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Navigation Calculator

Meaning here the hand-held calculators specially programmed for marine navigation calculations. They can do sight reductions and calculate celestial positions (declinations and Greenwich hour angles) normally found in an almanac. Another, perhaps even more valuable, function is their ability to do dead reckoning. Of the several brands on the market now or in the past, the StarPilot remains the most comprehensive.

Generally celestial navigation is more accurate when done by calculator because, due to their speed, many more sights can be taken and reduced, which gives a better average fix. Despite their convenience, however, the table method must still be learned and some backup tables carried on board. Any electronic device is vulnerable to the rigors of a small boat environment at sea ie, they don't work when wet or dropped.

The StarPilot programs do far more types of calculations and analysis for celestial navigation than had previously been available in hand-held devices, as well as performing all types of computations needed in routine coastal piloting. The StarPilot is also available in a PC version. Earlier popular models no longer available were made by Merlin, Celesticomp, Hewlett Packard, and Tamaya.


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