How Far Apart were Titanic and Californian?


Jim Currie

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I agree with Jim's post above, in response to Mike's post 437, though neither have anything to do with the title of this thread.

The only corroborated evidence of where The Californian was prior to Titanic hitting the ice berg is the 5.35pm NYT message send by Captain Lord to Captain Japha of The Antillian also of the Leyland Line of 3 bergs seen at 6.30pm ships time on the evening of the 14th April. The original Marconigram Service Form in Evan's and Captain Lord's own hand survives (somewhere) and has been photographed and is in Booth's book.

The 42 3 as opposed to 42 5 latitude is only a matter of some 2 miles, and bearing in mind Captain Lord was basing all this on noon sightings on the 14th is not particularly significant in itself. The ships log and hydrographic report gave 42 5, but The Antillian message on the evening of 14th, and a message from The Californian to the Olympic (wireless operator Ernest Moore via his USA Inquiry testimony) give 42 3.

As Sam has pointed out many times, there are lots of reasons for accepting the 42 3 latitude, but the 2 mile difference does not solve the puzzle.

I have been quite keen on working backwards from when The Californian got alongside Carpathia, and I have been equally struck by the Louis Ogden pics of The Californian alongside and how far away The Californian was in the well known pic of his that forms the header to this thread, given the limits of photography at the time, and significantly the album note being 8am, not 8.30am.

Groves and Captain Moore can see the Carpathia on the other side of the ice field - why does't Captain Lord see the Carpathia earlier across the ice field, and Captain Rostron not see The Californian earlier across the ice field ?

Cheers,

Julian
Hello Julian.

You wrote: "The only corroborated evidence of where The Californian was prior to Titanic hitting the ice berg is the 5.35pm NYT message send by Captain Lord to Captain Japha of The Antillian.

No it is not, because that evidence gives a wrong position and we have witness and written evidence of the true position. I remind you/

As you know. Stewart claimed that he calculated the true latitude at 10-30 pm GMT...7-20 pm ship time using the Pole Star. Anyone who questions the accuracy of that statement or the result of the Pole Star calculation is delusional or sadly lacking in practical knowledge, given the then prevailing conditions of flat calm and a clear horizon combined with Stewart's skill as a Navigator.
When Stewart had obtained a true latitude, he would have done exactly as was done pre -Noon...he would have combined the results of his 7-20 pm Pole Star latitude with that of an accurate longitude obtained in the late afternoon before the sun was too low. The result was a fixed position for 7-20 pm. This, he would record in the Scrap Logbook. Captain Lord would have used that same 7-20 pm position to obtain his 10-21pm DR stopped position.
Those who pounce on the 2-minute /2mile difference in latitude between Log Book entry and wireless warning miss an essential bit of evidence.
The notation for the 7-20 pm ship's position appearing in the Official Logbook was copied directly from the Scrap Logbook by Stewart.
The Official Ice reports were compiled from Official Logbook extracts. Such reports only used DR positions if fixes were not available. The practice allowed the Hydrographers to more accurately plot ice movements.
The ice warning to the Antillian was based on a DR position, before an accurate latitude was obtained.

However, as I have demonstrated to you, Sam and others: if we accept the evidence of Stone and Gibson regarding the sighting of Carpathia's rockets. then we know that at 3-30 pm., Californian was between 22.6 and 25.3 miles from Boxhall in boat 2. Can it be a pure coincidence the stopped position for Californian given by Captain Lord is exactly 22.7 miles north ( and 12.7 minutes of longitude west of) the wreck site? I think not!

As for your question regarding Californian's proximity to Carpathia? Consider the evidence from 4 witnesses...1 on Mount Temple...1 on Carpathia and 2 on Californian.

1. As far as I can determine, no more than 4 minutes separated the clocks on all three vessels.
2. At 8 am Carpathia was stopped about 3.5 miles east of the ice barrier. Her captain saw Californian about 6 miles away and approaching Carpathia from the WSW.

One and two allow us to plot the relative positions of the two ships at 8 am

3. Captain Lord said his ship was making about 12,5 knots and that he followed a SSE course down the west side of the ice.
4. Californian's 3rd officer said Carpathia was abeam to port at about 7-45 am.

Three and four allow us to plot the relative positions of the two vessls at about 7-45 am.

5. The Captain of the Mount Temple said that Californian passed a mile off heading south at about 7-10 am
6. Californian's 3rd Officer said he saw Mount Temple on the Starboard Bow when he arrived on the bridge.
5 and 6 allow us to plot the course of the Californian from just before 7 am.

