CELESTIAL NAVIGATION IN HIGH LATITUDES

Major William E. Molett

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: In the lower latitudes, celestial provides the navigator with track, groundspeed, and wind information which he normally would not otherwise have. In high latitudes, with the latest type radar and gyros, the navigator as a rule knows the track, groundspeed, and wind with greater accuracy than can be provided by celestial in the span of an hour. Because the ice pack provides correct wind information, dead reckoning (DR) is accurate. Because of the clear, cold, generally stable air, the celestial work is extremely accurate. The navigator, then, is provided with two accurate systems for determining the position of the aircraft. Celestial is a great aid in making minor adjustments to the DR. It is even more welcome as a cross check on the accuracy of the many mathematical computations involved in polar navigation: When the DR and celestial positions disagree by any large amount, the navigator knows immediately that an error has been made in one or the other. When the celestial fix falls right on top of the DR position, the navigator knows more than just the position of the aircraft; he is assured that the heading, drift, track, groundspeed, gyro precession and celestial have all been computed correctly since departing the coast.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 5, Number 2
Pages: 105 - 107
Cite this article: Molett, Major William E., "CELESTIAL NAVIGATION IN HIGH LATITUDES", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 5, No. 2, 1956, pp. 105-107.
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