Astronomical awareness – what’s that? ..can we discuss it later please …?
The world of sea navigation has moved from a constant human awareness of the astronomical situation & skills to a very low level. While the availability of the accurate astronomical situation is far higher than the pre-internet era, generally the ship’s navigator’s personal day to day astro awareness & manual astro navigational skills have sunk to low levels – does it matter? ummm .. not really unless the electronics breaks down and the navigator doesn’t know how to navigate..! can it happen …? Well you better don’t get caught when your ship’s navigator opens the basic navigational academic books or looks for a search-engine that is now off-line to take your ship to a safe location or you see a giant ship grounded on your beach causing pollution just because the electronics on board failed and the navigators could not calculate accurately where his/her ship was ….. is it possible? … yes it is … no matter what the superficial statistics says …
Ironically the astronomical aspects of marine navigation (2D) can never become irrelevant – ‘time’ ‘declination’ ‘orbits’ even ‘satellites’ are all astro! It is just that instead of humans the electronic systems use them to resolve the patterns, employ mathematical arguments and display the ship’s positions in the digital form on the screens of the instruments!!
Astronavigation is never gone – it is just that the current day navigators cannot use it with expertise because of the human brain’s habit of ‘use it or leave it’ for skills keeping! The once always-aware sea navigators no longer even bother to look up in the almanacs or look up in the sky – lucky they do look in their watches though not realizing that ‘time’ is astronomical anyway!! It is now the electronic navigation systems who care instead of the human navigators !!
So human sea-navigators, we are the electronic-navigational-systems, move aside please, it is our turn now to be in far more constant awareness of the celestial stuff, while most of you not don’t even understand the Navigational criticality in starting to say ‘8 o’clock’ for a ‘20-hundred hours’ time (current sea style seen far too often) because it is our concern now and not yours!! Your weakness is our progress!!
Sarcasm aside – Navigators! Be alert, never over rely on the electronic navigational systems, they are as accurate as the human user’s settings, interpretations and verifications !! You have to use them but not by losing the Celestial Navigational Skills.
A whale with unused weakened fins cannot go to the sea again !
So, what time is it mate? How is the weather? when is the meridian passage today …?