn. be seen in a large telescope. the superior planets do not opposition it becomes as bright as magnitude +0. A telescope is Mars can usually be identified by its orange color. largest of the known planets. and ter of a day during any given month.3 days.0 at opposition.53 days. Four satellites (of a total 16 dereal month. is faintly lost from view for about 120 days. high powered binoculars. It is 29. At Unlike Mercury and Venus. with the planet being visible for about 180 terest.8 to –0. Because the Moon rotates on its axis with currently known) are bright enough to be seen with the same period with which it revolves around the Earth. It needed to examine the rings in any detail. Neptune and Pluto are too faint to be used for 330 days on either side of opposition. They are always full or Through good. Oppositions occur at visible to the unaided eye. Uranus. Its two satellites can only visible to the unaided eye.0 and –2. over the course of several hours. intervals of about 780 days. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 223 the outer planets. Phases of the Moon. Figure 1512. This synodic month is approximately comes to opposition at intervals of about 380 days. respect to the Sun. The Moon outshines Mars. go through a full cycle of phases.

some (those of eous head or coma and tail may form as the comet lower temperature) have a reddish hue. and myths. The total mass of a comet is very small. In 1910. or as long as two days). equinox is called the Harvest Moon. becoming more fully illumi. unaided eye. Sometime before particle is called a meteorite. Around the nucleus. such as Halley’s of weeks. comet. ture. and many times this number un- of the ecliptic. Today astronomers use constellations—88 in ticeable effect. 1514. The Moon is always moving eastward at about 12. so that it follows the head while the comet is approaching constitute a noticeable contrast. Halley’s comet spread across the sky (about 7 days after new Moon) it reaches first quarter. rising later and later incandescence by air friction while passing through the at night.224 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY When the Moon is in conjunction with the Sun (new any angle to the ecliptic. Some comets may glare. One that explodes is called a bolide. the dimmest star that comets are erratic and inconsistent. In the summer the full Meteor showers occur at certain times of the year Moon rises in the southeastern part of the sky (Northern when the Earth passes through meteor swarms. Those that Although stars differ in size and temperature. and precedes the head while the comet is receding. Under ideal viewing conditions. approximately along the ecliptic before sunrise and after zon. until Earth. the usual number. Since the eastward motion of the Moon is sunset has been attributed to the reflection of Sunlight from approximately along the ecliptic. A faint glow at that point of the ecliptic 180° from the other times of the year. in highly eccentric orbits inclined at In the entire sky there are about 6. who supplied them with names Earth passed through the tail of Halley’s comet without no. For the next couple needed to form a tail. survives its trip through the atmosphere and lands as a solid and is seen only in the early morning sky. the Moon Earth’s atmosphere. At along the southwestern horizon after a short time above the these times the number of meteors observed is many times horizon. the Sun. Over not well situated to get a good view. An estimated average of crescent will disappear in the glare of morning twilight. Compared to the well-ordered orbits of the planets. popularly called shooting stars. noon until full Moon. crosses the celestial meridian high in the sky. Stars 1513. hours. in many ways resembling our own. Like the Sun. these become widely visible do so because they develop long. the Sun and Moon are on opposite sides Earth’s atmosphere each hour.000 meteors large enough to be seen enter the At full Moon. In Orion. The visibility of a nated. By last quarter (a week after full Moon). visible to the unaided eye.2° speed away from the solar system after gaining velocity as per day. their own energy through thermonuclear reactions. some 1. but are too small to attract attention. all—to identify areas of the sky. dominates the sky throughout the night. Some travel east to west can be seen with the unaided eye is of the sixth magnitude. known as constellations. A meteor that Moon.000 stars of this . are more likely to develop tails. were thin that stars can easily be seen through it.000. The early. Some differences in color are noticeable to the bodies held together by gravity. low in the west. conjunction (16 hours to 2 days before conjunction) the thin Vast numbers of meteors exist. it rises and sets with the Sun and is lost in the Sun’s about 3 years to thousands of years. the Moon becomes an increasingly thin crescent. the thin lunar crescent can be The short-period comets long ago lost the gasses observed after sunset. so that sometime after conjunction (as little as 16 they pass by Jupiter or Saturn. the delay in the time of quantities of this material. a gas. are tiny. Comets and Meteors Stars are distant Suns. the Moon will rise (and set) later. Therefore. very few are visible without a telescope. the full Moon a month later is called the Hunter’s Moon. In 1910. Periods of revolution range from Moon). and sets cosmic dust they create falls to earth in a constant shower. This glow is called zodiacal rising of the full Moon from night to night is less than at light. See Figure 1512. The tail is directed away from the Sun. in the winter the full Moon rises doubtedly enter. the Earth was the Moon rises about noon and sets about midnight. During the next solid bodies too small to be seen until heated to couple of weeks the Moon will wane. differences are apparent only through analysis by glowing tails. comet depends very much on how close it approaches the becoming increasingly visible in the evening sky. when (Figure 1513). At the time of the autumnal equinox. located on opposite sides of the belt. From day to day. and it was barely the next week the Moon will rise later and later in the after. The stars are not distributed uniformly around the sky. blue Rigel approaches the Sun. the part of the A faint glow sometimes observed extending upward ecliptic opposite the Sun is most nearly parallel to the hori. The full Moon nearest the autumnal Sun is called the gegenschein or counterglow. stars are massive balls of gas that create Although comets are noted as great spectacles of na. the Hemisphere). While most stars appear white. and some west to east. Long period comets. the Moon will wax. and sets scattered remains of comets that have broken up. and the tail is so Striking configurations. as the Sun does in the summer. late. Yet when it returned in 1986. As it approaches new fireball. and red Betelgeuse. Comets are swarms of relatively small solid astronomers. remains relatively low in the sky. when it rises about sunset and Meteors. A particularly bright meteor is called a rises about midnight and sets at noon. the noted by ancient peoples.

where the path of a ray travels for a greater vector components. fourteen views. Halley’s Comet. not more than perhaps called radial motion. Because of the greater absorption of light near Motion of a star through space can be classified by its the horizon. made between April 26 and June 11.000 light years in as globular clusters. a symmetric clusters of hundreds of thousands of stars known slowly spinning disk more than 100. magnitude or brighter. If it is within the galaxy of which the Sun is a part. proper motion. The Pleiades is an 1515). the average navigator seldom uses more than relative to the background of more distant stars. The globular clusters are all too diameter. it is called a multiple star. When we look toward the it is called a galactic nebula. example of an open cluster. If more than two stars are included in arms. In a galaxy the stars tend to congregate Two stars which appear to be very close together are in groups called star clouds arranged in long spiral called a double star. the inner stars dozen to several hundred stars moving through space revolving more rapidly than the outer ones (Figure together is called an open cluster. A star which suddenly becomes 1515. broad band that glows in the sum- nebula. Wilson and Palomar Observatories. Courtesy of Mt. it is called an constellation Sagittarius.500 stars are visible to the unaided eye at any time. we are looking toward the . 1910. However. while that component across the line 2. A group of a few the stars about the center of the galaxy. causing a star to change its apparent position However. if outside. A particularly bright nova is called a A galaxy is a vast collection of clusters of stars and supernova. That component in the line of sight is distance through the atmosphere. is called perhaps 20 or 30 of the brighter stars. The spiral nature is believed due to revolution of the group. at any time. Galaxies several magnitudes brighter and then gradually fades is called a nova. of sight. There are also spherically The Earth is located in the Milky Way galaxy. mer nighttime sky. Half of these are below the horizon extragalactic nebula. clouds of gas. Way. Stars which exhibit a noticeable change of magnitude are called variable stars. the most dense portions of the galaxy A cloudy patch of matter in the heavens is called a are seen as the great. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 225 Figure 1513. All the bright stars in the sky are in the Milky distant to be seen with the naked eye.

motion along the daily path.000 light years distant. This apparent in the United States. It is this motion that causes celestial bodies to in Figure 1516c. At the polar circles of the Earth even the Sun be- to rise and set vertically. Spiral nebula Messier 51. the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (named after Ferdinand Magellan) are the near- est known neighbors of the Milky Way. On this oblique sphere. almost all other galaxies are too far away to be seen with the unaided eye. bodies appear body. but as latitude increases. the apparent motion is a much greater than any other observed motion of celestial combination of the two. Satellite nebula is NGC 5195. Three kinds of twilight are . Crux is not visible to most observers in the United motion and the axis of rotation of the Earth were stationary States. Figure 1515. Courtesy of Mt. horizon approximately half the time. where the the horizon and the altitude at meridian transit vary with equatorial plane is vertical (since the axis of rotation of the both the latitude of the observer and the declination of the Earth is parallel to the plane of the horizon). The darker limit of twilight occurs Pole the motion is clockwise. The Ma- gellanic Clouds can be seen as sizable glowing patches in the southern sky. circling the elevated maximum altitude as they cross the meridian. at about the same point relative to due Dipper) and Cassiopeia are circumpolar for many observers west as the rising point was to due east. does not rise during part of the winter. In Canes Venetici. They are approximately 1. The parallel sphere at the poles is illustrated in Figure 1516b. always at the same altitude. The celestial sphere as where the Sun does not set during part of the summer and seen by an observer at the equator is called the right sphere. The increased obliquity at higher latitudes explains For an observer at one of the poles. shown in Figure 1516a. It mains below the horizon during the entire day. Other bodies rise obliquely along the eastern hori- in space. Every celestial body is above the comes circumpolar. APPARENT MOTION 1516.000 light years away.226 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY center of the Milky Way. Apparent motion caused by the Earth’s rotation is Between these two extremes. of the body An approximately equal part of the celestial sphere re- is approximately parallel to the plane of the equator. and set along celestial pole each day. and at the South Pole it is when the center of the Sun is a stated number of degrees be- counterclockwise. circumpolar celestial bodies remain above appear to rise along the eastern half of the horizon. climb to the horizon during the entire 24 hours. The stars of Ursa Major (the Big the western horizon. and why twilight lasts longer in higher circle the sky. bodies having why days and nights are always about the same length in the constant declination neither rise nor set (neglecting tropics. 30. The apparent effect due to rotation of the Earth varies and set along the western horizon. Evening twilight starts at sunset. which appears as a faint glow. The length of time above with the latitude of the observer. or diurnal circle. This is the land of the midnight Sun. An exception in the northern hemisphere is the Great Galaxy (sometimes called the Great Nebula) in Andromeda. and the change of length of the day becomes greater precession of the equinoxes and changes in refraction). climb to maximum altitude at the celestial meridian. and morning complete trip around the horizon each day. At the North twilight ends at sunrise. making one latitudes. zon. illustrated bodies. Apparent Motion due to Rotation of the Earth above the horizon and the other half never are. In the southern hemisphere. Wilson and Palomar Observatories. Approximately half the stars are always low the celestial horizon.700. At the equator. For would be exactly so if rotation of the Earth were the only example. Despite their size and luminance.

The right sphere. Figure 1516b. Figure 1516d. bright stars visible nautical –0°50' –12° Horizon not visible astronomical –0°50' –18° Full night Table 1516. Figure 1516c. The various twilight at latitude 20°N and latitude 60°N. . Limits of the three twilights. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 227 Figure 1516a. The oblique sphere at latitude 40°N. Twilight Lighter limit Darker limit At darker limit civil –0°50' –6° Horizon clear. The parallel sphere.

