US2350240A - Sextant - Google Patents

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    Leister, Philadelphia, Pa. This invention relates to improvements in observation instruments such as sextants and the like and more particularly to instruments of this general character provided with level indicating means.

    However, if the horizon cannot be observed because the observer is so located on land that he cannot see the horizon or because he is compelled to take observations at night or when the horizon is otherwise obscured, it has been an established practice to use an artificial horizon consisting of a covered basin of mercury or a carefully leveled reflector, in each case mounted on a sta- However, such artificial horizons cannot be used satisfactorily on flying aircraft or ships at sea.

    The main object of the present invention is to provide a novel and advantageous instrument whereby the altitudes of stars and the like can be measured with considerable accuracy sexiant aircraft and ships without seeing the horizon.

    Another object is to provide a novel and advantageous sextant equipped with means to display a signal in the line of sight of the sextant when the sextant is level. Another object. The present invention utilizes the principle that if the observer directs the line of sight through the eye-piece to a signal at the same level as the eye-piece and at the same time has the instrument leveled, he will have a good base from which the angular altitude of a star or the sun may be measured.

    It will be evident that the accuracy of the longitudinal leveling is more important than the transverse leveling. According to one embodiment of the invention, the instrument may be provided with a light signal in theline of sight of the sextant and means for illuminating said light signal when the sextant is leveled. If desired there may be provided signals indicating separately either that the sextant is level along the line of sight or transversely thereof.

    While the instrument is in leveled condition, the index arm may be shifted to reflect the image of the observed object to the eye-piece and the arm may then be clamped to the frame to enable the instrument to be moved to a convenient location before determining the reading. By use of'a'n instrument embodying the present invention, a navigator may use any celestial body regardless of the visibility of the horizon.

    This is very advantageous for sexiant observation of such in that it is not limited to a relatively-short interval, as that of twilight, during which the stars and planets have begun to show while the horizon is still clearly visible. If depending upon sighting the horizon, the navigator cannot wait until a star reaches a desired bearing but must use the short period which is available for his observations.

    With the present device the observer can use any stellar body. Few devices for the general purpose of this invention exist and such devices are in general very complicated and not too accurate.

    When one realizes that the best navies inthe world, the air corps, and others have struggled with the problems and now use only various bubble developments, it is evident that the present invention provides a solution of a difiicult and highly important problem. Other objects, features and advantages will appear upon consideration of the following detailed description and illustrative drawings, in which- Fig.

    Figs 3 is a diagrammatic view of the system of Fig. The other end of the index arm I6 is movable along V such as 8' vernier. For simplicity, the usual light screens of different degrees of opacityhave been omitted from the drawings. Thus far, the description applies generally to usual types of sextants which may be used to determine the altitude of objects above the horizon by looking, through the eye-piece i3 and the upper or clear portion of the horizon glass, atthe horizon when that is visible, and then, while the sextant is in substantially vertical position.

    To obtain a good measurement between the line of sight of the eye-piece i3 and the line of sight from the eye-piece to the object being observed, the index arm is shifted to bring the image on the lower half of the horizon glass it to the line of division between the mirror section and the clear section of such horizon glass. The angle between the mirrors is only one-half the angle between the line of sight through the eye-piece and the line of sight from the eye-piece to the object being observed and the ordinary sextant has its limb i2 marked with an index graduated to sexiant twice the angle through which the index arm I8 'is shifted.

    In the event that the horizon be obscured, for example when the sextant is being used on land, it sexiant been customary in the past to use with the sextant an artificial horizon consisting of a pool of mercury with glass thereover to prevent disturbance by wind or like, or of any suitably lev-' eled mirror. These forms of artificial horizons cannot, however, be used on vessels at see. According to the present invention, -no attempt is made to get a reflected image of the observed object by use of an artificial horizon but the longitudinally with respect to menrber Spaced transversely of member are transversely arranged leveling mercury switches 21 Fig.

    Preferably each of the switches 2! The leveling mercury switches 2 are so-called because each of them closes only when level. It will be seen that, when the frame comprising the member 2d and the transversely extending arms 26 is level, all of the switches will be closed and the lamp 23 will be lighted.

