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FarleyFlightAviation & Teacup Navigation

Celestial Navigation

These pages will be discontinued by Sept 2014. Click here to link to the new domain TeacupNavigation.net

A free celestial navigation book unlike any other, including lunar distance equations. This book is dedicated to removing the cloak of mystery; to teach the concepts, some interesting history, the techniques, and computational methods using the simple pocket scientific calculator. And yes, also how to build your own navigational tools. It also has condensed S-tables and work sheets for when you have no calculators available...

Why I wrote this book...

Growing up, I had always been fascinated by the thought of navigating by the stars. However, it instinctively seemed to me an art beyond my total understanding. Why, I don't know other than celestial navigation has always had a shroud of mystery surrounding it (no doubt to keep the hands from mutiny). Anyway, I love to know the how & why of things, so this book is the result. What I discovered was that it was based on concepts and geometry that was so simple, you have to slap yourself on the forehead and say "Why didn't I think of that myself?"! This book will show you why.


7th Edition (last revision 10/14/2013)

Download this free Celestial Navigation book in pdf format with the link below.

Click here to download the book "Celestial Navigation in a Teacup"

If you wish to acquire a hard copy of this book, you can purchase it at Lulu.com. It is published as a paperback. Just click this link.

Click here to download the booklet "Building the Farley Octant"

Click here to download the pdf and cad drawing plans for the Farley Octant

Click here to download the Excel file Celestial Worksheet. It will allow 6 simultaneous observations to be recorded and reduced, but you still need the hourly GHA and declination from the nautical almanac


Comprehensive FREE Celestial Navigation Software for Windows OS. This will run in Ubuntu (Linux) when "Wine" software is also installed. The same for a Mac when the Mac version of Wine is used. Just do the normal set up as you would in Windows. An icon is inserted in the installed software list.

"Teacup Celestial" from TeacupNav. Sight planning, built-in perpetual almanac, sight reduction with plotted LOPs and global COPs. Rise/set times, and Lunars are also part of this program along with many utility calculators.

Version 3.2e, Oct 14, 2013 (works well on netbooks too) TeacupNav Teacup Celestial

This freeware program I authored in VisualBasic 5 for Windows is the result of years of effort. Simple, intuitive, easy to use, flexible, and very accurate ephemerides. This is a complete and seamless celestial navigation package. You must try out this program, especially with the new changes!!!

 (version 2.0 was a major change)

ver 1.0 origi
Version 3.2d  nal, no lunars or rise/set 
ver 1.1 rise/set included
ver 1.2 lunars included
ver 1.3 rise/set corrected for "clock math" errors
ver 1.4 got rid of the clock math all together!
ver 1.5 lunars have files that can be saved
ver 1.6 fixed bug in lunars, and I have made it "push-button"
ver 1.7 added arc distance function to Sight Planner
ver 1.8 added ecliptic plane on Sight Planner
ver 2.0 simpler interface with almanac facsimile removed, and a tide and leeway calculator added
ver 2.1 added a utility calculator for plane sailing, calculated altitude, and calculated longitude for the Sumner Line method.
ver 2.2 added in the calculator utility distance to the horizon, and dip when using a land reference horizon.
ver 2.3 added function in dip calculator to give the additional correction (above&beyond normal horizon dip)for using land as the horizon. 2.3a corrected a small inconvenience in the Tide set/ True course calculator.
ver 2.4 added separate rise/set time form, and fixed some minor tabbing problems. I am starting a calculator for the 3-body fix technique for coastal navigation... will have it in the next version.
ver 2.5 fixed a bug in the ephemeris generator that affected long term accuracy 0.1' per 200 years
ver 2.6 added a default file for the sight planner tool to remember your personal settings
ver 2.7 added some helpful error messages
ver 2.7 netbook: reformatted some forms so that all will show in a netbook setting
ver 2.8 allows Venus to be tracked on the sight planner during the day
ver 2.9 has a simplified sight reduction form for single shots, found under Calculators. This is good for training where there is more of a manual feel to what you are doing. Also included a date and time loading button to load other forms with the date and time on the main form.
ver 3.0c includes the 3-point resection calculations for coastal navigation, to be found under the Calculators.  Made some format changes.  The fix graph and Sight Planner graphs can now be resized by grabbing lower right corner and refreshing .
ver 3.2a  Made improvements to the 3-point protractor (resection), and added a global circles of position visualizer!
ver 3.2d made resizing of Sight Planner and LOP plot smoother.  Fixed viewing problem in Plane Sailing Calculator.
ver 3.2e LOPs are now identified with labels in both the LOP plot and the global COP view.

Click here to download the pdf Operator's Manual for TeacupNav

Click here to download the zip file containing the software "TeacupNav / Teacup Celestial". Read the ReadMeFirst for installation instructions after unzipping.


For those of you in Europe, a Swedish user discovered the trick of making the program work correctly in Europe:

"In the control panels national localization, I changed the the decimal sign to a period
from the comma and changed the thousands delimiter to a comma from a period."

"This is all that that needs to be done to get the program to work perfectly and Windows is still in Swedish with the correct keyboard."

If you have suggestions for improvements, some functionality you would like to see incorporated, then please email me using the address on the 1st page!

Next is the Solar Shadow software. This will give the azimuth and elevation of the sun (and moon) for any location and time. It will also draw a graphical plot of the sun across the sky, and simulate a shadow stick. Very educational and can be used by solar home designers, architects, builders, etc...

Click here to download the zip file for the Solar Shadow installation program