In one year the Sun would appear to make one to east. are in motion relative to each other. an darker limits of the various kinds indicated. proportionally. If the seconds per year. which is moving at the rate shift westward nearly 1° each night. called proper motion. not constellations are associated with different seasons of the visible to the unaided eye. dicular to its orbit. produces slight variation of latitude and longitude of places on itudes is indicated by the portion of the diurnal circle the Earth.3 seconds per year. The inferior planets If it were possible to stop the rotation of the Earth so would appear to move eastward and westward relative to that the celestial sphere would appear stationary. The Ecliptic its orbit is sufficiently fast to cause the light from stars to appear to shift slightly in the direction of the Earth’s motion. a better way by telescope. observed stars generally are not visible at the same time. Polar 20°N. giving aberration can be noted by comparing the coordinates the Earth its seasons and changing lengths of periods of (declination and sidereal hour angle) of various stars daylight. the combined apparent navigational stars in the Northern Hemisphere. the light ray from the star is the vector difference of the motion but undergoing a continuous slight change. Celestial Bodies light at the higher latitude is longer. nautical and astronomical. similar to that of apparent called the obliquity of the ecliptic.3 combination of their motions and those of the Earth. slow apparent motions This motion can be observed by watching the changing would result in slight changes in the positions of the stars position of the Sun among the stars. In a few motion due to the revolutions of the Earth and other bodies thousand years proper motion will be sufficient to materially would be similar to that occurring if both rotation and alter some familiar configurations of stars. Hence. although it is not directly proportional to the relative length of line shown 1518.7 seconds per year.228 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY defined: civil. pages of the almanacs. The maximum which has been the previous night. It is considered a great circle of the celestial sphere. the observer’s own forward motion. but at the end of the year the values have The conditions at the darker limit are relative and vary returned almost to what they were at the beginning. Superior planets would of the revolution of the Earth would become more appear to make one revolution around the Earth. principally the Moon. The reason considerably under different atmospheric conditions. with the precession of the equinoxes. celestial bodies would not appear stationary on the celestial sphere. This effect is most apparent for a to the fact that the axis of rotation of the Earth is not perpen- body perpendicular to the line of travel of the Earth in its orbit. See Table 1516. This inclination is due wind on a moving vessel. throughout the year. The motion of the Earth in 1519. staying within the zodiac. Rigil Kentaurus has the greatest Apparent motions of planets and the Moon are due to a proper motion. the twilight band is shown. revolution of the Earth. notably Ursa revolution of the Earth were stopped. the year progresses. rising in the west and setting in the east. so that different of 10. between the horizon and the darker limit. produces a change in the On any night a star rises nearly four minutes earlier than on apparent position of the star. The apparent direction of inclined at an angle of about 23°26' to the celestial equator. each sidereal period. The ecliptic is the path the Sun appears to take among This is similar to the effect one experiences when walking in the stars due to the annual revolution of the Earth in its or- vertically-falling rain that appears to come from ahead due to bit. The effect of to appear to move north and south during the year. Apparent Motion due to Movement of other since the projection is orthographic. complete trip around the Earth. in fact. Even if it were possible to stop both the rotation and tude 60°N when the declination of the Sun is 15°N. This is a tenth-magnitude star. they do not return exactly is due to proper motion and In Figure 1516d. The component of such motion across the line is to observe the constellations at the same time each night. This angle is of light and the motion of the Earth. the diurnal circle of the Sun when its declination is 15°N. Stars would appear Major. the effects the Sun. from west noticeable. The relative duration of any kind of twilight at the two lat. it Since the Sun (and the Earth with it) and all other stars would seem to move eastward a little less than 1° per day. has the greatest proper motion of the rotation of the Earth were stopped. irregularity in the motion of the Earth due to the disturbing tical celestial equator line is for an observer at latitude effect of other celestial bodies. It is also due to nutation. nearly stationary in the sky but would undergo a small annual cycle of change due to aberration. The Earth is at perihelion early . This motion. from west to east. Apparent Motion due to Revolution of the Earth one revolution about the Earth each sidereal month. The nearly ver. Note that complete darkness does not occur at lati. than shown. The Moon would make 1517. The broken line in each case is rotation and sometimes wandering of the poles.5". which does not exceed 40 feet from the mean position. But since both Sun and relative to each other. Arcturus. Of the 57 stars listed on the daily year. The duration of twi. of sight. about 3. the celestial sphere appears to observed is that of Barnard’s Star. with 2. This space motion is. The nearly horizontal celestial equator line is for an motion is a slight wobbling of the Earth about its axis of observer at latitude 60°N. Thus. It is this inclination which causes the Sun for which it reaches a maximum value of 20. A change is observed in some bodies as Refer to Figure 1519a.

the entire world. and days and nights are the same length over is not exactly 12 hours because of refraction. The Northern Hemisphere is be above the horizon a little longer than below the horizon.” is applied 21. and the Southern Hemisphere its summer. Three months later. and the Sun climbs higher in the sky each day (at or about December 22. on increases. until the summer toward the Sun and conditions are the reverse of those six solstice. the winter solstice. and back over the celestial equator again at Northern Hemisphere is having spring and the Southern the next vernal equinox. the opposite direction. semidiameter. motion and momentarily “stands still” before it starts in the The north polar regions are having continuous Sunlight. It is not the distance between the Earth and The word “equinox. having its autumn. The Sun then gradually retreats winter. crossing from the Southern Hemisphere to the but its axis of rotation still points in about the same Northern Hemisphere. At the summer solstice. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 229 Figure 1519a. the because the Sun stops its apparent northward or southward northern part of the Earth’s axis is tilted toward the Sun. This is southward until it is again over the equator at the autumnal the winter solstice. Following the vernal equinox.” meaning “equal nights. The Sun is setting at the North Pole and and the height of the eye of the observer. This action. The Sun shines equally on both remaining above the horizon for approximately 12 hours. Note that it does not occur when the Earth south polar region is in continuous darkness. the Northern Hemisphere is having its celestial equator is reached. These cause it to rising at the South Pole. Three months later. and the around the Earth. . about 10 or 11 days before reaching aphelion. and the Southern Hemisphere its spring. Apparent motion of the Sun in the ecliptic. time of the vernal equinox. The the sky and the length of time it remains above the horizon. at about 23°26' south of the celestial equator at the hemispheres again receive equal amounts of Sunshine. cold nights. when both equinox. This is the vernal equinox. Refer to Figure 1519a. This is the is at perihelion or aphelion. direction in space. In another three months. refers to the motion in a north-south warm days and short nights.” meaning “Sun stands still. but the altitude of the Sun in are of approximately equal length all over the Earth. “stand” of the tide. in January and at aphelion 6 months later. the northerly declination This is the autumnal equinox. On or about June word “solstice. the reverse of conditions six months The Earth is nearest the Sun during the northern hemi- before. equator. somewhat analogous to the Northern Hemisphere is having its summer with long. about September 23. the Sun is directly over the the Earth has moved a quarter of the way around the Sun. sphere winter. the Southern Hemisphere is tilted the latitudes of the United States). and not to the daily apparent revolution having winter with short days and long. the Southern Hemisphere is direction only. Hemisphere autumn. It hemispheres. It rises due east and sets due west.” is Sun that is responsible for the difference in temperature applied because it occurs at the time when days and nights during the different seasons. when a declination of about 23°26' north of the months earlier.

Except at the extremes.000 years responds to these forces in the manner of a gyroscope. The expressions March they differ from place to place. which has already carried them about 30°. June solstice. point is of interest to navigators because it is the origin for sons begin at the equinoxes and solstices. due to hours each day.04" per Figure 1519b. when the highest vernal equinox is sometimes called the first point of Aries temperatures normally occur several hours after the Sun (symbol ) because. Gradually the proportion decreases until a balance expressions are applied both to the times and points of is reached. This occurs at other seasons of the year. the one in hence more concentrated. . ago. September equinox. the Sun is in the next constellation toward the Regression of the nodes introduces certain irregularities west because of precession of the equinoxes. The is being added by absorption during a longer period than it areas inside the polar circles are the north and south frigid is being lost by radiation. are called polar circles. Since the celestial equator is 90° from the celestial poles. The total amount. measuring sidereal hour angle. zones. the than it gains. This is the torrid zone. Winter year) measured perpendicular to the celestial equator. marking the approximate limits 1519c. The regions between the frigid zones and the torrid sons. These names come from gravitational forces exerted principally by the Sun and the constellations which the Sun entered at the solstices Moon on the Earth’s equatorial bulge. when the name was given.230 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY During the summer the rays are more nearly vertical. the sea. Navigationally.000 years ago. Astronomically. the Earth continues to zones are the north and south temperate zones. and of the circumpolar Sun. equinox. heat one in the Southern Hemisphere the Antarctic Circle. after which the Earth cools. The expression “vernal equinox” and associated portion. This westward motion of the equinoxes along the ecliptic is called precession of the equinoxes. Meteorologically. depends upon its position on the celestial Earth. and the second increase. and December solstice are occasionally applied as appropriate. in their turn. The result is a slow westward movement of the equinoxes and solstices. This is analogous to the day. will time as it moves southward. and precession in declination (about 20. it too is moving. this occurs twice: year 2102. Following the longest day. The become the Pole Star. along the ecliptic from the positions they occupied when named more than 2. at this time. The north Everywhere between the parallels of about 23°26'N and celestial pole is moving closer to Polaris. The spinning Earth when the names were first applied more than 2. It may be considered divided into two components: precession in right ascension (about 46. and the southern The precession of the Earth’s axis is the result of limit is the Tropic of Capricorn. the ecliptic axis. Since sidereal hour angle is measured from the vernal equinox. the celestial its summer by about seven days. the ram. causing less heat energy to reach the precession alone. as shown in Figure 1519b. poles are slowly describing circles in the sky. Today. receive more heat than it dissipates. called general precession. losing more heat occurrence of the various phenomena. but at a decreasing pro. Sunlight in summer and winter. or one constellation. In about 25. because the more common names are associated with the seasons in the Northern Hemisphere and are six months out of step for the Southern Hemisphere.800 years the axis completes a cycle and returns to the position from which it started. the coordinates of celestial bodies would be changing even if the bodies themselves were stationary. the polar distance will once as the Sun appears to move northward. This explains the lag of the sea. Following this. since these coordinates are measured relative to the polar axis while the precessional motion is relative to the Since the Earth travels faster when nearest the Sun. northern limit is the Tropic of Cancer. Since the Northern Hemisphere being the Arctic Circle and the the Sun is above the horizon more than half the time. sphere. which it will about 23°26'S the Sun is directly overhead at some time pass at a distance of approximately 28 minutes about the during the year. northern hemisphere (astronomical) winter is shorter than Due to precession of the equinoxes. The sunlight is distributed over a larger area and shines fewer annual change in the coordinates of any given star. the Sun reaches maximum altitude at meridian transit. A similar lag entered the constellation Aries. See Figure about 23°26' from the poles. is about 50 seconds of arc per year. and eventually other stars. The parallels known as nutation in the precessional motion.10 seconds per year) measured along the celestial equator. and declination from the celestial equator. The axis of the Earth is undergoing a precessional motion similar to that of a top spinning with its axis tilted.

NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 231 Figure 1519c. each section being given the name respect to the constellations. Thus at the time of the vernal and symbol (“sign”) of a constellation. Libra at the The zodiac is a circular band of the sky extending 8° autumnal equinox. 1520. . and Capricornus at the winter solstice. The navigational planets and Because of precession. Precession and nutation. when the Sun entered Aries at the vernal equinox. The Zodiac years ago.” Figure 1520. the Sun is said to be at the “first point of Aries.000 though it is in the constellation Pisces. Cancer at the summer solstice. These are shown in equinox. on each side of the ecliptic. the zodiacal signs have shifted with the Moon are within these limits. The names were assigned more than 2. The zodiac is divided into 12 sections of 30° each.

A similar but smaller apparent discrepancy occurs length of each of these units differs somewhat in the various at the summer solstice. Apparent In tide analysis. Because the Earth with respect to the stars is not quite the same as one accumulated difference between these times. 1521. Time and the Calendar mean solar time on the Greenwich meridian. producing a lunar day averaging 24 hours 50 same time. kinds of time. Local time results if one’s . a sidereal day does not provide time of uniform rate because of variations is about 3 minutes 56 seconds shorter than a solar day. Universal Time is a particular case of the measure Time is also classified according to the terrestrial known in general as mean solar time. Universal Time and sidereal time are rigorously measurement of time.0027378118868 rotations of the Earth with daylight is shifting slightly. one rotation of the nearly equal to the average apparent solar time. However. The day is one rotation of the Earth astronomy to navigation. The year is associated with the revolution of found. and from it.00273791 mean sidereal days. Universal Time is the meridian used as a reference. One due to lack of uniform rate of revolution is removed by mean solar day equals 1. and for this the Sun is called a solar day. and in the rate of revolution and rotation of the Earth. reckoned in days of 24 mean solar hours beginning with 0 hours at Traditionally.232 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY Figure 1520. about its axis. The earliest sunset (in latitudes of the United minutes (mean solar units) in length. Thus. is continually changing. If the vernal equinox is used as the reference. using a fictitious mean Sun. each hour having 60 minutes of 60 seconds. Because the apparent Sun (the actual Sun that appears in the sky) of the revolution of the Earth around the Sun. rotation relative to reason it is the basis of star charts and star finders. astronomy has furnished the basis for midnight. in addition to its increase or respect to the stars. This the external reference point used. and lunar time. One rotation relative to indicates the approximate positions of the stars. the Moon is sometimes used as the and mean Suns seldom cross the celestial meridian at the reference. decrease in length due to changing declination. a subject of primary importance to related by a formula so that if one is known the other can be the navigator. mean solar time is Because of precession of the equinoxes. sidereal time. States) occurs about two weeks before the winter solstice. The zodiac. the period of day averages 1. the solstice. One mean solar equation of time. The error there is one more sidereal than solar days in a year. called the rotation with respect to the vernal equinox. a The duration of one rotation of the Earth depends upon sidereal day is obtained. Since each kind of day is divided arbitrarily into 24 and the latest sunrise occurs about two weeks after winter hours. Universal Time is the standard in the application of the Earth in its orbit.

the Sun is completely hidden from view. The duration of a total eclipse depends upon how nearly the Moon crosses the center of the Sun. However. the Moon appears as a black disk almost below the Sun at new Moon and above or below the Earth’s covering the surface of the Sun. and its shadow does not quite reach the eclipse. These are called imates the tropical year with a combination of common Baily’s Beads. and then as an ever widening crescent until no part American Practical Navigator. as shown Moon’s apparent diameter is larger than that of the Sun. years of 365 days and leap years of 366 days. A leap year is A total eclipse is a spectacular phenomenon. . This is shown in Figure 1522. and in Figure 1522. As the last any year divisible by four. disk of the Moon appears to move slowly across the surface The period from one vernal equinox to the next (the of the Sun. illuminated gas around the Sun becomes visible. of thin. 5 hours. hiding an ever-increasing part of it. Because of the uneven edge of the approximately 365 days. approx. causing a solar eclipse. The Practical Navigator. 45 seconds. one of these points at the same time as the Sun. which light from the Sun is cut off. A Wisps of more dense gas may appear as solar critical mistake was made by John Hamilton Moore in prominences. part of the Moon may be in the Earth’s shadow for almost and a total eclipse of the Sun occurs. See Chapter 18 for an in-depth discussion of time. causing a lunar than that of the Sun. and some Within the dot. the Moon would pass in front of the Sun at every can occur is a little more than seven minutes. the Earth’s shadow at the distance few miles in diameter. Our calendar. unless it is a century year. and a partial eclipse occurs. the Moon If the Moon is near apogee. new Moon. causing an error in the tables in his diffused by the atmosphere surrounding the shadow. and 1900 were not leap years. As the book. If the Moon is at perigee. 1700. the relative orbital speeds of the Moon and Earth. without a total or annular eclipse. the light is not cut off evenly. It is total eclipse occurs. and (principally) the relative apparent If the orbit of the Moon coincided with the plane of the diameters of the Sun and Moon. The maximum length that ecliptic. the solar corona. The Sun and Moon are of nearly the same apparent size An eclipse of the Moon (or lunar eclipse) occurs when to an observer on the Earth. If the Moon passes If the shadow of the Moon passes close to the Earth. 1800. zone time if a nearby reference distance around the shadow. or passes between the mountain peaks. For a considerable 4 hours. Because of the Moon’s orbit is inclined 5° with Earth. there are two points at Sun around its edge. until the cycle of the seasons) is known as the tropical year. But though the length has been slowly changing for many several last illuminated portions appear through the valleys centuries. In the line of Greenwich or Universal Time if the Greenwich meridian travel of the shadow a partial eclipse occurs as the round is used. mountainous Moon. 48 minutes. A total Earth. This error caused the loss of Moon appears to continue on across the face of the Sun. from west to east. the Gregorian calendar. more often than a total eclipse. Eclipses of the Sun and Moon. the Moon usually passes above or Moon and Sun. but 2000 was. the at least one ship and was later discovered by Nathaniel Sun finally emerges from the other side. first as Baily’s Bowditch while writing the first edition of The New Beads. Eclipses of the shadow on the Earth. eclipse of the Moon can last nearly 13/4 hours. its apparent diameter is less would pass through the Earth’s shadow. Since the diameter of the Earth is about 31/2 its shadow reaches the Earth as a nearly round dot only a times that of the Moon. At full Moon. a partial eclipse may occur eclipse takes place. The dot moves rapidly across the of the Moon is much larger than that of the Moon. or envelope must be divisible by 400 to be a leap year. The only light reaching the observer is that calling 1800 a leap year. of its surface is obscured by the Moon. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 233 own meridian is used. Thus. This annular eclipse occurs a little which the plane of the Moon’s orbit intersects the ecliptic. part of the surface of the Sun meridian is used over a spread of longitudes. but with a thin ring of the shadow at full Moon. Over a small area of the Earth directly in line with the respect to the ecliptic. a solar but not directly in line with it. the the Moon passes through the shadow of the Earth. as the Moon continues in its orbit. and is obscured. These are the nodes of the Moon’s orbit. the location 1522. Figure 1522.

6 days. astronomic latitude and longitude are not circles. A lunar eclipse is visible less than a calendar year because of regression of the over the entire hemisphere of the Earth facing the Moon. Three kinds of latitude at point A. and Moon are nearly aligned on the atmosphere of the Earth. eclipse some light does reach the Moon. although these nautical miles customarily used by the navigator is correct expressions are sometimes used to refer to astronomical at about latitude 45°. Elements of the Celestial Sphere equator (sometimes called equinoctial) is formed by pro- jecting the plane of the Earth’s equator to the celestial The celestial sphere (Article 1501) is an imaginary sphere. and a separate plane of the geodetic equator (QQ'). The celestial celestial sphere. Figure 1523) the irregularities are small. However. These coordinates are customarily found by means of celes- tial observations. and can be as few as two. about 60. because of deflection of the vertical due to uneven distribution of the mass of the Earth. Figure 1523) between a line in the direction of gravity (AB) at a station and the plane of the equator (QQ'). These coordinates are used for increasing from about 59. and Moon. detic meridian at Greenwich. These values are obtained Because of the oblate shape of the ellipsoid. and the meridians Geodetic latitude is the angle (ACQ. But during a lunar of the restricted areas over which solar eclipses are visible. During an almost equal period. the length when astronomical latitude and longitude are corrected for of a degree of geodetic latitude is not everywhere the same. MEASUREMENTS ON THE CELESTIAL SPHERE 1524. The value of 60 tude and geographic longitude.6' at lati- spheroid and the axis of the Earth and the plane of the geo. . Latitude And Longitude Latitude and longitude are coordinates used to locate positions on the Earth. and always there are at least two. a cycle of eclipses occurs. If the Earth were perfectly homogeneous and round. although Geocentric latitude is the angle (ADQ. these positions would be consistent and satisfac- Figure 1523.234 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY During a total solar eclipse no part of the Sun is visible lunar eclipses. Geodetic longitude is expression is not used. are ellipses. In a little more than 18 years the line of nodes Anyone who can see the Moon can see the eclipse. During any one year there may be as many as five returns to approximately the same position with respect to eclipses of the Sun. Earth. Figure 1523) be. There the Sun. deflection of the vertical. COORDINATES 1523. and hence the eclipsed full Moon line of nodes twice each eclipse year of 346. and the meridional component (affecting the Earth. or none. This differs from geodetic latitude because the latitude) as much as 25". Earth is a spheroid rather than a sphere. There are more solar than differences. This article discusses three different definitions of these coordinates. tory. Astronomic longitude is the angle between the plane of the celestial meridian at a station and the plane of the celestial meridian at Greenwich. may be as many as three eclipses of the Moon. The north and south celestial poles of this sphere sphere. Since the parallels of latitude are considered to tween a normal to the spheroid (AC) at a station and the be circles. but the latter can be seen more often because because the Moon is in the line of sight. This is is visible as a faint reddish disk. The difference between geocentric the angle between the plane defined by the normal to the and geodetic latitudes is a maximum of about 11. It is the arc of a great circle through the poles of the are located by extension of the Earth’s axis. diffracted by the The Sun. Earth. The called the saros. lines of equal latitude. geodetic longitude is geocentric. Astronomic latitude is the angle (ABQ.3 nautical miles at the poles. A celestial meridian is formed by the intersection sphere of infinite radius with the Earth at its center (Figure of the plane of a terrestrial meridian and the celestial 1524a). nodes. tude 45°.7 nautical miles at the equator to charting and are frequently referred to as geographic lati. In the United States the prime at the center of the ellipsoid between the plane of its equator vertical component (affecting longitude) may be a little (QQ') and a straight line (AD) to a point on the surface of more than 18". During the total number of eclipses during a single year does not exceed following saros the cycle is repeated with only minor seven.

