Wednesday, November 12, 2008

celestial navigation rant

So, there's a short formula that we use for doing the longhand (Ie, not with a computer) form of shooting an azimuth, and last night the moon was almost full and above a crystal clear horizon. Prime time for getting a nice clear shot. BUT, I had to use a borrowed calculator to fill in the formula.

Here's my celestial nav bitch for tonight.

The formula used to solve an azimuth equation uses a lot of parenthetical notation, and contains three principle sub-equations. Why does every fucking calculator have a unique way in which a guy has to input the fucking formula in order to not get an error message?

Goddamn. Tripled the amount of time it took me to get the gyro error. 0.1E, if you're interested.

AH, and as for the ride up from Savannah? at midnight local time I shot a lunar, Dubhe, Proxima and Betelgeuse, my personal favorite. Everything was idyllic...

and I was still 15 goddam miles off. I suck at shooting stars still.


Ken E Beck said...

I never got the moon to work out. My rule was never use the moon. As for calculators I use HPs with the RPN but I've been using them for a long time

Bill Elms said...

Wish I could offer some help or advice here Fish, but as far as the stars go all I know is the Big Dipper and Orion (which of course is only visible here at this time of year.) Although this sounds like a discussion we might've had over some Natty lights back in the day! :) Be good and stay safe, bro!

Eric O. said...

Hehe...that sucks. I had calculator paranoia when I took my CPESC retest a couple of weeks ago. I brought two of the same, jic. Luckily the only function button I needed to use was the power button (no, not the on/off, asshole). Y to the x. For the most part, erosion control equations look like R x Y x C x LF x K = whatever. Thank the freakin' lord. I may understand some equations but it doesn't mean I have to like them.

Is it at all ironic that you were getting errors while trying to calculate error?

Paul, Dammit! said...

I think that the real lesson is to stick with one brand of calculator, master it, and keep it with you. The real irony (to me) is that I had one of my four (yeah, I'm a geek, so?) DAL's (the ultimate non-graphing scientific calculator) in my stateroom, but I was all fired up to get my initials in the gyro error log right there and then. And thus, the 20 minute, 10 'error 1' permutations of the formula for solving z, right out of Bowditch, thus tossed my salad electronically.

Paul, Dammit! said...

Those are my favorites, too, Bill. Betelgeuse is the bright star in Orion.