celestial navigation


Definition of celestial navigation

: navigation by observation of the positions of celestial bodies

Examples of celestial navigation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The sextant sailors used in the 18th century for celestial navigation had a telescopic attachment (which gave Popeye the Sailor his characteristic squint). Austin Grossman, The Atlantic, "Monocles Were Never Cool," 13 Oct. 2019 This feat of celestial navigation could be one more step toward Carl Sagan’s dream of journeying across the cosmos on reflective sails propelled by beams of light. Amy Thompson, Smithsonian, "LightSail 2 Launches to Space to Soar on the Power of Sunshine," 25 June 2019 The yachters race for 645 miles, using celestial navigation only (in other words, the stars instead of a traditional map). Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Bermuda This June," 31 May 2019 On the ground, the military is starting to retrain pilots, ship captains, and ground troops in fail-safe forms of navigation that don’t rely on GPS—like celestial navigation. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "The New Arms Race Threatening to Explode in Space," 26 June 2018 Topics range from mastering celestial navigation to improvising fishing line from thread to getting water from a barrel cactus (only for emergencies, since cactus water can induce diarrhea). Bill Heavey, WSJ, "Summer Books: Camping," 23 May 2018 This halau, built through a joint effort between community activists, the county, and the club, is a space where the two men and other community members hold classes for local kids on crafting, oral history, celestial navigation, and ecology. Soleil Ho, GQ, "Kohanaiki: Where the Mega-Rich Hide Away on Hawai'i," 20 Apr. 2018 While visitors may not enter, an exterior path holds intriguing interpretive signs on Kauai history, Polynesian celestial navigation (the temple platform also holds a star map) and modern stewards of the complex. Jeanne Cooper, San Francisco Chronicle, "One Day, One Place: In search of ancient Kauai," 8 Feb. 2018 Astronomers, whose research supported celestial navigation—a matter of great economic and military importance—were better positioned than most American scientists to advance their own and their nation’s prestige. Evan Hepler-smith, WSJ, "Gilded Age Shadow Catchers," 20 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'celestial navigation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of celestial navigation

1922, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for celestial navigation

Time Traveler

The first known use of celestial navigation was in 1922

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Statistics for celestial navigation

Last Updated

19 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Celestial navigation.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celestial%20navigation. Accessed 13 December 2019.

More from Merriam-Webster on celestial navigation

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about celestial navigation

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easily led, controlled, or managed

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