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MSRAL 2006 Convention

SLAS Regular Meeting
Friday, February 21, 2013 7:30pm
McDonnell Hall, Washington University

Way-Finding and Wobble: Navigating by Starlight


Grant Martin and William Biermann
Members of SLAS

     Way-Finding and Wobble: Navigating by Starlight”, a double-feature illustrated lecture by St. Louis Astronomical Society members William Biermann and Grant Martin, will be presented at the February meeting of the St. Louis Astronomical Society.
      Grant Martin will talk about “Mysteries of Polynesian Navigation”. Polynesian sailors were able to navigate their small craft across hundreds, even thousands of miles of seemingly trackless ocean. Without a sextant or a compass, much less a GPS unit, the Polynesian navigator-boatman could locate small islands isolated within the vast sea. In part, they could use the stars as guides. Mr. Martin will describe some of the Polynesian secrets – known and unknown.
      Bill Biermann will talk about the wobble in the Earth’s spin, called “precession”. This is a slow wobble – it takes about 26,000 years to complete one cycle. Mr. Biermann will explain why precession occurs and how it changes the location of the north pole of the sky. He will also discuss how we continue to find evidence that ancient civilizations probably understood some of the effects of precession, and even made corrections for it.

March meeting: Bob Criss - Gamma Ray Astronomy
April meeting: Matthias Beilicke - Rotational Dynamics of Planets, Stars and Galaxies
May meeting: Pamela Gay
- Topic TBD


Meeting Agenda


Introduction of Officers

Grant Martin

Bill Biermann

A-101 Dale Engelbrecht

Volunteer Recognition

Announcements and Star Parties

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