Octant, 1850-1870.

Exton, David

Octant, 1850-1870.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 25cm x 32cm


Octant with a wooden frame inlaid with ivory scales and naked-eye sights, made by S W Silver & Company of London. This instrument would have been used for navigation on a ship. The octant could be used to find latitude by measuring the height of the midday Sun or a suitable star at night. Longitude could also be found from determining local noon from the maximum height of the Sun and comparing it with a chronometer set to a fixed meridian. The angle between the fixed stars and the Moon could also be measured to discover longitude using lengthy calculations and tables from the Nautical Almanac.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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