Alyssa Goodman: Lost without Longitude

Presentation Date: 

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, MA

One of the most important scientific challenges in early eighteenth-century Europe was the search for a reliable way to determine longitude at sea. Using a free interactive program called “WorldWide Telescope,” Alyssa Goodman will demonstrate how various historic and modern systems for measuring longitude at sea work (or fail to work), highlighting key life-saving techniques to find one’s position using the motions of stars and moons, as well as magnetic anomalies. Go back in time and discover what it was like to find one’s way before the era of GPS devices and smartphones.

(key, 277 MB), (pdf, 39 MB), (zip, Tours, 5 MB), Use WorldWide Telescope to view tours. Go to: for free download of Windows software.