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Submitted by: Supervised by:-

Deepali Jain Dr. Pranav Saxena

Devendra Kumar Sharma
Dilip Kumar Meena Submitted to:
Dheerendra maharya Physics Department,
Jagannath Gupta Institute of
(E&C A), B- tech, Ist Year
Engineering and Technology
1. Object
2. Apparatus
3. Description of sextant
4. Principle
5. Theory
6. Procedure
7. Observations
8. Calculations
9. Result
10. precautions

To Determine the height of a given object by

using Sextant
Apparatus :
What is Sextant ?

A sextant is a navigational instrument used to

measure the angle of elevation of celestial
bodies, usually the sun or moon, in order to
determine one's location and direction.

More generally, a sextant can be used to

measure the angle between any two objects, by
which we can calculate the distance between
Parts of a Sextant
Index mirror: large polished plate that reflects light.

Telescope: optical instrument made of lens that magnifies


Telescope clamp: reinforcing circle.

Eyepiece: lens the user looks through.

Telescope printing: lens adjustment.

Frame: structure that serves as the base for the different

parts of the sextant.

Graduated arc: graduated edge of the arc.

Locking device: apparatus that holds the sextant in place.

Drum: graduated button used to take measurements.

Index arm: type of ruler that determines direction or

measures an angle.

Screw to regulate small mirror: piece of metal used to

adjust the horizon mirror.

Glass filter: colored transparent substance.

Horizon mirror: small polished glass plate that reflects


Glass filter: colored transparent substance.

Principle of Sextant:

Sextant is based on the principle of rotation

of a plane mirror . According to this
principle, When a plane mirror is rotated
through an angle , the reflected angle is

rotates through an angle 2 provided that

the incident ray remains unchanged
Theory :
Let H be the height of the water tank MQ whose height is to be
determined. Take a refreance point P on MQ at a height hr above ground
PQ = MQ MP = H hr = h
Let and be the angles subtended by the PQ height at F
and E , distance apart.

.. cot =

PE = h cot . PQ = h

Similarly cot = . PF = h cot
. X = Pf PE

= h ( cot cot )

h= X .
cot cot

. Actual height of water tank

H = h + hr

H= X .
+ hr
( cot cot )
1. Find the least count of the vernier attached with the index
2. Draw a horizontal line P as a reference line on the pillar of
the water tank.

3. Look at the horizontal line P through the transparent

portion of the horizon glass plate M2 by telescope from
some distance (say 10 m) from the water tank keeping the
plate of the arc scale of sextant vertical .

4. Rotate the index arm towards zero of the scale till direct
image of reference line P coincides with the image of the
same reference line through the polished portion of horizon
glass plate M2
5. Now rotate the index arm away from zero
reading till the image of the top Q of water tank
in the mirror M2 coincides with the image of the
reference line P seen directly through the glass
plate M2 .

6. take 3 sets of the observations at different


Least count of circular scale = 1'

Least count of micrometer screw = 1

Least count of vernier scale : 1/5' = 60/5= 12"

Height of Sextant from ground hr = 5 ft

Observation table:-

Sr. Distance Zero Reading (a) Elevation reading (b) Angle of

no. elevation
M.S C.S. V.S. Total M.S. C.S. V.S. total = b-a
1. 7m 3 33' 2" 3.56 12 26' 2" 12.41 = 8.86

2. 9m 3 19' 2" 3.317 10 38' 2" 10.63 = 7.317

3. 11 m 3 27' 3" 3.45 9 31' 2" 9.51 = 6.066

(i) x = 9m 7m = 8.866
= 2m = 7.317

h1 = x . 2 .
= = 1.485 m
cot - cot 7.787 6.415

(ii) x = 11m 9m = 6.066

=2m = 8.866

h2 = 2 .
= 1.233 m
9.433 - 7.787
(iii) x = 11m 7m = 6.066
=2 = 8.866

4 .
H3 = = 1.325 m
9.433 - 6.415

h1+ h2+ h3 . = 1.347m

(H') mean = 3

1.347 x 3.28 ft = 4.42 ft

H = hr + H' = 5 + 4.42 ft = 9.42 ft

Height of water tank is 9.42 ft

Calculated height- Actual height x 100

% error =
Actual height

= 9.42 9.00 x 100 = 4.7%

1. Plane of index arm should be parallel to the moving
arm and normal to the plane of the circular arc.

2. At the position of zero reading both mirrors M1 and M2

should be parallel to each other.

3. While taking reading the plane of the fixed arm and

index should be kept vertical.

4. The telescope should be directed towards the centre

of horizon glass M2.