Interesting Navigation Instruments
by Carey Bourdier
There are various navigational instruments used by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, as well as all the other ships navigating the world's waterways. These navigational instruments are used in ships for various purposes. Some are used to determine the present position of the ship and some to indicate the speed as well as determine the direction and some to indicate when the vessel will arrive at its destination. Some of these have been used for years like charts and maps and some are electronics and computer operated. Here are just a few of the instruments used on board sea-faring vessels.
Telescopic marine alidades are navigation instruments used in ships. These are navigational instruments used to take terrestrial bearings of the vessel. The instrument is mounted on a bearing compass or bearing compass repeater when used. It is used to obtain the bearing of the vessel and is equipped with a telescopic sight and prismatic optical system. Through the use of the telescopic marine alidade, an accurate bearing can be made of the object in the distance. This instrument helps provide accurate marine data while at sea.
Another example of navigational equipment that is interesting is the three-arm protractor. This is also instrument that is used inland, although in these days, the use of GPS is overtaking its popularity. This instrument, when used in the ships and navigating in the seas, can be the fastest way to determine the ship's location. Determination of longitude and latitude can be made through calculations with data extracted through the use of the instrument. Other tools, like navigational charts, are used with this instrument. Knowing how to use this tool is certainly beneficial as electrical equipment in a ship can fail, and it's best to know how to navigate with and without electronic aids.
Binoculars and telescopes are interesting optical instruments also used in navigation. These are instruments used to make things look bigger when you look through these instruments. Binoculars are two telescopes that are the same and connected together and used with the person looking with both eyes. A telescope is only one scope and only one eye is used. With binoculars, a three dimensional image is seen because both eyes are used. Using a binocular can produce an image that is more natural for the person looking at an object. Even with objects that are far, the image seen will still be clearer and look bigger.
Navigational sextants are tools that have been used for centuries and still are used today. This instrument, the sextant, is device and equipment used to calculate the angles between two objects. With this instrument, two mirrors are used, and the horizon is viewed through the first mirror. The second mirror is movable and the light from the sun's reflection is used for determination of data. Data and angle between the two is read through the instrument's scale. The importance of navigational sextants is given a high level because these instruments offer an accurate way to determine your position.
Sonar and radar are also navigational equipment that is very important in navigation and these high-tech devices are very accurate. These tools bounce waves off of objects in order to determine the distance of the objects in relation to your vessel. As the names suggest, radio waves are used in radar and in sonar, sound waves are used. On the ground and in the air, radio waves are used, and under the surface of the water, sound waves are used as medium.
Carey Bourdier loves blogging about precision scientific instruments. For more information about surveying instruments like a <a href="http://www.warrenknight.com/wk-19-1310-survey-compass-tripod/">surveyor compass</a>, or to find other alignment instruments, check out the <a href="http://www.warrenknight.com">Warren Knight</a> site today.
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