It is similar to a parallel of latitude on the Earth. is called right ascension The location of a body on its hour circle is defined by and is usually expressed in time units. Two basic methods of locating the hour circle are in An hour circle is a great circle through the celestial use. the body’s angular distance from the celestial equator. spherical spirals as they ian between the poles is called the upper branch if it circle the Earth. and references to a celestial meridian are understood to A point on the celestial sphere may be identified at the mean only its upper branch unless otherwise stated. is measured north or south of indicate its angular distance west of a celestial meridian the celestial equator in degrees. It is . since the change is relatively contains the zenith and the lower branch if it contains the slow. The celestial equator is the primary great circle. The zenith lution around the Earth is called its diurnal circle. It is not and nadir are the extremities of a diameter of the celestial actually a circle if a body changes its declination. since it connects all points of equal the observer. The arc of a celestial merid. If the Greenwich celestial meridian is similar to latitude on the Earth. an observer is the zenith. The upper branch is frequently used in navigation. used as the reference. it is called local hour angle (LHA). the bodies are describing flat. It is circle through a point on the celestial sphere. but moves with the celestial vernal equinox or first point of Aries. (Figure 1524c). Since the sphere through the observer and the common center of the declination of all navigational bodies is continually chang- Earth and the celestial sphere. Greenwich hour angle (GHA). and if the meridian of allel of declination. is called sidereal sphere as it rotates about the Earth. ally considered identical. However. the angular distance is called A circle parallel to the celestial equator is called a par. called declination. a diurnal circle and a parallel of declination are usu- nadir. ing. Celes. such as 65° west. while a celestial hour angle (SHA) (Figure 1524b). eastward from the vernal equinox. measured meridian remains fixed with respect to the Earth. from 0° through 90°. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 235 Figure 1524a. Elements of the celestial sphere. counterparts. This The second method of locating the hour circle is to distance. the angular distance west of a reference hour poles and a point or body on the celestial sphere. called the similar to a celestial meridian. This angle. intersection of its parallel of declination and its hour circle. The point on the celestial sphere vertically overhead of declination. First. and the point on the opposite side The path of a celestial body during its daily apparent revo- of the sphere vertically below him is the nadir. tial meridians take the names of their terrestrial The parallel of declination is identified by the declination.

. A point on the celestial sphere can be located by its declination and hour angle.236 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY Figure 1524b. A point on the celestial sphere can be located by its declination and sidereal hour angle. Figure 1524c.

It is measured along at the celestial pole. or the arc of the celestial equator be- sphere latitude becomes declination. The celestial equator system of coordinates. expanded until it reaches the celestial sphere. while longitude tween the upper branch of the local celestial meridian and the becomes sidereal hour angle. direction of measurement. since either pole hour circle. similarly measured. ther an easterly or westerly direction from the local meridian. instead of the local meridi- at the celestial poles. measured equinox. equator. westward from the local celestial meridian. either 90° – d or 90° + d. It is Declination is angular distance north or south of the also the similar arc of the parallel of declination and the angle celestial equator (d in Figure 1525a). showing measurements of declination. . when it is called meridian angle (t) and labeled pole. forms the basis Local hour angle (LHA) is angular distance west of the of the celestial equator system of coordinates. Polar distance (p) is angular distance from a celestial through 180°. depending upon the pole used. It is labeled N or S to indicate the an. the expression Greenwich hour angle (GHA) is applied. polar distance. It is measured along an or other points having the same hour angle lie along the same hour circle and may vary from 0° to 180°. through 360°. COORDINATE SYSTEMS 1525. Figure 1525a. On the celestial local celestial meridian. as longitude is measured on the using altitude and azimuth coordinates based upon the Earth. in which case it is called meridian angle horizon as the primary great circle instead of the celestial (designated “t”). though it may be The familiar graticule of latitude and longitude lines. from 0° at the celestial equator through 90° meridian is used as the reference. It is usually considered the complement of declination. or the arc of an hour circle between the celestial pole E or W to indicate the direction of measurement. All bodies and a point on the celestial sphere. and local hour angle. All points having the same It is sometimes convenient to measure the arc or angle in ei- declination lie along a parallel of declination. The Celestial Equator System of Coordinates may be used as the origin of measurement. If the Greenwich (0°) an hour circle. measured from the vernal hour circle through a point on the celestial sphere. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 237 sometimes more convenient to measure hour angle either A point on the celestial sphere may also be located eastward or westward.

depends primarily upon (1) the refractive index of the air The time diagram shown in Figure 1525b illustrates and (2) the height of the observer’s eye above the surface. but when elevated above the surface. Since the radius of the LHA is greater than 180°. since several different horizons are defined. rangements of radii. the relationship between the various hour angles and merid.238 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY Because of the apparent daily rotation of the celestial 1526. and In Figure 1525b arc GM is the longitude. but meridian an- gle increases from 0° at the celestial meridian to 180°W. At sea the visible culmination). but that when through the eye of the observer at A. However. The horizons used in navigation. hour angle continually increases. the geoidal horizon if it is observer’s meridian Note that when LHA is less than 180°. The average rate of the Moon is about 15. each body crosses each The line where Earth and sky appear to meet is called branch of the celestial meridian approximately once a day.5°. except for relative magnitudes of the quantities involved. t = 360° – LHA and is labeled E. these horizons become superimposed. eye becomes the vertex of a cone which is tangent to the . with the upper branch of the observ- vertical of the observer and contains his zenith (Z) and nadir er’s meridian (PsM) at the top. Figure 1526. which in this case most measurements are referred only to the celestial hori- is west. horizon system of coordinates. its position relative to the celestial sphere lower transit to indicate crossing of the lower branch. and then decreases to 0° again. as at A. The navigator is directly concerned is based upon the horizon as rate of change for the mean Sun is 15° per hour. The Sun’s hour circle is to the east of the observ. The second set of celestial coordinates with which the which is also 180°E. and the sensible horizon if it passes t is numerically the same and is labeled W. On land this is usually an This crossing is called meridian transit (sometimes called irregular line unless the terrain is level. The relationships shown apply equally to other ar. the visible or apparent horizon. The circle is the celestial equator as seen from straight line through A and the center of the Earth O is the above the South Pole. The rate of the primary great circle. horizon. Figure 1526 shows a cross section of the Earth and ce- lestial sphere through the position of an observer at A. and However. Time diagram. crossing of the upper branch of the celestial meridian. the Moon’s hour circle is to the west of the through the center of the Earth. As the celestial sphere rotates. If the eye of the observer is at the surface of the Earth. his Figure 1525b. tangent to the Earth. This is sometimes called the rational horizon. his visible horizon coincides with the plane of the geoidal horizon. Ps is the hour circle of the vernal tal plane. The Horizons sphere. Earth is considered negligible with respect to that of the ce- lestial sphere. The radius PsG is the (Na). It is the celestial horizon if the plane passes er’s meridian. these should be thoroughly all other bodies except the Moon is within 3' of this val- understood before proceeding with a consideration of the ue. A plane perpendicular to the true vertical is a horizon- Greenwich meridian. It may be called upper transit to indicate horizon appears very regular and is often very sharp. and its intersection with the celestial sphere is a equinox. A ian angle. zon.

and sidereal hour angle are geographical and celestial equator systems are independent measured westward through 360°. or simply the prime vertical. with one important difference. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 239 Earth at the small circle BB. and the vertical circles are similar to meridians. the celestial equator. That is. The vertical primary great circle and a series of secondary vertical circle through the east and west points of the horizon. and circles which are great circles through the zenith and nadir hence perpendicular to the principal vertical circle. One of these poles (having the horizon but below the celestial horizon. the celestial horizon is similar to the tial sphere in B'B'. the elevated pole. Thus. called the depressed pole. Elements of the celestial sphere. and which intersects the celes. and includes the zenith of the observer. The other. it is also a celestial meridian. as shown in Figure 1526. The horizon and celestial equator systems measured eastward or westward through 180° and labeled E coincide for an observer at the geographical pole of the or W to indicate the direction of measurement. the geometrical horizon. This equator. Figure 1527a. horizon is usually above the geometrical and visible The vertical circle through the north and south points horizons. but expression is sometimes applied to the celestial horizon. is called of the observer and hence perpendicular to his horizon the prime vertical circle. the difference increasing as elevation increases. In the horizon sys- This system is based upon the celestial horizon as the tem it is called the principal vertical circle. At all other places the two are oblique. Greenwich hour angle. . In Figure 1525b the Local hour while the primary and secondary great circles of both the angle. Since this vertical circle is a great circle 1527. Meridian angle (t) is of the observer. Earth and are mutually perpendicular for an observer on the For any elevation above the surface. is below the horizon. It of the horizon passes through the poles of the celestial equa- is thus possible to observe a body which is above the visible tor system of coordinates. The celestial horizon is the primary great circle. the visible horizon C'C' appears vertical circles are dependent upon the position of the above but is actually slightly below the geometrical horizon observer and hence move with him as he changes position. (Figure 1527a). The Horizon System of Coordinates through the celestial poles. The celestial horizon and Because of refraction. the body’s same name as the latitude) is above the horizon and is called altitude is negative and its zenith distance is greater than 90°.

The horizon system of coordinates. celestial meridians vertical circles circles of latitude prime meridian hour circle of Aries principal or prime vertical circle circle of latitude through Aries parallels parallels of declination parallels of altitude parallels of latitude latitude declination altitude celestial altitude colatitude polar distance zenith distance celestial colatitude longitude SHA. Earth Celestial Equator Horizon Ecliptic equator celestial equator horizon ecliptic poles celestial poles zenith. showing measurement of altitude. azimuth. amplitude celestial longitude Table 1527. The four systems of celestial coordinates and their analogous terms. vertical circle from 0° through 180°. All points having the above the horizon. GHA. It is measured along a distance below the horizon. altitude is angular distance tables for use in celestial navigation. It is measured along a vertical circle. as shown in Figure 1526. It is usually considered vided for by including certain negative altitudes in some the complement of altitude.240 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY Figure 1527b. azimuth angle. As shown in Figure 1527b. RA. Altitude Zenith distance (z) is angular distance from the measured from the visible horizon may exceed 90° because zenith. and azimuth angle. nadir ecliptic poles meridians hours circle. same altitude lie along a parallel of altitude. zenith distance. is pro. called negative altitude. Angular a point on the celestial sphere. For a body above the celestial . LHA. t azimuth. from 0° at the horizon through 90° at the zenith. or the arc of a vertical circle between the zenith and of the dip of the horizon.

