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The Calculation of Astronomical Refraction in Marine Navigation

  • G. G. Bennett (a1)

Since programmable electronic calculators were first employed in marine navigation, a variety of formulae has been used for calculating astronomical refraction. As the choice is wide, some formulae have been selected from commonly used reference sources and their accuracy and suitability examined. No attempt has been made to assess the validity of the selected formulae to represent astronomical refraction in practical circumstances. Accuracy comparisons have been made using the refraction algorithm proposed by Garfinkel – the standard adopted by the British and American Nautical Almanac Offices. New formulae are given that are simple and accurate, even over a wide range of temperature and pressure, and which for all practical purposes may be considered equivalent to the tables of refraction given in the Nautical Almanac.

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1Garfinkel, B. (1967). Astronomical refraction in a polytropic atmosphere. The Astronomical journal, 72, No. 2, March.
2Packard, Hewlett (1974). HP 65 Navigation Pac, Cupertino, California, USA.
3Sinclair, A. T. Data for astro-navigation in 1978 for use with small calculators. NAO Technical Note No. 44, HM Nautical Almanac Office, Royal Greenwich Observatory, Sussex, England.
4Packard, Hewlett (1978). HP67/HP97 Navigation Pac 1, Cupertino, California, USA.
5Almanac for Computers, 1981. Nautical Almanac Office, United States Naval Observatory, Washington DC, USA.
6Bowditch, N., American Practical Navigator vol. 1, 1977; vol. 2, 1975. Defense Mapping Agency, Hydrographic Center, Washington DC, USA.
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The Journal of Navigation
  • ISSN: 0373-4633
  • EISSN: 1469-7785
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-navigation
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