Introduction to Celestial Navigation

(Non-certification course)

This 2 day, 12-hour (+/-)  seminar will introduce celestial navigation concepts, discuss and explain the relevant terms, and examine the methodology and calculations for capturing a sun sight and manually “reducing” the sight using the Nautical Almanac and Sight Reduction Tables (HO 229) to calculate an estimated position (EP) or “Sun Line”.  Universal Plotting Sheets are explained, and running fix methodology will be used to finalize and plot a Celestial Fix using the Sun.  A sextant is NOT required.  Types and costs of sextants will be discussed during the class.

There are no prerequisites, however, familiarity with Coastal Navigation topics are highly recommended. These topics include latitude and longitude, DR plotting, EP’s, LOP’s, 3-Point Visual Fixes and Running Fixes, TVMDC, as well as plotting symbols and nomenclature.  J- World’s US Sailing Coastal Navigation course is highly recommended but not required.  See website for available dates.  Advanced math skills or knowledge of trigonometry is NOT required.

Materials Required:
Students should obtain a pad of Weems and Plath (or NGA) “Marine Navigation Universal Plotting Sheets” (comes in pad of 50 sheets), available online at Weems and Plath (, or Maryland Nautical Sales (, or Amazon (Cost: about $9).

Students may consider purchasing a Weems and Plath Professional Protractor Triangle (#104, cost: about $23), which will aid very accurate plots, and should have basic nav. tools available (dividers, parallel rule and/or rolling plotter).

Nautical Almanac excerpts and site reduction table excerpt pages will be provided as part of the course.

Future classes will discuss plots of the Moon, planets and stars, since the basic technique is the same as the Sun, with some modifications of the calculations. 

Please check the J World Calendar for dates, cost and time duration for this seminar:

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