Webinar #1 - Navigation through the Ages: Using Astronomical Instruments

Time and space navigation using astronomical instruments by Vincent Verhoeven

The subject of the webinar was time and space navigation using astronomical instruments such as an astrolabe. The webinar was held by Vincent Verhoeven, an educator with the UGent Observatory Armand Pien. You can read about the Armand Pien observatory here: http://armandpien.be/ (available in Dutch only).

The speaker gave a historic overview of instruments used in navigation, their evolution through the centuries until the current satellite navigation. He pointed out the differences between instruments due to their invention in different civilizations and ages (e.g. ancient Greece, medieval Islamic world, European explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries). The demonstration and explanation how astrolabe works and how astronomers used it in practice was provided during the webinar which makes it engaging and educational.

The full outline of the presentation which supported the webinar is provided below:

1. The Sun

- Shadow caster: Seasons

 - Sundial: Time

- Armillary: Star positions

- Astrolabe: 1st Pocket PC!

- Latitude: Earth and Sextant

2.Earth, stars and planets

- Polar star + equatorial mount (armillary) Ar-Ch

- Longitude: Earth > Clocks? Magnetism + Jupiter

3. Satellites

- GPS: Latitude, Longitude and Altitude (3D)

- Time Mapping > MOLA

4.Space Probes

- Star tracker, gyroscope > Pathway

- Pulsars for interstellar navigation > Voyager

The webinar targeted primary and secondary school teachers. It contained an intriguing presentation about instruments used for astronomical measuring, but also about what makes astronomy fun and engaging.

Past webinar
Scientix online meeting room
Target group
primary and secondary school teachers and students, educational authorities, researchers, etc.
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