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Celestial Navigation Courses

celestial sphere - celestial navigation - latitude, longitude

Navigation by fixing your position using angles between celestial bodies and the horizon has been around for thousands of years. Even in the age of satellite powered GPS, computer navigation systems, and advanced radio-location, determining latitude and longitude positions teaches important fundamentals of navigation, provides a back-up navigation system in emergencies, and remains a fascinating hobby.

Our navigation courses break down the learning process into manageable blocks that build on one another to cover all aspects of celestial navigation and, in the case of professional mariners, prepare them for the relevant exams.

We offer two levels for Celestial Navigation courses:

Prior to registration we can discuss the choice of courses and methods and give you any advice you may need.

Unit by Unit description of Content of Celestial 1 is as follows. ( The Units for Celestial 2 expand on these units and includes The Sailings.)

UNIT 1 - The Earth/The Celestial Sphere

UNIT 2 - The Navigation Triangle

UNIT 3 - Time

UNIT 4 - The Sextant

UNIT 5 - Latitude by Meridian Altitude

UNIT 6 - Latitude by Pole Star

UNIT 7 - The Astronomical Position Line

UNIT 8 - Position Lines Using the Sun by:

UNIT 9 - Position Lines using the Stars and Planets by;

UNIT 10 - Finding the observed position by plotting position lines from Simultaneous Star and Planet observations by:

UNIT 11 - Finding the times of Sunrise, Sunset and Twilight using the Nautical Almanac.

UNIT 12 - Identifying Celestial bodies using the Star Identifier and Nautical Almanac.

UNIT 13 - Preparations for taking sights at twilight and daytime.

UNIT 14 - Observing stars, Planets, Sun and Moon to determine the Error of the Magnetic compass using HO. 229, HO. 249 or Electronic Calculator.

UNIT 15 - A Day at Sea (on paper) taking morning, forenoon, noon, afternoon and evening sights for observed position.

The Three Methods of Working Sights

1. HO. 229

A very accurate method. It is produced in a six volume series. This course uses volume 3 (Excerpts are included with the course materials). The tables are used with the Nautical Almanac to obtain elements necessary to obtain position at sea. It is a straight forward method and requires no mathematical calculation beyond addition and subtraction of degrees and minutes and decimals of minutes. A popular method.

2. HO. 249

This method is actually for Air Navigation and although slightly less accurate than HO.229, it is popular at sea because it is a quicker method and consists of only three volumes so it takes up less space on board (Excerpts are included in the course materials). As with HO.229, it is a straight forward method and requires no mathematical calculation beyond addition and subtraction of degrees and minutes and decimals of minutes. Another popular method.

3. Electronic Calculator,Casio fx991ms is the school calculator.

The fastest and is as accurate as HO.229. This method uses only three spherical trigonometric formulas in fact two of them are the same ones used for the pre-computed tables HO.229 and HO.249. Once the operational use of the calculator is learned, the formulae are easily applied by following the keying sequences given with directions for solution ( the Casio fx991ms is used by the school). A popular method, however it is wise to carry spare batteries or carry an extra calculator in case of power failure or loss of instrument. It is also wise to have a backup method such as HO.229 or HO.249.

How do I register? Fill out our Registration Form

What clients have said...

"Excellent ... completely practical ... I appreciated the timely response and the helpful support and guidance. I highly recommend this school's Celestial course."

- Campbell Ross

Grand Prairie, AB

"The coastal and celestial navigation courses have made the process of refreshing, retrieving, and amplifying knowledge and qualifications highly interesting, thorough and very satisfying."

- Victor Garand

Edmonton, AB

Frequently Asked Questions

What Materials are Supplied?

  • Test Materials
  • Celestial Plotting Sheets and Sight Table extracts
  • Catalogue of Charts & Boating Safety Guide
  • Tide Table extracts
  • Navigational Aids Template
  • Navigation Charts, two Full size up to date Coloured; One Canadian, One American

Why should I take this course?

Cruise with the skills of a professional, ensure your voyages are a complete success. Prepare for Certification with:
  • Sailing Associations
  • Power Squadrons
  • Coast Guard
  • Transport Canada, Marine Safety Certification

I'm really busy, is this course right for me?

These courses do not tie you down to a regular schedule, you control when, where, and how long you will study, and how long it will take to complete the course.