Photos

Time and Navigation - Bygrave Position-Line Slide Rule

April 10, 2013
Bygrave Position-Line Slide Rule

Photo: Eric Long, Smithsonian

Celestial navigation requires complicated computations. Performing these calculations in cramped open cockpits with low temperatures and wind speeds of over 160 kilometers (100 miles) per hour was part of what made navigation difficult in the early years of aviation. Thankfully, Capt. L. C. Bygrave developed this handy slide rule shortly after World War I. It provided the best shortcut method of speeding up celestial computations at the time. Piece of cake, right? See this and more objects that tell the story of getting from here to there in the Time and Navigation exhibition, opening on April 12, 2013.

Image Number: NASM2013-00136

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