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- as used by western navigators in the 1830's (and, in fact, into the early 1900's). While there is no input of Polynesian navigation, a lot is revealed about the surprisingly high academic level of instruction at Lahainaluna in these early days. It is clear from the text, and in many illustrative navigational problems and exercises, that the students were required to have ability in the following areas:
- Basic geography (world wide).
- Astronomical concepts (orbits and relative distances of moon, sun, planets, and fixed stars; the thin atmosphere of earth in empty space,- curvature of the earth and its effect on the horizon; refraction of light, etc.).
- Worldwide time and its relation to the earth's rotation.
- Use of a sextant (at least in principle) and drawing instruments (in practice).
- Abstract concepts, such as comparison of real observations with those which might be made by a hypothetical observer at the center of the Earth.
- Use of mathematical tables of various sorts (familiarity with log tables) and the use of logarithms in working numerical problems—(Note: This was introduced with no explanation in the text). Trigonometry and the use of tables of trig functions. Use of a log-scale ruler (like a slide rule without the slide) in working problems. Working out of quite complex problems, involving many steps. (As an example, the following quote is part of the instructions for working up Lunar Observations:
- "From Table XIV, extract the logarithm equal to the parallax and it is written in two columns. Write down the cosecant of the Lunar altitude below the second (column), and the cosecant of the solar altitude under the first, and the sine of the corrected distance under the first, and the tangent of the corrected distance under the second. Add these two columns (discarding the interval 20), then look for the logarithms in Table XIV, where the two arcs are written. If the first arc is greater than the second, subtract the excess from the corrected distance; however, if the second arc is greater than the first, add the excess to the corrected distance; and if the corrected distance is greater than 90° then subtract the sum of the two arcs from the corrected distance; this the true distance.")
Comments of the Translation: My main reaction is admiration for the way that they were able so successfully to put pretty heavy technical material into Hawaiian, along with numerical examples. This is a Manual, not just a simplified introduction to the subject. I know I would have a hard time trying to put a lot of this across in English, to college freshmen today!
It's also clear that they had a high opinion of the ability of their students, or they wouldn't have taken (what must have been) the very great trouble of printing all this complex stuff, with numerical tables and examples of computations. (Setting the type by hand—wow!)
The text is also an excellent illustration of the general principle that, for translation of technical material, the translator had better
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