• WordNet 3.6
    • n sextant a measuring instrument for measuring the angular distance between celestial objects; resembles an octant
    • n sextant a unit of angular distance equal to 60 degrees
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Sextant An instrument for measuring angular distances between objects, -- used esp. at sea, for ascertaining the latitude and longitude. It is constructed on the same optical principle as Hadley's quadrant, but usually of metal, with a nicer graduation, telescopic sight, and its arc the sixth, and sometimes the third, part of a circle. See Quadrant.
    • Sextant (Astron) The constellation Sextans.
    • Sextant (Math) The sixth part of a circle.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n sextant In mathematics, the sixth part of a circle. Hence An important instrument of navigation and surveying, for measuring the angular distance of two stars or other objects, or the altitude of a star above the horizon, the two images being brought into coincidence by reflection from the transmitting horizon-glass, lettered b in the figure. The frame of a sextant is generally made of brass, the arc h being, graduated upon a slip of silver. The handle a is of wood. The mirrors b and c are of plate-glass, silvered. The horizon-glass b is, however, only half silvered, so that rays from the horizon or other direct object may enter the telescope e. This telescope is carried in the ring d, and is capable of being adjusted, once for all, by a linear motion perpendicular to the plane of the sextant, so as to receive proper proportions of light from the silvered and unsilvered parts of the horizon-glass. The figure does not show the colored glass shades which may be interposed behind the horizon-glass and between this and the Index-glass c, upon which the light from one of the objects is first received, in order to make the contact of the images more distinct. This index-glass is attached to the movable arm feminine The movable arm is clamped by the screw i, and is furnished with a tangent screw j. The arc is read by means of a venier carried by the arm, with the reading-lens g. In the hands of a competent ob-server, the accuracy of work with a sextant is surprising.
    • n sextant [capitalized] Same as Sextans, 2.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Sextant seks′tant (math.) the sixth part of a circle: an optical instrument having an arc=the sixth part of a circle, and used for measuring angular distances.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. sextans, -antis, the sixth part of an as, fr. sextus, sixth, sex, six. See Six


In literature:

Just before noon by the clocks, Lieutenant Baskirk appeared on the bridge, dressed in a brand-new uniform, with a sextant in his hands.
"On The Blockade" by Oliver Optic
From this he produced a compass and a sextant.
"Ralph Granger's Fortunes" by William Perry Brown
The articles manufactured principally are nautical instruments, as sextants, compasses, etc.
"Scientific American, Volume 40, No. 13, March 29, 1879" by Various
He found the sextant had changed its error considerably, and that the glasses had lost their parallelism from the contraction of the brass.
"Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea, in the years 1819-20-21-22, Volume 2" by John Franklin
This they effect by means of a tool made of brass, glass, and silver, called a sextant.
"The Wit and Humor of America, Volume V. (of X.)" by Various
The captain proceeded, armed with a sextant, to take the height of the sun, which would give him his latitude.
"The Wizard of the Sea" by Roy Rockwood
The captain ran for his sextant; and an observation was caught, which, being worked up, gave our latitude at 45 deg.
"Left on Labrador" by Charles Asbury Stephens
Prof. had forgotten his sextant and rode back to our main camp for it.
"A Canyon Voyage" by Frederick S. Dellenbaugh
Mr Marline liked to chaff the captain about this, telling him that his sextant wanted polishing up a bit and that the glasses were wrong.
"The White Squall" by John Conroy Hutcheson
I saw him with his sextant, as you told me that queer triangular thing was," said I; "but I didn't know what he was doing.
"Afloat at Last" by John Conroy Hutcheson
At your age you ought to be as well able to use a sextant as I am.
"Blue Jackets" by George Manville Fenn
He and Desmond returned on board and found the chart, sextant, and chronometer, which the boatswain had fortunately not carried off.
"The Three Admirals" by W.H.G. Kingston
Our clothes, bread, salt meat, and water, were put into her, with my sextant and spy-glass.
"Frank Mildmay" by Captain Frederick Marryat
They might have proved themselves fleeter navigators had they had the sextant and chronometer to help them along.
"The Frozen Pirate" by W. Clark Russell
High noon, and a red spot visible overhead; the captain brings out his sextant to take an observation.
"Acadia" by Frederic S. Cozzens
And he's got my watch and chain, and my sextant and some other things as well.
"Edward Barry" by Louis Becke
The sextant of the meetinouse, which sweeps And dusts, or is supposed too!
"The Book of Humorous Verse" by Various
Mr Grey had just before gone on deck with his sextant.
"Owen Hartley; or, Ups and Downs" by William H. G. Kingston
On the 22nd a man found means of carrying off a sextant from Mr Bayley's observatory.
"Captain Cook" by W.H.G. Kingston
Travelling thus, with the aid of his compass, sextant, and sketch maps, he reached Mansarowar.
"An Explorer's Adventures in Tibet" by A. Henry Savage Landor

