Skip to content

Cacique Update April 21, 2011

April 22, 2011

by Cacique Jessica and Marco

We all came to The Island School expecting our math class to be Celestial Navigation.  A lot of us, including myself, were disappointed to find we would be doing statistics instead.  I understand that statistics is much more helpful when it comes to Research Class, but I wanted to know how to do celestial navigation also. I have taken astronomy at home and know quit a bit of trigonometry, so I thought it would be neat to apply it to find my latitude.  Today in math class we were surprised to find that, due to popular demand, we were doing a crash course in celestial navigation.  Matt taught us a little bit about how celestial navigation works and about how to use a sextant and then we were off to try it on our own.  To use a sextant you look through the eyepiece at the sun (don’t worry, there are filters) and adjust it until you can see two suns.  Once you see two you lower your arm and raise the arm or the sextant.  This allows you to bring one of the suns in your vision down to the horizon.  When the sun is right on the horizon you look at the position of the arm of the sextant to find your measurement.  Once you have that measurement (the degrees the sun is from the horizon) you subtract it from 90 to find your latitude.  You do this because 90 degrees is the angle of the sun from the horizon at the equator at noon.  I came up with a latitude of 31 degrees, but the actual latitude is 24 degrees.  My answer isn’t exactly correct because I took the measurement at 11:00 instead of 12:00.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: