Kōrero: Astronomy – overview

James Cook with sextant

Captain Cook with sextant

This stamp, issued in 1997 by the New Zealand Post Office to celebrate the navigational work of James Cook, depicts his map of New Zealand and his sextant. Sextants were used to determine a ship’s latitude. They work by measuring the angle between two objects. The observer sights along a half-silvered mirror at the horizon and manipulates a second mirror until an image of the sun, moon, or a star is directed onto the half-silvered mirror and overlays the horizon. The angle between the horizon and the celestial object is then read off the scale.

On 9 November 1769, Cook and Charles Green determined the latitude and longitude of Mercury Bay during their observation of the transit of Mercury.

Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi

New Zealand Post
Reference: 1997 Discoverers of New Zealand stamp issue

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

Ngā whakaahua me ngā rauemi katoa o tēnei kōrero

Te tuhi tohutoro mō tēnei whārangi:

Maggy Wassilieff, 'Astronomy – overview - The first astronomers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/photograph/7988/james-cook-with-sextant (accessed 20 April 2024)

He kōrero nā Maggy Wassilieff, i tāngia i te 12 Jun 2006