Germany's Oldendorff Carriers ordered Post-Panamax at Jiangsu Eastern Heavy Industry. The owner confirmed its order of a 97,000 deadweight eco Post-Panamax bulk carrier at Jiangsu Eastern Heavy...
Calculations of position based on celestial observations are becoming increasingly obsolete as GPS takes its place as a dependable position reference for all modes of navigation. This is especially true since handheld, battery powered GPS units have become less expensive, and can provide a worldwide backup position reference to more sophisticated systems with far better accuracy and reliability than celestial.
However, for those who still use celestial techniques, a celestial navigation calculator or computer program can improve celestial positions by easily solving numerous sights, and by reducing mathematical and tabular errors inherent in the manual sight reduction process. They can also provide weighted plots of the LOP’s from any number of celestial bodies, based on the navigator’s subjective analysis of each sight, and calculate the best fix with lat./long. readout.
On a vessel with a laptop or desktop computer convenient to the bridge, a good choice would be a comprehensive computer program to handle all navigational functions such as sight reduction, sailings, tides, and other tasks, backed up by a handheld navigational calculator for basic calculations should the computer fail. Handheld calculators are dependable enough that the navigator can expect to never have to solve celestial sights, sailings, and other problems by tables or calculations.
In using a calculator for any navigational task, it important to remember that the accuracy of the result, even if carried to many decimal places, is only as good as the least accurate entry. If a sextant observation is taken to an accuracy of only a minute, that is the best accuracy of the final solution, regardless of a calculator’s ability to solve to 12 decimal places.
Some basic calculators require the conversion of degrees, minutes and seconds (or tenths) to decimal degrees before solution. A good navigational calculator, however, should permit entry of degrees, minutes and tenths of minutes directly, and should do conversions at will. Though many non navigational computer programs have an onscreen calculator, these are generally very simple versions with only the four basic arithmetical functions. They are thus too simple for many navigational problems. Conversely, a good navigational computer program requires no calculator per se, since the desired answer is calculated automatically from the entered data.