    In order to have the frame, consisting of the member 20 and the arms The lamp 23 is thus beneath the line of sight through the horizon glass l4 and the eyepiece i3. In order to show the light signal in the line of sight of the sextant, there may be provided above the lamp a curved tube 21 enclosing a body 28 of suitable light-transmitting material, such as Lucite, so that the light thrown upwardly from the lamp will be difiused and turned to a horizontal direction toward the horizon glass and the eye-piece.

    At the surface of the "Lucite" towards the eye-piece, the tube 21 may be provided with a shield 29 and cross hairs 36 Fig. It will be seen that in view of the sidewise displacement of the member 29 from the sextant proper it will be necessary to mount the battery and lamp at the end of an sextant is leveled by means which includes a sight signal on the line of sight through the eye-piece, the sexiant being rendered eifective when the instrument is leveled.

    As illustrated in Figs. The device it comprises a longitudinal frame member or tube 2! At suitably spaced positions therealong member 20 is provided with longitudinally arranged leveling devices, such as leveling mercury switches 2 in a circuit containing a battery 22 and a. It should be understood that each of the devices 2 is arranged arm 8i Fig.

    In order that the sextant may 0 be used in the usual way when conditions are suitable, the curved tube 21 may be mounted for ready removal from the lamp casing or so that it can be turned out of the line of sight through the eye-piece and the horizon glass.

    Apparently one leveling mercury switch 2 arranged longitudinally of sexiant member 29 and one leveling switch 2! However, it is believed that a plurality of switches arranged in the two directions will produce better leveling in view of capillary action of the mercury which may cause a delay in the breaking of the circuit.

    Other factors may also affect the making and breaking of the switches. More switches sexiant tubes will provide better chances of breaking the circuit as the device is swung through a variety of positions, in that it will be fairly certain that.

    In operation, the instrument would be moved by the observer to a position at which all of the leveling switches would be closed, thus lightingthe lamp and providing a signal to be viewed through the eye-piece and horizon glass. Then the index arm l8 would be moved to a position to reflect the observed object from the index glass and the horizon glass to the eye-piece and to position the image close to the upper edge of the mirror portion of the horizon glass.

    Then the arm 16 would be clamped so that the instrument could be shifted to enable reading the angle of elevation of the observed object. Then the altitude of the object to be observed may measured in the usual way by shifting the index l6 until the image of the body observed appears at the proper place on the half mirror of the horizon glass substantially in coincidence with the intersection of the cross hairs of the light signal.

    However, it may be desirable to level first in one direction and then, while holding it level in this direction, to level the instrumentin the other direction. It is also proposed to light the lamp 23 when the instrument is leveled both longitudinally of the line of sight and transversely thereof. To this end, the lamps 23, 23 and are connected in parallel between main conductors connected with the battery 22, by means of connections 332, and 33 respectively.

    The connection 3 includes a switch 34 connected in series with lamp 23, this switch being normally open, but closed automaticallywhen circuits are completed through lamps 23g and The switch 34 may normally be held open and may be controlled by armature 36 operable as a part of two solenoids, including a coil 31 in series with the longitudinally arranged leveling switch 2 and a second coil 38 in series with the transverse leveling switch 2.

    Neither of the solenoids is strong enough alone to close the switch 34, but when both are energized, the plunger 36 will be shifted and the switch 34 closed. Each of the leveling switches 2 illustrated in Figs.

    Obviously, when the tube is tilted longitudinally the terminal at the higher end of the tube will be out of contact with the liquid and the switch will be opened. It should be understood that various other forms of switches might be used in place of the switch 2. In switches such as switch 2the mercury may be caused by back and forth movement of the switch to surge back and forth in such a way as to make and break the circuit irrespective of tilting of the tube thereof.

    This would be especially true for a long tube. Such movement of the mercury or the like may be avoided to a great extent by use of a tube 2 a Fig. Obviously the baflles Another form of leveling switch 2 b Fig.

    One of these terminals might be exposed if the tube were tilted longitudinally to a sufficient extent, but in the form shown this tilting would have to be very. The leveling'switches 2 b may therefore be provided at an intermediate point with two or more terminals 31 in contact with the mercury when the tube is level and connected in series end with their adjacent ends depressedv and each. At their adjacent ends the two tubes are provided with terminals 40 which are connected electrically by a conductor 4and at their outer ends the two tubes are provided with downwardly extending terminals which are in.

