Get Smart #8 – The Marine Chronometer

30 Jun

Ray: Why would you ever need to know what a Marine Chronometer is? Well, someday you might be out at sea when a storm hits and damages all of your electronic equipment. At that precise moment, you will remember that you read on Seth and Ray’s Blog that a marine chronometer will allow you to accurately calculate your longitudinal position at sea. We’re basically saving your life right now.

The creation of this instrument can be traced back to London where clockmaker John Harrison was perfecting his craft. After 30 years of experimentation, he created the marine chronometer in 1764. Until that point, no other instrument could be used to accurately guide navigation. In other words, he basically created an 18th century GPS tool.

During this time, Europe was in the ‘Age of Discovery’ which is a nice way of titling the imperialistic policies of England and other nations during that time. Nonetheless, a device that could be used to determine longitude by means of celestial navigation would have been a great aid to many explorers (or as I like to call them, conquerors).

Obviously, Global Positioning technology has replaced the need to use a marine chronometer, but in the event that a signal gets lost, the marine chronometer is still an extremely accurate tool to use while out at sea.


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