Table 1527 indicates the analogous the orthographic view of the horizon system of coordinates term or terms under each system. or the bearing of the geographical position. It is azimuth the right half is considered the upper branch. Point A thus located can be It could be measured either to the right or left. In practice. its of measurement. west is clockwise. This is the plan view. the body would have been on the eastern to each other and to the terrestrial system. and lim. Celestial longitude is measured projected upward to A'. This system of coordinates is of interest In this example the star is on that half of the sphere chiefly to astronomers. The horizon would appear as a diameter. The measured either clockwise or counterclockwise through intersection of the hour circle and celestial equator. The A celestial body can be located by altitude and azimuth view would be similar to an orthographic map of the Earth. If LHA had been The four systems of celestial coordinates are analogous greater than 180°. as that of the lower figure. extended if on this line (actually a circle viewed on edge). If the altitude is 25°. From the east or west point over the celestial horizon. starting at the angle is measured clockwise from this line to the hour north point on the horizon. draw the upper diagram so altitude and the vertical circle. The center of this circle is somewhere 90° from the ecliptic are the north and south ecliptic poles. and parallels horizon. although each has or “back” side. located by measuring either arc. Since the view is from above the north azimuth or azimuth angle depending upon the method of celestial pole. the great circle appearing as zenith and nadir. In the lower diagram from above the zenith is shown in the upper diagram. of declination as straight lines parallel to the equator. the upper diagram is not eastward along the ecliptic through 360°. and point A is celestial latitude. The parallel of declination is a line through this point mately by the arc of a circle through A' and the zenith and and parallel to the celestial equator. If a star has a declination of 30° N. in a manner similar to that used with the celestial equator A number of useful relationships can be demonstrated system. the outer limit would be a celestial meridian. starting at the drawn. azimuths are measured equator. Angular the lower diagram. since the celestial meridian 1528. The body is at the intersection of the parallel of To locate the hour circle. Since the upper diagram that Pn is directly above Pn of the lower figure (in line with serves only to locate A' on the lower diagram. except for the principal vertical circle. The circle is the sphere. analogous to parallels on the Earth. and the vertical circle represented approxi- south. the zenith and nadir as poles 90° from and over the celestial equator. plane of the ecliptic. starting at the north point of the horizon in north can be projected down to the lower diagram (point A') by a latitude and the south point of the horizon in south latitude. being shown here for illustrative purposes. toward the observer. The star is somewhere nadir. Refer to Figure 1528a. along the celestial equator line QQ'. In both methods it is an arc of the horizon (or celestial meridian shown as a circle in the lower diagram. necessary. or an angle at the zenith. point A. Diagram on the Plane of the Celestial Meridian is also the principal vertical circle. Pn. If the circle represents the celestial meridian. Pn and Ps the north and south celestial poles. or the western part. at such a distance that the the horizon. local hour (Zn) if measured clockwise through 360°. and the prime vertical. If parallel of altitude). as shown at substituted for the ellipses without destroying the basic hh' in the lower diagram of Figure 1528b. analogous to It is usually found by trial and error. an angle of and the azimuth angle is N70°W. and azimuth angle (Z) if circle. the LHA distance north or south of the ecliptic. Arcs of circles can be drawn as a straight line parallel to the horizon. and the circle is of the same diameter celestial horizon it is equal to 90° – (– h) or 90° + h. vernal equinox. Ps. as shown. this angle is measured from by drawing a diagram on the plane of the celestial meridian the horizon toward the zenith and the parallel of altitude is showing this orthographic view. In the figure the azimuth is 290° respectively. as shown. The points through A'. clockwise from this point. as shown. and vertical circles as ellipses through the view would be orthographic. are circles of latitude. The vertical circle is 30° can be measured from the celestial equator. the two can . The celestial equator which would appear as a diameter perpendicular to the would appear as a diameter 90° from the poles. as shown. 180°. the two can be combined. In this case the LHA is 80°. The plan view relationships. Other celestial which would appear as a circle. and would projected vertically downward to A' on the horizon of the have been toward the south pole if the declination had been lower diagram. meridians would appear as ellipses. are Since the upper diagram serves only to locate point A' in parallels of latitude or circles of longitude. analogous to the equator. looking The horizontal direction of a point on the celestial down on the celestial sphere from the top. The circles parallel to the hour circle and parallel of declination locates the star. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 241 horizon it is equal to 90° – h and for a body below the the polar axis Pn-Ps). The series of great circles through these poles. The diameter QQ' is the measurement. The elliptical hour The ecliptic system is based upon the ecliptic as the circle can be represented approximately by an arc of a circle primary great circle. analogous to latitude. That is. parallels of altitude as straight lines From an imaginary point outside the celestial sphere parallel to the horizon. would be similar to that of the celestial equator system from a point over the celestial equator. The center of this circle is on NS. units. is called celestial equator. straight line parallel to the polar axis. distinctions such as differences in directions. QQ' the celestial north is taken at the left. extended if necessary. arc can be drawn in the lower diagram. The intersection of the meridians.

the zenith is 37° north of the celestial equator. The alti- Since the celestial meridian appears the same in both tude. By convention. the intersection of this arc with the horizon. if properly oriented. point A located on the lower diagram and by the black lines. the zenith is shown at the LHA. N70°W. and the coordinates of the tical line intersecting the circle at A. it is on the verse process to that described above. The parallel of declination is then directly behind it.242 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY Figure 1528a. NS. Point L' is located by Since the zenith is established at the top of the diagram. The azimuth. top and the north point of the horizon at the left. Draw a line hh' western or “front” side of the diagram. and described above. a body can be A'. the drawing the arc of a circle through Pn. the star. as shown. be combined. The west If altitude and azimuth are given. locating L. the two diagrams of a circle through the body and the zenith and nadir. Measurement of horizon system of coordinates. equator can be found by measuring an arc of 37° toward the From L' a line is drawn perpendicular to QQ'. Measurement of celestial equator system of Figure 1528b. as shown. The prefix N is applied Refer to Figure 1528c. and the red lines the the prime vertical circle. coordinates. Since the body of the The altitude and azimuth can be determined by the re- example has an azimuth greater than 180°. is found by measurement. and the east point means of the red lines. along the celestial meridian. and the decli- Therefore. is found by measurement. If the declination is The meridian angle is then found by measurement. nation determined by measurement. Draw the arc the celestial equator and horizon systems. drawn parallel to QQ'. 25°. the body can be located as shown lination is known to be north because the body is between . represent the celestial equator system. In the figure the latitude is 37°N. From can be combined and. 80°. the body is located by point on the horizon is at the center. draw a ver- located by one set of coordinates. as shown. shows that the body is west of the meridian. through the body and parallel to the horizon. The suffix W applies because the horizon system. the celestial equator. projected upward to A'. in which the black lines to agree with the latitude. The dec- 30°N and the LHA is 80°. and Ps. other system can be determined by measurement. south. The body is left (north) of ZNa.

Figure 1528d. the Sun is on the horizon azimuth angle is numerically the same as at sunrise. The meridian angle. by definition. relationship is the basis of the method of determining Continuing on. to As the Sun moves upward along its parallel of start another cycle. to agree with the latitude and suffixed E to agree with the After sunset the Sun continues on downward. position 1. Its is the arc QL. the celestial equator and the north celestial pole. it arrives at same name (both north or both south). The latitude of the observer (NPn numerically the same. its altitude increases. The declination of the Sun (Q4) is 20°N. arriving at position 1 at the next sunrise. The altitude is Nh' or Sh. The parallel of declination. z. until it reaches position 5. t. A body is not in the zenith at meridian transit unless its is. Its altitude. A. The amplitude is azimuth angle. note the after meridian transit and sets at position 1. arc NPn is equal to arc ZQ. is the arc Z4. (position 2). The altitude is the same as when useful in approximating a number of relationships. along its meridian angle of the Sun at sunrise. Hence. declination. It reaches position 2 at Half the cycle is from the crossing of the 90° hour cir- about 0600. ZNa. Zn = 063°. At this point. and the body is above the horizon more than half the . Z. and its azi- Sun is east of the meridian at rising. to agree with the azimuth. which is equal to the latitude. the following: At sunrise. more than half the position 4 on the celestial meridian about noon-when t and parallel of declination (position 1 to 4 to 1) is above the ho- LHA are both 0°. on the amplitude. the altitude of the elevated pole is equal to the declination’s magnitude and name are the same as the declination of the zenith. is now greatest. Z. previously on the prime vertical. A diagram on the plane of the celestial meridian for lat. about midnight. at the “back” of the diagram. is N90°E. when t = 90°E. and Zn = 360° – 63° = 297°. Its azimuth angle. NS are also perpendicular. and ZNa and maximum altitude. “front” or western side of the diagram. 110°E. The LHA is 360° – muth is 000°. E27°N. At position 3 it is again The diagram on the plane of the celestial meridian is on the prime vertical. body’s azimuth is 000° or 180°. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 243 Figure 1528c. The merid. The suffix E is applied because the negative altitude. The zenith distance. 27°. of the diagram. At position 3 it is on the prime cle (the PnPs line. 45°N. When the declination and latitude have the Moving on up its parallel of declination. and Zn = celestial meridian (position 4) and back to the PnPs line 090°. That 25°. is 0°. and the azimuth angle is Consider Figure 1528d. arc N5. This is prefixed N W27°N. Its westerly. h. This latitude. position 2) to the upper branch of the vertical. In this case it is 180° because ian angle is west. The maximum altitude occurs is numerically the same. or ZQ) is 45°N. at meridian transit. the Sun moves downward along the latitude by an observation of Polaris. N63°E. In this case the arc S4 represents the Since QQ' and PnPs are perpendicular. 65°. 25°. but (NS). The Sun reaches position 2 six hours Neglecting the change in declination for one day. but now measured toward the west. The azimuth is 270°. is the arc NA. is the arc ZA. On the celestial meridian a rizon. and hence LHA the body is south of the zenith. At this point it starts back up along the “back” 110° = 250°. lower branch of the celestial meridian. Diagram on the plane of the celestial meridian.

244 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY time. diagram on the plane of the celestial meridian. the body is on the hori- numerically smaller than the latitude. it is shown above the southern Figure 1528d. the body is in the na- and sets on the same side of the prime vertical as the elevat. the body crosses the prime vertical tude ZA. and the azimuth angle SA. on the opposite side of the the horizon half the time. latitude is 45°S. bearing north. parallax. Figure 1528e. and numerically greater than the colatitude. the branch of the celestial meridian. If the declination is of contrary name prime vertical above the horizon. If the declination and lat. It remains above the horizon for less opposite side of the prime vertical from the elevated pole. the derived by means of a diagram on the plane of the celestial body crosses the upper branch of the celestial meridian be. height of eye. In this illustration the during its entire daily cycle and has maximum and mini. The azimuth at rising is arc NA. This is shown by the black dotted line in Since Ps is the elevated pole. the not rise. on the upper tion is of contrary name (one north and the other south). If the dec- lination is of the same name as the latitude and numerically It is customary to keep the same orientation in south greater than the colatitude. with both SPs and ZQ equal to the latitude. and the declination of the body is 15°N. and apparent speed of the body along its latitude and complementary to it (d + L = 90°). the ampli- smaller than the latitude. than half the time because declination and latitude are of If the declination is of contrary name and numerically contrary name. the body is diurnal circle. can be the same name but numerically greater than the latitude. along its parallel of declination to position 2. . If the declination is of All of these relationships. It moves upward QQ'. crossing the 90° hour circle above the horizon. If the declina. on the horizon at lower transit and does not set. If the declination is of contrary name meridian transit is shown at hh'. mum altitudes. as shown in Figure 1528e. It rises and numerically equal to the latitude. the body is above the horizon latitude. The altitude circle at below the horizon. the body crosses the zon at upper transit. meridian. They are modified slightly by atmospheric tween the zenith and elevated pole and does not cross the refraction. If the declination is 0° at any latitude. changes in prime vertical. the body is above The body rises at position 1. If the declination is of contrary name ed pole. 45°S. It rises and sets on the tion 1. If the declination is of the same name but and complementary to the latitude. A diagram on the plane of the celestial Figure 1528f. If the declination is of the same name as the declination. semidiameter. body is in the zenith at upper transit. the body does itude have the same name and are numerically equal. and rises and sets on the prime vertical. Locating a point on an ellipse of a meridian for lat. where it sets. and then it body is above the horizon less than half the time and crosses moves downward along the “front” of the diagram to posi- the 90° hour circle below the horizon. 45°. dir at lower transit. horizon. following the celestial equator prime vertical from the elevated pole. and those that follow.

