Seattle, WA   May 15, 2001Number 12

Special Weekend Marine Weather Course in July

Seattle, Sat and Sun, July 14 and 15, 2001 — We will have a special condensed version of our regular marine weather course on Bastille Day weekend. All day Saturday and half day Sunday. Same basic information with fewer sea stories! Designed for those heading out this season. More emphasis on weather routing and a bit less on theory. See Class schedule for details.


New StarPilot products

Seattle, June 10, 2001 Our StarPilot ocean navigation program suite which has been previously only available for the TI-86 calculator is now available for the TI-89 and TI-92Plus calculator models. The software is the same price $119 for all three versions. We also have a beta version of our new StarPilot-PC Windows program available at no charge to all StarPilot customers, past and present. (We expect that the PC product will be on the market, ie no longer free, by summer's end... so StarPilot customers who might want this should download and install their copy while still available. You will then be able to upgrade at no charge in the future.) The enhanced aspects of the 89 version are described briefly in the StarPilot-89 notes.


Next Free Open House Workshop on Navigation

Seattle, 10am to 4pm, Saturday, May 19, 2001 — At the School in Ballard. Come any time, stay as long as you like. Ask questions, work problems, do review, or do advanced work, its up to you... any topics, coastal, celestial, radar, weather, etc. We have all the charts and tools you might need, and tons of practice problems. There will be two instructors on hand though out the period. Also a good time to get a personal tour of Starpath software products including the StarPilot. At about 2pm, one instructor takes a group to Meadow Point for sextant practice. The day's instruction and practice is free for all Starpath Students, past and present. For others the fee is $29 per person or $50/couple. Call if questions: 206-783-1414.


Seminar on Lunars a lunar success!

Seattle, 7 to 10pm, Friday, Apr 27, 2001 — Starpath and the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society sponsored historian Bruce Stark of Eugene, OR for an evening at Starpath devoted to the history and practice of lunar distance techniques. Bruce is an expert on the history of celestial navigation and author of a modern set of Tables for Clearing the Lunar Distance. (We can also do this with our StarPilot, view a pdf example, but this night covered the traditional methods, not our modern computer solutions).

It was a very enjoyable evening of information and stimulation. The entire audience came away anxious to do more lunars and with a much more educated appreciation of the role they played in the history of navigation in general and in several very specific cases in the Pacific Northwest. For those interested, we now have his Tables for sale here at the school. The cost is $37 to be added to the book catalog soon. This large book includes instructions and work forms. It is ideal for those who want to get a real feel for how this was done in the past or who want to do it now find GMT from the moon without relying on computers.

We have also arranged to work with Bruce to make available to mariners on CD a rare copy of a pre-civil war edition of Bowditch, which covers the " old style " methods of celestial navigation. This will be an exciting project and will help preserve the fundamental techniques that are very difficult to track down these days.

An interesting point that came up in his talk was how lunars themselves were so fundamental to the development of the use of chronometers the longitude method (still in use) that eventually replaced the lunar method. The point was that lunars were used to find the longitudes of many landmarks, and as soon as the science of geography was organized enough to coordinate these data, they could then be used to reset the chronometers, which was still crucial to their use well into the late 1800's. Without the lunar method, it would have taken decades longer for chronometers to solve the longitude problem in a practical manner.

Thanks Bruce for a wonderful evening!


Next Planetarium Class open to public

Seattle, Tues, May 22, 2001 — We have room for about 12 people for our next Planetarium class on star gazing for mariners. It meets 7 to 9pm. Please see class schedule for description. Fee is $15. Preregistration is required.


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