Praised by The Practical Sailor as "a first-class piece of work," Susan P. Howell's Practical Celestial Navigation was developed for Mystic Seaport's navigation courses. This third edition, originally published by the Seaport's Planetarium, retains the step-by-step format of the original, along with an abundance of diagrams and practice problems. Practical Celestial Navigation is recommended as a self-instruction text for beginners or for old celestial hands getting back in practice.
Susan P. Howell, a native of South Bristol, Maine, graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1968 with a math and astronomy background. Since that time, she worked for the planetarium at Mystic Seaport with the exception of one year as planetarium lecturer at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Her duties on the Seaport staff included writing planetarium programs, presenting lectures to school groups and Seaport visitors, and instructing classes in basic celestial navigation, astronomy, piloting and dead reckoning, weather, and advanced celestial navigation, the last three of which she introduced into the planetarium class curriculum. She did part-time work for SAIL magazine teaching summer cruises in celestial navigation, for Connecticut College instructing astronomy laboratories, and for Eastern Connecticut State College teaching astronomy. She wrote astronomical, meteorological, navigational, and biographical articles for The Naturalist’s Almanac, Pequot Trails, The Practical Sailor, and the Seaport’s Log. Her other major interests included sailing, gardening, music, carpentry, and horseback riding. She and her husband, David, had three children and lived in Hebron, Connecticut.
In 1983, Susan became chairman of the Sail Training and Education Committee and member of the Board of Directors of The American Sail Training Association. It was while serving in this capacity as an Education Officer that she died in the sudden sinking of the British barque Marques during a squall while en route from Bermuda to Halifax on June 3, 1984.
“Practical Celestial Navigation is an excellent text for classroom instruction. We have been using it in our celestial navigation courses at Mystic Seaport since it was first published in 1979. It has many clear, helpful diagrams and an abundance of practice problems. Correct answers, which are supplied for checking the practice problems, combined with the many sample problems, make this book a good choice for self-instruction by the diligent student. The text is designed for use with sight reduction tables, H.O. 229, Volume 3.” —Don Treworgy, Mystic Seaport Museum Planetarium Supervisor
“A first-class piece of work. You have the rare gift of being able to say something simply and of taking the simple things one at a time so the development of the total concept seems to grow.” —The Practical Sailor
“I appreciate the amount of work that must go into a book of this type and the difficulty in deciding what to include—particularly when it may be used by diverse groups ranging from the novice to the experienced navigator—each with a unique viewpoint. With this in mind, I must commend you for a fine job. I think you have maintained a nice balance of material and the format is excellent.” —William H. Knapp, teacher of navigation & professional engineer
“Practical Celestial Navigation is certainly one of the best illustrated books of its kind.” —Forrest W. Gibson, Southwest Instrument Co.