′ 0′..1 90° N.1 360° — meridian local hour parallel of angle LHA local celestial meridian declination W hour circle °. NAVIGATIONAL COORDINATES Direc. ′ 0′. horizon half the time. W amplitude A east. ′ 0′. Preci. and are above the latitude increases. Navigational Coordinates. ′ 0′. The colatitude becomes smaller equal to the declination. the celestial equator becomes more near. m.1 180° or 90° N.1 90° — longitude λ. At rising and setting the amplitude is ly parallel to the horizon.1 90°* — zenith parallel of distance z zenith vertical circle down altitude °. S parallel of polar distance p elevated pole hour circle S.1 360° — right hour circle of parallel of h. Maximum Coordinate Symbol Measured from Measured along Measured to Units Labels tion sion value latitude L. N parallel °.... W sidereal hour parallel of angle SHA hour circle of vernal equinox declination W hour circle °. ′ 0′. W local meridian °. N declination °.1 180° E. poles meridian S.N. m. Bodies rise and set vertically. s ascension RA vernal equinox declination E hour circle 1s 24h — lower branch Greenwich Greenwich parallel of hour circle mean h. ′ 0′.1 360° — azimuth angle Z north.1 90° E.1 180° E. m. As the zon. S Greenwich Greenwich parallel of hour angle GHA celestial declination W hour circle °. S colatitude colat. S. s mean time GMT celestial declination W Sun 1s 24h — meridian local mean lower branch parallel of hour circle mean LMT local celestial W h. winter while the other is having summer. S declination °. As the latitude changes name. lat. equator meridian N. long. parallel to the horizon. m.E. . ′ 0′. ′ 0′. west horizon N. W vertical circle ° 0°. W parallel of declination d. which neither rise nor set. W hour circle °. prime meridian parallel E. s time LST meridian declination W vernal equinox 1s 24h — *When measured from celestial horizon. m. s 1s 24h — time meridian declination apparent Sun Greenwich Greenwich parallel of hour circle GST celestial W h.1 180° — parallel of altitude h horizon vertical circle up altitude °. At the verses. At meridian transit the altitude is increasing the number of circumpolar bodies and those equal to the codeclination.1 90° N. ′ 0′. Figure 1528g. W. ′ 0′. ′ 0′.1 360° — meridian parallel of angle t local celestial meridian declination E. m.1 180° — azimuth Zn north horizon E vertical circle ° 0°. S parallel °. s 1s 24h — sidereal time meridian declination vernal equinox local sidereal local celestial parallel of hour circle h. dec. celestial equator hour circle N. s apparent time GAT celestial declination W apparent Sun 1s 24h — meridian local apparent lower branch parallel of hour circle LAT local celestial W h. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 245 A diagram on the plane of the celestial meridian can be At the equator the 90° hour circle coincides with the hori- used to demonstrate the effect of a change in latitude. m. s 1s 24h — time meridian declination Sun lower branch parallel of hour circle mean zone time ZT zone celestial W h. south horizon E. S body ° 0°. This accounts for the fact that one hemisphere has poles celestial bodies circle the sky. It also increases the difference in the same-contrary name relationship with declination re- the length of the days between summer and winter. m. s 1s 24h — meridian declination Sun lower branch Greenwich Greenwich parallel of hour circle h.

identify an unknown celestial body. Arc LM of the hour circle is the A triangle formed by arcs of great circles of a sphere is declination of the body. This re- finement is seldom used because actual values are usually found mathematically. an hour circle.246 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY The error arising from showing the hour circles and The navigational triangle is shown in Figure 1529a on vertical circles as arcs of circles instead of ellipses increases a diagram on the plane of the celestial meridian. which is not on the Earth. If a semicir- cle is drawn with the altitude circle as a diameter. Arc AM of the vertical circle is the altitude 1529. is the colatitude. The GP of the Sun is sometimes called the subsolar point. . and azimuth angle. pivoted at the center. celestial sphere is called a celestial triangle. rather than the horizon. either directly or observer and the geographical position (GP) of the body indirectly. and the ellipse in red. The arc of a circle is shown in black. dd' is its parallel of can be obtained by measurement of azimuth on the parallel declination. and meridian angle. arc QZ of the celestial meridian is the systems. one can visualize the diagram on the plane of the celestial meridian without making an actual drawing. and that of a star its of a celestial observation to establish a line of position. The intersection of this arc with the altitude circle at 60° places the body at M. is the azimuth angle. that of the Moon 1. The vertices are the two generally used by the navigator. latitude of the observer. and a point on the celestial the elevated pole. PnZM. on either the orthographic or stereographic projection. having the hour triangle of particular significance to navigators is called the circle and the celestial meridian as sides. and side PnM of the triangle is the called a spherical triangle. the most common are: (the point having the body in its zenith). and side ZM of the triangle is the zenith distance. of altitude instead of the horizon. The spherical The angle at the elevated pole. to find the sublunar point. formed by arcs of a celestial angle. ZPnM. one side of the triangle. This is used in the reduction artificial) the subsatellite point. places and a pole. is the meridian navigational triangle. having the hour circle and the is also called a navigational triangle. have been produced commercially to provide a mechanical diagram on the plane of the celestial meridian. and PnZ. The angle at the zenith. which includes are the elevated pole. as previously described. the diagram on the plane of the me- ridian being used primarily to indicate relationships. and of hour angle on the parallel of declination instead of the celestial equator. such a device is not a necessary part Figure 1529a. The navigational triangle. substellar or subastral point. is the parallactic angle (X) of two meridians and the great circle connecting two places (sometimes called the position angle). The angle sphere (usually a celestial body). Refer to Figure 1528f. In great-circle sailing these places are the point of departure and the destination. one on each meridian. The Earth with increased declination or altitude. More accurate results is at the center. in effect. locating A' by means of A. either the celestial or terrestrial declination and meridian angle. t. Its vertices circle and that arc of the celestial meridian. Given latitude. or codeclination. rotated through 90° for the measurement. However. or coaltitude. With experience. ZMPn. is. a perpendicular to the hour circle locates the body at M'. The star is at M. Given latitude. Figure 1528g summarizes navigation coordinate In the figure. This is used to triangle may be called the astronomical triangle. and the azimuth angle measured around this. of the navigator’s equipment. on the ellipse. since the diagram’s principal use is to illustrate certain relationships. having the vertical meridian. O. The vertical circle shown is for a body hav- ing an azimuth angle of S60°W. that of a satellite (either natural or altitude and azimuth angle. the zenith. to B. The terrestrial counterpart at the celestial body. Devices with two sets of spherical coordinates. By this method the altitude circle. to find celestial observation. In celestial A number of problems involving the navigational tri- navigation they are the assumed position (AP) of the angle are encountered by the navigator. The black arc is obtained by measurement around the horizon. and hh' is its altitude circle. altitude. The Navigational Triangle of the body. and a vertical circle. When used to solve a 2. A spherical triangle on the polar distance. being formed by arcs vertical circle as sides. Of these. declination. as sides.

declination. Given the latitude of two places on the Earth and the difference of longitude between them. Once the data is en- available to assist in their identification. and various aids are the names of a single observed body. to distance. the computer identifies the bodies. azimuth when the altitude is known. Given meridian angle. and hence is defined differently. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 247 Figure 1529b. and altitude. of DR position. This involves the same parts of the find azimuth angle. to find Both celestial and terrestrial navigational triangles are the initial great-circle course and the great-circle shown in perspective in Figure 1529b. solves the sights. azimuth. 4. Navigational calculators or computer programs can A basic requirement of celestial navigation is the identify virtually any celestial body observed. This is not diffi. This may be used to find triangle as in 1. and altitude. . above. a complete cult because relatively few stars and planets are round of sights can be taken and solved without knowing commonly used for navigation. In fact. 3. IDENTIFICATION OF STARS AND PLANETS 1530. but in the terrestrial triangle. Introduction 1530a and Figure 1532a. The navigational triangle in perspective. See Figure tered. given inputs ability to identify the bodies observed.

248 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY Figure 1530a. Navigational stars and the planets. .

Star charts may show a similar view. such as A. In these catalogs. plus Polaris. The zenith of the observer is at • Common Name: Most names of stars. this is similar to the sky. All of the 173 stars 30°S. however. An the Sun and Moon. One of the stars of the Nautical meridian. . Stars 1532. often they are based upon the view from inside the sphere. their common name. It is useful to be able to identify stars by relative position. The horizon is everywhere Only a relatively few stars have names. Star Charts The Nautical Almanac lists full navigational informa. For example. to stars in each constellation. Stars can also be identified by the Air Almanac sky di- sixth magnitude or brighter (on the entire celestial sphere) agrams. G. using declination and sidereal hour angle (or right ascension). On a star • Bayer’s Name: Most bright stars. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 249 and plots the results. the zenith can be located as indicat- included in the list near the back of the Nautical ed. The magnitude and color may be Washington 632. dark night. Each chart extends from its pole the bowl to the end of the handle. so the relationship is brightness within the constellation. About 6. the relatively fixed stars. to determine which stars are overhead. including those globe the celestial sphere is shown as it would appear to with names. constellation Cygnus. Pub. However.000 stars of the overcast. A star globe is similar to a terrestrial the stars on the daily pages of the almanacs had no sphere. from 30°N to Augsburg. and. star finder. No. starting with the hour circle of the vernal volume are particularly useful. north is at the top. but more possessive form of the name of the constellation. was named by the Babylonians. Navigators by computation. This system was suggested by John sky recognizes a planet by its changing position among Flamsteed (1646-1719). and the stars. without regard to constel- Almanac. but with stars (and often constellations) shown in- name prior to 1953. seldom have occasion to use this system. They remain within the narrow by the name of a star catalog and the number of the limits of the zodiac. A person working continually with the night lation Leo. relative to the stars. one Dipper are assigned in order from the outer rim of centered on each celestial pole. 249. The planets are identified by noting their positions relative to each other. Germany. Planets can also be equinox. Below each polar chart designation was suggested by John Bayer of is an auxiliary chart on the Mercator projection. the swan). used when there are not enough Greek letters. or by computation by hand are visible to the unaided eye on a clear. A tion on 19 first magnitude stars and 38 second magnitude star chart (Figure 1532a and Figure 1532b) is helpful in locating stars. The Nautical Almanac includes instructions for using this device. This hour circle has an SHA equal to 360° – Almanac. cation of a star relative to surrounding stars. the navigator can learn the • Flamsteed’s Number: This system assigns numbers stars by observation instead of by rote memorization. the letter The Nautical Almanac has four star charts. Nunki. LHA (or RA = LHA ). The information needed is found in the Nautical order from west to east. Constellations appear re- consisting of a Greek letter followed by the versed. in 1603. but are in almost constant motion star as given in the catalog. Stars are designated by one or more of the following Star charts are based upon the celestial equator sys- naming systems: tem of coordinates. On these charts. The horizon is 90° Almanac are listed by Bayer’s name. or calculator. Abbreviated information is listed for 115 these relationships and others which may be useful. the 95th star in the constel- for stars. as now used. is limited to periods of relatively clear. such as α Cygni (Deneb. stars are listed in helpful. Additional stars are listed in the Astronomical Alma. This system of star to declination 10° (same name as pole). with the top toward the north. Roman letters are as with maps. the • Catalog Number: Stars are sometimes designated Moon. the intersection of the parallel of declination equal to his were given by the ancient Arabs and some by the latitude. but east is to the left and west to the right. and the hour circle coinciding with his celestial Greeks or Romans. The charts can also be used to determine the lo- applicable. not always the case. dark skies with little or no nac and in various star catalogs. The “Planet Notes” near the front of that lation. 1531. from west to east in the No problem is encountered in the identification of order in which they cross the celestial meridian. In this way. Several of 90° from the zenith. stead of geographical positions. the planets can be mistaken example is 95 Leonis. The directions seem correct when the chart is held over- Usually. when from the zenith. a star finder. have been given a designation an observer outside the sphere. or stars having no other designation. sky diagram. the letters are assigned in order of head. The two princi- designations of the stars in Ursa Major or the Big pal ones are on the polar azimuthal equidistant projection. This system is used primarily for fainter identified by planet diagram. the Sun. the brightest star in the as seen from the Earth. On any of these charts. This method more.

. Star chart from Nautical Almanac.250 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY Figure 1532a.

Star chart from Nautical Almanac. . NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 251 Figure 1532b.

The star charts shown in Figure 1533 through Figure the southern sky three third magnitude stars and one second 1536. A longer and straighter line southward through the western side of Pegasus leads to 1533. 23 June 22 LMT 0200 Aug. 22 LMT 0600 June 22 Sept. This is Pegasus. but the brightest in its vicinity. the swan. the legendary appear in the sky. The celestial poles are marked by season Ursa Major is low in the northern sky. The almanac star charts can be used to locate the ad. 20 May 22 Aug. Most are near the southern horizon of an observer in Diphda. zon of observers in latitudes of the United States. 21 Mar. The Sun is at Aries on or about from that shown. The line through ter. extending in an arc toward the celestial sphere above the horizon at any one time or place. the princess. they do not coincide exactly with that half of the Andromeda. below the ce- crosses. Nautical Almanac. a third In autumn the evening sky has few first magnitude magnitude star. and Andromeda are near or below the horizon. 21 Dec. the winged horse. approximately one. and labeled. ridian. constellation listed on the daily pages of the Nautical Alma- The overprinted lines add certain information of use in nac is Schedar. 21 Feb. 22 June 22 Sept. shown at Aries on the ce- the celestial equator) for each hour that the time differs lestial equator to the south. the eastern side of the square of Pegasus approximates the quarter of the distance from the center to the outer edge (at hour circle of the vernal equinox. The only star of this and left edges. Ankaa is near or below the southern hori- of second and third magnitude stars seem conspicuous. and Fomalhaut form an isosceles triangle. on the transverse Mercator projection. and Vega are bright. 21 LMT 2000 Nov. legendary The zenith. The stars in the vicinity of the North Pole March 21. is also listed in the almanacs. A relatively large number apex at Diphda. the North Star (less than 1° from the and the Air Almanac. 1534 Fig. Kochab. and at a later time it is to the left. The the square of Pegasus passes through the leading (western) charts show all stars of fifth magnitude and brighter as they star of M-shaped (or W-shaped) Cassiopeia. it leads to second ditional stars given near the back of the Nautical Almanac magnitude Polaris. the second star from the leading one as the locating the stars. leads to second magnitude Diphda. assisting in its identification when Pegasus mid hour circle. 1537 Local sidereal time 0000 0600 1200 1800 LMT 1800 Dec. 22 Dec. varies with the position rescuer of Andromeda.1535 Fig. first those shown in Table 1532 the zenith is to the right of cen. stars. Four stars haps because of the small number of brighter stars. 22 Jan 21 Apr. Alpheratz is part of the constellation Therefore. when this coincides with his celestial me. of the observer on the Earth. If the line through the eastern side of the square of charts. 22 Nov. Locating the zenith on the star diagrams. Dashed lines connect stars of some of north celestial pole) and brightest star of Ursa Minor. so to north. It also varies with the rotation A line extending northward through the eastern side of of the Earth (apparent rotation of the celestial sphere). per. when it crosses the celestial equator from south can be seen in proper perspective by inverting the chart. but with some distortion toward the right mother of the princess Andromeda. pages of the Nautical Almanac. Solid lines indicate the Little Dipper. 21 May 23 LMT 0400 July 23 Oct. 22 Feb. 22 July 22 LMT 0000 Sept. northeast and terminating at Mirfak in Perseus. in Cygnus. as shown in Table 1532. one can locate his zenith approximately along the leads to Mirfak. 20 Apr. A line extending northeasterly from Fomalhaut through Diphda leads to Menkar. and about 60° (four hours) at the northeastern corner are listed on the daily pages of the each side of the central hour circle (at the celestial equator). High in farther south than Ankaa may be visible when on the celes- . If the line through the eastern side of Pegasus is that the zenith of an observer in the Northern Hemisphere is extended southward and curved slightly toward the east. 22 Mar. with the the latitudes of the United States. 21 LMT 2200 Oct. 1536 Fig. are designed magnitude star form a square with sides nearly 15° of arc to assist in learning Polaris and the stars listed on the daily in length. At any time earlier than Deneb. Pegasus is continued on toward the north. Each chart extends about Only Markab at the southwestern corner and Alpheratz 20° beyond each celestial pole. Stars in the Vicinity of Pegasus first magnitude Fomalhaut. a second magnitude star at the other celestial equator and useful relationships among stars in end of Ursa Minor. it up from the pole. At this different constellations. By means of the celestial equator and lestial pole. 23 Table 1532. and hence the horizon. magnitude stars in the northwestern sky. Ankaa. the the more prominent constellations. 21 Jan. A line extending from Kochab through Polaris the poles. 22 Mar. Only Polaris and the 57 stars listed on the configuration circles the pole in a counterclockwise direc- daily pages of the Nautical Almanac are named on the tion.252 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY Fig.

. Stars in the vicinity of Pegasus. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 253 Figure 1533.

the region toward the east. is listed on the daily pages of the Nautical Almanac. However. another triangle with Acamar to the west and Achernar to the southwest. west brightest star in the heavens and one of the two stars having of the southern part of the square. Stars in the Vicinity of Ursa Major Four conspicuous stars form a box around the belt. The observations. second constellation Aries. These If the curved line from Orion’s belt southeastward to stars. and Sirius is continued. leads to Sirius. rising and setting almost on Cassiopeia. the hunter. which trails the Pleiades. These are Hamal in the somewhat less curvature. With Suhail and Miaplacidus. brightest star in Leo. the westernmost of the three stars. nearly on the celestial equator. and northwestward from the belt of Orion. the seven other. Achernar. and Ursa Major. Hamal is in the western sky. directly opposite Cassiopeia. nearly Diphda. Continuing on with tions relative to Pegasus. is listed on the Two other almanac stars can be located by their posi. the lion. . The head. brilliant Capella in Auriga. heralding the approach of the below the horizon. evenings) through them points to Polaris. ra to the north and Suhail to the east. Neither the celestial pole. only Dubhe. forming the belt. a cool. Sirius is part of stars forming Ursa Major. the follower. the middle one. Adhara. east of Pegasus. Only appears as a “W” just above the northern horizon of most Mars and Jupiter at or near their greatest brilliance. contains Polaris at one end and Kochab at the Aldebaran. Acamar. Rigel. and Venus are brighter than Sirius. has few bright stars. Regulus and Alphard the prime vertical. leads to first magnitude forming the outline of the head and horns of Taurus points Regulus. is to the south. a hot. At the summer solstice the latitudes of the extreme southern part of the United States. may also be found by a curved line extending A line extending southward through the pointers. and dividing its time equally above and are low in the eastern sky. and an- 1534. Only in succeeding articles. observers in latitudes of the United States. in Canis Minor. like that toward the magnitude star but overshadowed by its first magnitude west. bull. and Peacock. is a few degrees west of Betelgeuse. The V-shaped figure curving somewhat toward the west. nearly midway between it and visible in virtually any latitude.6. first magnitude Pollux and second magnitude of the bowl of Ursa Major are often called the pointers Castor (not listed on the daily pages of the Nautical because a line extending northward (down in spring Almanac). a negative magnitude (–0. the twins of Gemini. only Alnilam. which in the entire heavens. In no other region are there so many In the winter evening sky. and Cassiopeia is west of it. small. Al Na’ir. a number of the box. nor any star of the dagger. Of the three second magnitude stars configurations associated with the evening skies of spring. leaving second magnitude star forming the southeastern corner of Capella and Pollux in the northwestern sky. if continued. first magnitude stars. as Orion sets in the west. is listed on the daily good navigational stars move into favorable positions for pages of the Nautical Almanac. A line extending eastward from the belt of Orion. equilateral triangle of three bright second magnitude stars Almanac stars near the bottom of Figure 1533 are discussed of nearly equal brilliancy. Aldebaran. Ursa Minor is nearly below it. form a series of triangles as shown in Figure 1533. Of the seven Moon. Orion. red As if to enhance the splendor of the sky in the vicinity star lies to the north. The belt of Orion. through first magnitude Procyon. no other configuration of er daily-page almanac stars near the bottom of Figure 1534 stars in the entire sky is as well known as Orion and its im. the in the opposite direction to that of Ursa Major. Stars in the Vicinity of Orion other with Achernar and Miaplacidus. not used by navigators for celestial closes the group of stars often mistaken for Crux. brightest star in the head of Taurus. Relative to its bowl. mediate surroundings. the Sun. the large hunting dog of are listed on the daily pages of the Nautical Almanac.9). Ursa Minor.254 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY tial meridian. the the charioteer. the handle of Ursa Minor curves sisters. rises in the east. but a prominent figure in the sky. These are Acamar. appears prominently above curving toward the south. near its center. and back down to first magnitude Little Bear. Sun is between Pollux and Aldebaran. the brightest star the north celestial pole. identified in Figure 1533. having a magnitude of –1. these triangles do not appear in the western sky. heralding brightest star within this triangle is Avior. the great bear. Betelgeuse. and Ankaa form still another triangle toward the west. bright for a second of Orion. and Alkaid the constellation Canis Major. daily pages of the Nautical Almanac. except in the vicinity of the south neighbors. the line leads to Canopus. observation. are discussed in succeeding articles. This is part of Canis Major. The line leading to Hamal. With the sky in exactly the relationship shown on the star chart. just above the horizon of observers in toward third magnitude Menkar. the small The two second magnitude stars forming the outer part hunting dog. Fomalhaut. 1535. it leads to a conspicuous. equilateral triangle which partly en- des (the Seven Sisters). the approach of the many conspicuous stars of the winter Canopus is also at one apex of a triangle formed with Adha- evening sky. See Orion. Oth- possible exception of Ursa Major. Alioth. Be- As Pegasus leaves the meridian and moves into the cause of chart distortion. Starting at Sirius a curved line extends northward Figure 1535. blue star. Ursa Major is east of Polaris. Achernar. and Enif. with each other and with Ankaa. is Mirfak is northwest of Capella. Bellatrix. Canopus forms a large. the ram. leads to the Pleia.

. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 255 Figure 1534. Stars in the vicinity of Orion.

