The early Spanish and Portuguese explorers of the 1400's and 1500s braved long stretches of the worlds' oceans and did so by using navigational tools of their time, such as the astrolabe and the quadrant. With these tools and the expertise of their navigators, these intrepid explorers knew their latitude to a surprisingly exact degree. In our Navigators' Planetarium, we demonstrate these techniques in a fascinating hourly show, then turn the night sky back to the way it appeared on April 2, 1513, the night before Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the shores of La Florida. You will be transfixed. As with all areas of Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Parks, your leashed pet is most welcome, so sit back and enjoy the show!
Celestial navigation is a position fixing technique that has evolved over several thousand years to help sailors cross oceans without having to rely on estimated calculations, or dead reckoning, to know their position. Celestial navigation uses "sights," or angular measurements taken between a celestial body (the sun, the moon, a planet or a star) and the visible horizon.