In poetry:

"Oh, and if the quadrant has lost a hand,
And the sextant falls so low,
It's our bodies and bones to Davy Jones
This night are bound to go!"
"A Sailor's Yarn" by James Jeffrey Roche
"Oh, what does the quadrant indicate,
And how does the sextant stand?"
"Oh, the sextant's down to the freezing point,
And the quadrant's lost a hand!"
"A Sailor's Yarn" by James Jeffrey Roche
Compass, quadrant and sextant contrive
No farther tides . . . High in the azure steeps
Monody shall not wake the mariner.
This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps.
"At Melville's Tomb" by Harold Hart Crane
The Old Man he stood on the poop at high noon;
He paced fore and aft and he whistled a tune,
Then put by his sextant and thus he did say:
"The girls have got hold of her tow-rope to-day."
"The Tow-Rope Girls" by Cicely Fox Smith

In news:

Gary Hemphil of Onawa talked to students at the stops of the pirogue 's journey about measuring distance by time and the sun using a sextant and a timepiece ­ and lots of basic math.
The Sextant Group, after announcing its addition of a mid-Atlantic regional office in Washington, DC, has welcomed back Michael Kerr as senior consultant for the location.
The Sextant Group has hired Peter D Berry as a senior consultant, opening the firm's new office in the New York metropolitan area.
The opening of the Sextant Group's sixth office enhances the firm's national presence.
National consulting firm The Sextant Group has hired a key instructional technologies thought leader from The Ohio State University Office of Information Technology.
LONDON — A sextant owned by the captain of the first ship to respond to distress calls from the Titanic is being offered at auction.
LONDON—A sextant owned by the captain of the first ship to respond to distress calls from the Titanic is being offered at auction.
Police looking into Sextant Place assault.
Mark Gillis, a senior system designer with the Sextant Group Inc in Pittsburgh, was the lucky recipient of a free SIM 3 giveaway by Meyer sound at InfoComm 2004 in Atlanta.
Board President Mark Valenti of The Sextant Group will assume his responsibilities.
The Sextant Group, based in Pittsburgh, Pa.
1993 Westing (By Musket and Sextant).
AV consultants The Sextant Group, a PRO AV Spotlight Award winner, recently added a pair of high-profile consultants to its roster.
Greg Clark, INCE, is the newest senior consultant for The Sextant Group.
Sextant sights without a telescope .

In science:

The towers viewed by the three MAPMTs of a sextant are shown in fig. 10 with different shades.
The CDF MiniPlug Calorimeters
Flamsteed in Greenwich used mainly a sextant with two telescopic sights from 1676 to 1690.
Astrometry during the past 2000 years
For that purpose they were equipped with several different compass designs, an astronomical quadrant and a Hadley sextant, as well as accurate chronometers built on the principles of Harrison’s ship chronometer (Andrewes 1996).
The History of Astrophysics in Antarctica
The phased installation started in summer 2004 with replacing two sextants of the BABARbarrel muon system with LSTs.
The BABAR Muon System Upgrade
The modules for the remaining four sextants are under long-term test at SLAC and ready for installation, expected in 2006.
The BABAR Muon System Upgrade
Forward, backward and barrel system are sextant shaped.
The BABAR Muon System Upgrade
The RPCs from the inner 18 layers of the top and bottom sextant were removed.
The BABAR Muon System Upgrade
The remaining 4 sextants of RPCs will be replaced with LSTs.
The BABAR Muon System Upgrade
This dataset will be the same size as the one collected from the begin of BABAR up to summer 2004 but with two sextants of excellent working muon detectors.
The BABAR Muon System Upgrade