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date: 01 February 2023


The Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance

Gordon Campbell

in the Renaissance proceeded without much attempt to take account of geographical longitude (that is, position east–west), which in practice could not be found, though it was of course marked on geographers' maps. Latitude, that is, position north–south, could be measured, so the commonest technique was to get to the correct latitude for one's destination and then sail to it directly along the line of latitude. Finding latitude is equivalent to finding the height of the celestial pole, but the Pole Star is not very bright so at sea other stars were used, their height being taken as they crossed the meridian. The method was to establish the meridian by finding north, with the ... ...

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