ASTRO2 – Celestial Navigation 2

Celestial Navigation Level 2

This exam will test your theoretical knowledge of nautical astronomy, and your ability to practically apply this knowledge to calculating a position using various celestial bodies.

This may very well be the most difficult exam you write for the WKM certificate. Celestial Navigation is not easy to learn on a practical level, and is especially difficult on an academic level. Do not take this exam lightly, you are allotted 3 hours to complete questions that you are likely to want many more for.

For the exam you will be given the entire Nautical Almanac and a copy of Norie’s Nautical Tables. You are required to memorize all pertinent formulae.







Exam Syllabus

ASTRO 2 (Page 57, Section 5.5)

Recommended Reading:

Please note that publications from the United States are incomplete in terms of studying for this exam. This is because Transport Canada is very specific in that they don’t allow the use of Sight Reduction and H.O. tables. You will be required to have the formulas memorized, and know how and when to apply them for each different sight (and yes each sight is very different and specific).


Dutton’s Nautical Navigation A large book that explains all the necessary science behind navigation. If you have already considered purchasing this reference for Coastal Navigation, it will also serve as a good introduction into the theories behind nautical astronomy. However, it is important to reiterate that H.O. publications are not to be used in the exam, thus all of the calculations found in this book are incomplete in terms of what you need to know to pass this exam. This book in conjunction with one of the following recommendations will serve you well in studying for ASTRO2.


The Elements of Navigation and Nautical Astronomy


Nicholls’s Concise Guide to Navigation Volume 1

These books are very hefty, but their contents are very academic and in line with the requirements set forth by Transport Canada. Either book would serve you well as they are both similar and handy for studying celestial navigation and coastal navigation.

The Elements of Navigation and Nautical Astronomy has a sections that focus on sounding and instruments, radio direction finding, and hyperbolic navigation, whereas Nicholl’s does not. However, Nicholl’s tends to delve deeper into its subject matter, and includes a greater array of practice questions. We recommend either of these references as a solid addition to your study guides and to your professional career.


Other Resources:

Celestial Navigation (by Tom Cunliffe) is a very good book for those of you who are completely new to the world of celestial navigation. The use of images, diagrams, and colour helps to simplify the basics.


Astro Navgation Handbook (by Tim Bartlett) is another helpful handbook for the beginner which is published by The Royal Yachting Association. Specifically, it is very good at walking through how to read tables properly, which is very important for this exam.


Norie’s Nautical Tables You must have an advanced knowledge of these tables. The first section of this publication lists formulae and procedure for solving sights. Although you are given a copy of these tables for the exam, do not rely on the aforementioned section for formulae, as they are quite complicated to decipher.


Nautical Almanac You must have an advanced knowledge of how to find, read, and interpret the information contained within these tables. Any year of publication will suffice in terms of studying, our store offers the current version. Sections of the Almanac can be found in both books under the recommended reading section of this exam.







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