    When, however, the rigidly connected tubes are tilted longitudinally, one of the outer end contacts or terminals will be separated from the mercury and the circuit will be broken. It will be evident that, by use of instruments constructed in accordance with the present invention, accurate observation of the sun and heavenly bodies can be made regardless of the.

    It should be understood that various changes may be made and that various features may be used without others e. A sextant or like instrument comprising the combination with a frame, an eye-piece and a horizon'glass mounted on said frame and providing a line of sight, and a pivotally mounted index glass, of a light signal in said line of sight and mounted on said frame and means for rendering said light signal effective when said instrument is leveled along the line of sight and transversely thereof and ineffective when not leveled, said means including an electric lamp, a lamp circuit, one or more leveling switch devices in said circuit arranged for leveling longitudinally of the line of sight and one or more leveling switch devices in said circuit arranged for leveling transversely of the line of sight, said devices being arranged in series in said lamp circuit.

    A sextant or like instrument comprising the combination with a frame, an eye-piece and ahorizon glass mounted on said frame and proindex glass, of a light signal comprising a light field and cross hairs in said line of sight, and means rendered effective by leveling the instrument to illuminate said light field, including an electric lamp, a lamp circuit and 'one or more combined leveling and switching devices in said circuit arranged to close the lamp circuit at such devices when the instrument is leveled along said line of sight.

    A sextant or like instrument comprising the combination with a frame, an eye-piece and. A sextant'or like instrument comprising the combination with'a frame, an eye-piece and a horizon glass mounted on said frame and providing a line of sight, and a pivotally mounted index glass of a light signal comprising a light field and cross hairs in said line of sight, and.

    I 9,; means for lighting said light field from said screen in said line of sight and with associated cross lines in said line of sight and means for supplyin light from said light source to said light screen. The combination with a sextant comprising a net frame to be held vertically and having a graduated are at the bottom thereof, an eyepiece and a horizon glass mounted on said frame and determining a line of, sight and an index observation in determining said line of sight. The combination with a sextant of the kind described, of an upright handle spaced to one side of the frame and supported from the frame.

    May 30, Application July 9,Serial N0. A further object is to provide improved leveling devices for use with sextants and the like. Thus far, the description applies generally to usual types of sextants which may be used to determine the altitude of objects above the horizon by looking, through the eye-piece i3 and the upper or clear portion of the horizon glass, atthe horizon when that is visible, and then, while the sextant is in sexiant vertical position, shifting the index arm i6 to position the index glass to reflect light from the observed object to the lower half of the horizon glass id from which the light will again be reflected through eye-piece E3 to the eye of the observer.

    More switches or tubes will provide better chances sexiant breaking the circuit as the device is swung through a variety of positions, in that it will be fairly certain that, if the instrument were not level, one or more of. We claim: 1. A sextant'or like instrument comprising the combination with'a frame, an eye-piece and a horizon glass mounted on said frame and providing a line of sight, and a pivotally mounted index glass of a light signal comprising a light field and cross hairs in said line of sight, and means rendered eilective by leveling the instrument to illuminate said light field, such illuminating means comprising a vertically held lamp beneath said line of sight, means for lighting sexiant light field from said lamp comprising a tube curved from the top of said lamp to said light.

    The combination with a sextant comprising a net frame to be held vertically and having a graduated are at the bottom thereof, an eyepiece and a horizon glass mounted on said frame and determining a line of, sight and an index observation sexiant determining said line of sight, and means for showing a light of one color adjacent to said field when the instrument is leveled longitudinally, a light of another color when the instrument is leveled transversely, and a light to illuminate said light field for sighting said indications from said eye-piece.

    USA en. Compact optical sighting level with internal fine setting of the horizontality of the line of sight.

    The switch 34 may normally be held open and may be controlled by armature 36 operable as a part of two sexiant, including a coil 31 in series with the longitudinally arranged leveling switch 2 sesiant a second coil 38 sexiant series with the transverse leveling switch 2. Sexiant now sexiant slide show mode. sex dating

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