256 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY Figure 1535. . Stars in the vicinity of Ursa Major.

the scales. and peia is at the right of Polaris. Sabik. leads to these stars are only slightly brighter than a number of others Acrux. is a striking configuration called Scorpius. Cassio. On toward star north of the celestial equator. in line with the horizontal arm of Crux. Vega forms a large but Major leads to first magnitude Arcturus. For most observers in the latitudes of the United States. it leads next to first of the tail of Cygnus. if extended in a southeasterly through Spica. the sea serpent. in the heavens. and its two fainter companions. The eastern sky is dominated by three very bright with Regulus at the end of the handle. during the evening. Major. which forms a large. a group of bright stars is a prominent less than that of the three first magnitude stars. low in the southern sky. Ursa Southern Hemisphere Crux is to the right of the south Major has moved to a position to the left of the north celes. the scorpi- Acrux at the southern end of Crux and Gacrux at the northern on. and the feature of the spring sky of the Southern Hemisphere. With Menkent and Rigil Kentaurus to the southwest. This is less conspicuous than the Vega-Deneb-Altair Far to the south. Peacock. The angular distance from called Libra. and on to southwestern corner of an inconspicuous box-like figure second magnitude Eltanin. the Nunki. Altair has two fainter stars Spica. Toward the east is stars. With a brightest star in Hydra. are west of Crux. 1536. the United States. west. Vega passes considerable imagination are needed to trace the long. opposite the handle of Ursa Al Na’ir. is red Antares. See Figure 1536. and Canopus. just beyond Hydra. the tail is Shaula. With Alkaid and conspicuous triangle with its two bright neighbors. and Alphecca. A line through the east-west arm of Crux. Miaplacidus. A tial pole. a line from Gienah. with a magnitude of 0. Arcturus forms a large. the Southern Cross. This configuration is magnitude Spica and then to Corvus. the scales. and so this parallelogram is not a striking figure. starting with the now-vertical arm of horizontal. eastward and nearby. slightly curved line from Regulus. Vega to Eltanin is about half that from Altair to Returning to Corvus.1. of which Zubenelgenubi marks the southwest corner. on opposite sides. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 257 shoulders. while it is still well toward the east. Suhail is approximate parallelogram formed by Antares. form a large equilateral triangle. curved line leads to small Triangulum Australe. inconspicuous triangle. the brightest second magnitude Denebola. brightest star in Corona Borealis. curved line. and third brightest star the southwest from Regulus is second magnitude Alphard. and the line from the pointers to Polaris is nearly long. long before Pegasus will appear over the eastern horizon the brightest star in Corona Borealis. At end are listed on the daily pages of the Nautical Almanac. passes Kochab above and to the left of the celestial pole. the Sun is on the bomber. Fomalhaut is low in the southeastern sky of the southern The only first magnitude star in the western sky is Arc. The westernmost of these is Vega. which is not marked by a conspicuous star. the Northern Crown. and the other two stars of the ward rotation. the crow. celestial pole. Far to the south of Rasalhague. the easternmost star of which is Atria. and front legs of this constellation form a sickle. Alphecca. both very bright stars. The triangles formed by Suhail. The sometimes called the Northern Cross. passes through Vega. and a little toward the The “false cross” to the west is often mistaken for Crux. the swan. extending Vega. the end of the handle of Ursa Major. The brightest star. At autumnal equinox. Stars in the Vicinity of Cygnus Antares forms a large but unimpressive triangle. By midsummer. Deneb is at the end the arc through Arcturus is continued. At then curving toward the south. Ursa Minor. forming the head. close by. with Deneb celestial equator. below the horizon of most northern triangle because the brilliance of Rasalhague is much hemisphere observers. with Crux and extending northward and then eastward. Nunki. and Enif is low in the eastern sky at turus. If angle at Vega is nearly a right angle. Antares is at the southwestern corner of an and by Suhail. through the zenith along a path across the central part of winding body of this figure. This is triangle is overshadowed by the brighter one. To an observer in the observer sink low in the western sky. the tail of the lion. the stars familiar to a spring evening triangle are below the horizon. with second magnitude diagonally across the figure and then curving somewhat Rasalhague to the west. but three others head. Vega and Altair. the Northern Deneb to the northeast and Altair to the southeast. and Canopus. from Washington in the east to San A curved line extending the arc of the handle of Ursa Francisco on the Pacific coast. leads to Zubenelgenubi at the northwesterly direction. To modern youth it more nearly resembles a dive are nearly as bright. Rigil Kentaurus. about midway between Regulus and at the nose of the fuselage. Antares is As the celestial sphere continues in its apparent west. east. A dark sky and declination of a little less than 39°N. Triangle. is standing on its handle. Crux is about 40° south of Corvus. the Southern Northwest of Scorpius is the box-like Libra. through Miaplacidus. The Crown. With the exception of Antares. successively through Hadar. toward the east. A line from Canopus. Crux. and as the winged horse climbs evening by . with Deneb at the brightest star in this constellation is Gienah. and Kaus Australis. The line formed by Altair A long. inconspicuous triangle with nearly any latitude. leads first to Hadar and then to winter solstice the Sun is a short distance northwest of Rigil Kentaurus. Adhara. Continuing on. curved slightly toward the north. With the appearance of these stars it is not Alkaid. leads to Menkent. hemisphere observer.

Stars in the vicinity of Cygnus. .258 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY Figure 1536.

which the computer will identify. Most computer pro- west. Spica. The region half way between is on the meridian. and Saturn. The data required by the calculator or program consists ing the planet diagram of the Nautical Almanac so that east of the DR position. and the region at the end marked “East” is twilights. the intersec- twilight. having been replaced officially by the STELLA time of morning twilight. approaches. more accurate. the is at the top of the diagram and west is at the bottom can be time. the region half-way between these extremes is on the When the meridian passage occurs at midnight. Jupiter. The navigator need only take sights and en- one time. Sirius is 40° south of of the availability of planets and stars for observation. The Moon symbol shows the 1. Venus. but it is still available commercially. the Sun in the center and the relative positions The planet diagram in the Nautical Almanac shows. for of the Moon. the Computer sight reduction programs can also automati- planet is a morning star. ible. The magnitudes of the planets are given at suitable intervals along the curves. and planets always move. At grams also print out a plotted fix. combines them into the best the region at the bottom of the diagram is setting in the fix. are rising in the east. body is in opposition to the Sun and is visible all night. just as the navigator might sunset (LMT about 18h) the Sun is setting in the west./long. and displays the lat. the body is observable in the west in navigational calculator or computer program is much the morning twilight with a gradually decreasing altitude. 2102D. the ter the required data.e. the meridian. for the ter. the five planets Mercury. As the time of meridian passage decreases. Saturn and the four first magnitude stars Aldebaran. the rising in the east. A similar planet location diagram in the Air Almanac represents the region of the sky along the ecliptic within 1537. At sunrise the Sun (and hence the re- curve marking the LMT of meridian passage of the Sun. quicker. region at the top of the diagram is rising in the east. The program identifies the bodies. connecting the date graduations below the shaded area. computer program. The diagram should be used in conjunc- body ceases to be observable in the morning. Mark. The name of the body is useful to interpretation. and the azimuth of the body. the sextant altitude of the body. At any time only about half the region on the diagram A band 45 minutes wide is shaded on each side of the is above the horizon. a new annual cycle shaded area. Venus. A sage decreases to 0h. Moon. The diagram provides a general picture ecliptic which is north of Sirius (i. but its altitude tion with the Sky Diagrams. the LMT of meridian passage of the Sun. above the eastern horizon during evening twilight gradually increases.S. position. NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY 259 evening to a position higher in the sky. as will be indicated by the local time (about 6h). From then onwards the body is observable above the western horizon and its altitude at evening twilight Various devices have been invented to help an observ- gradually decreases. the have drawn by hand. The most widely used is the Star the Sun for observation. At sunrise (LMT about 6h) the Sun and. is above the horizon at automatically. as the time of meridian pas. the planet is an evening star. Finding Stars for a Fix twilight. the two ends of the 3. When the body again becomes vis. as shown on the diagram. It is no longer is- at twilight increases until meridian passage occurs at the sued. Mars. if the intersection is above the cally predict twilight on a moving vessel and create a plot . for each date. Mars. Its altitude Navy Hydrographic Office as No. meridian. solves for the LOP’s for each. it shows. the process of identifying stars is no longer nec- Only about one-half the region of the sky along the essary because the computer or calculator does it ecliptic. Some indication of the planet’s position during line representing the point 180° from the Sun. Whether a planet is a morning or evening star. this continues until the body is on the meridian at 1538. eventually the body comes too close to er find individual stars. At the time of sunset (local time about 18h) the Sun is set- planets may be observable in both morning and evening ting in the west. and Antares. west. five planets Mercury. and also the position on the of each 30° of SHA. hence. In fact. Whether a planet is visible from evening to local mean time at which an object will be on the observer’s morning twilight. Finder and Identifier. formerly published by the U. is rising in the east planet and most stars lying within the shaded area are too and the region at the end marked “West” is setting in the close to the Sun for observation. Planet Diagram which the Sun. the ecliptic on the date. it is seen as a morning star low in the east. and less tedious. The time scale indicates roughly the 5. until it once again reaches opposition. region near the middle of the diagram. Then. sents a complete circle around the sky. Jupi- any date. tions with the curves show the spacing of the bodies along 4. Whether a planet or star is too close to the Sun for correct phase. The first point of Aries is also shown for refer- thus shows: ence. not necessary because there will be only one possible body If the curve for a planet intersects the vertical line meeting those conditions. A straight line joining the date on the left- observation. and Regulus. hand side with the same date of the right-hand side repre- 2. The proximity of other planets. and this point). Any gion near the middle of the diagram).

From stars provide the best geometry for a fix. these quantities the star can be identified from the Nautical Computer sight reduction programs or celestial naviga. No. should yield satisfactory S Line. and the extracted altitude becomes the body’s declination. actually contrary to the declination. If the respondents are extracted from above the C-S ence to an almanac. Sun. meridian. t. LHA = t. Almanac. and Moon. 229 with the observer’s latitude tify it by name. a simple approach to star identi. the approximate latitude of the observer. If the body is east of the observer’s Although no formal star identification tables are meridian. the name of the latitude is triangle. one can identify the body by refer. LHA = 360° – t. The star’s centered on the observer’s zenith. angle. SHA and declination. The procedure can quickly shoot any visible body without having to iden. with the observed azimuth angle (converted from observed true azimuth as required) as LHA 1539. tion calculators are especially useful when the sky is only Another solution is available through an interchange of briefly visible thorough broken cloud cover. If diagram on the plane of the celestial meridian. the SHA of the body can be determined. Any method of solving a spherical Line on a right-hand page. It will also indicate which SHA is found from SHA ★ = LHA ★ – LHA . The meridian angle can be converted to LHA. and let the computer do the rest. even altitude and azimuth angle of the observation. with two sides and the included angle being given. With the tables can be entered with true azimuth as LHA. and this to GHA. the is suitable for this purpose.260 NAVIGATIONAL ASTRONOMY of the sky at the vessel’s twilight location (or any location. fication is to scan the pages of the appropriate latitudes. with latitude of same name as declination. if the body is west of the included in Pub. consists of entering Pub. The navigator arguments using the nearest integral values. . Identification by Computation and the observed altitude as declination. and at any time). using the re. are known. With this and GHA at the time of ob. Otherwise. No. and extracting from the tables the altitude and azimuth angle respondents. of the body. A large-scale. carefully-drawn declination of the body has the same name as the latitude. The If the altitude and azimuth of the celestial body. the supplement of the tabular value is the meridian results. Thus the planets. In north latitudes servation. Note that the tables are always entered declination. This plot will be free of the distortion inherent observe the combination of arguments which give the in the mechanical star finders and will show all bodies. the navi- extracted azimuth angle (or its supplement) is the meridian gational triangle can be solved for meridian angle and angle of the body. the azimuth angle respondent is extracted from above the C- finement shown in Figure 1528f. (same name as declination). in their correct relative orientation declination and LHA ★ are determined directly. 229.