Here's what it looks like to scale:
PLOTA.jpg
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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How about accepting Gibson's evidence that he was able to see the flash of one of the signals when it left the deck and followed the shell up into the sky where it burst into white stars while looking through binoculars? If you accept that, then the maximum distance between vessels was no greater than about 16 miles.
 

Jim Currie

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How about it? That was 2 hours earlier and the ship Gibson was talking about subsequently moved.

How about "I observed a white flash apparently on her deck," The word "apparently" is used to indicate that the information you are giving is something that you have heard [0r seen], but you are not certain that it is true."
or
7440. Did you form any view as to how far away the ship was? A: Gibson - From four to seven miles.
According to Lord, the ship he saw was 4 miles away. With Groves it was 6 miles and Stone thought it was approximately 5 miles away.

Given the prevailing conditions, is totally absurd and utter nonsense to suggest that four men with a combined experience of over 40 years and who spent their entire working hours at sea in all conditions were so incompetent as to be unable to gauge the approximate distance of a stopped ship from their own stopped ship. Or for that matter, unable to discern a fully lit, giant passenger ship from a modest cargo ship. Even the least experienced witness.. friend Gibson gave those clowns a lesson in simple seamanship:
7706. Why did you think so? A: - She had no appearance at all of a passenger boat. ..- A passenger boat is generally lit up from the water's edge. (As would have been the Titanic)

Which brings me to your observation " If you accept that, then the maximum distance between vessels was no greater than about 16 miles."


I only accept that Gibson stated that the flash seemed to come from the deck of the ship. You have developed your argument on that single, flimsy isolated bit of information while completely ignoring the complete picture.

1. Gibson saw 3 pyrotechnics and Stone saw 8 of them, yet only one "apparently" came from the deck of the vessel in sight.
2. Gibson and Stone saw the other vessel' red light but not the green one.
3. Any ignition flashes at deck level on the Titanic would have been shielded by a solid bulwark and to the immediate left of her green sidelight.
4. Gibson was watching the vessel using binoculars and almost continuously sending the double-A call-up signal using a powerful, all-around signal lamp. At the same time, according to QM Rowe on the Titanic, he was doing the same thing in the direction of the vessel in sight of Titanic. Both signal lamps were located clear of obstructions. So tell us all - how was it possible for either of these two men to avoid seeing the other's signals yet for one of them to see a flash on the deck immediately below it?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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So this flash that Gibson saw 'apparently on her deck' sprang out of the sea just as he saw the streak of the signal go skyward and then burst into stars. OK, that's surely must be insignificant in comparison to unreliable subjective estimates on the distance of lights seen at see at night. I suppose if this signal came from Titanic, then it would have been impossible to see through binoculars what Gibson described seeing from a vessel that was 22 miles away. We should simply reject all that Gibson had wrote to Lord. He was obviously making it all up.
 

Jim Currie

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I'll leave others to give you a "like" for that nonsense, Sam.

I and others (I'm sure) wait with bated breath your explanation of the following:

1. How can someone see a detonation flash without stars?
2. How can someone apparently see a flash on a deck and mistake that deck for the sea?
3, How can that same "someone" see the time fuse sparks from a projectile fired at any distance greater than, say, 8 miles?
4. How was it possible that out of 7 or 8 projectiles fired only one detonation flash was seen by one of 2 observers using binoculars?
5. How do mariners in total darkness, determine distance from a light at sea.?
6. Why did Lord, Groves, Stone, and Gibson fail to see Titanic's signal light from 12-15 am until almost 1-20 am if, during that period, they could easily see her red sidelight?

I find it sad, if not amusing that you are quite willing to accept one single part of, and use, the unsubstantiated evidence of Gibson regarding the sighting of a flash, yet you reject his evidence, corroborated by Stone, that through binoculars, he saw a signal, right on the horizon at around 3-30 am.
However, I am not surprised, since by accepting it, you must also accept that the distance separating the sinking Titanic from the Californian was as indicated by Captain Lord and that would never do.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Not quite unsubstantiated:
7922. Well, anything else? - But that I could not understand why if the rockets came from a steamer beyond this one, when the steamer altered her bearing the rockets should also alter their bearings.
7923. That pointed to this, that the rockets did come from this steamer? - It does, although I saw no actual evidence of their being fired from the deck of the steamer except in one case.
7924. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) Which is the one case? - One rocket that I saw that appeared to be much brighter than the others.
7925. Was that one of the five or one of the three? - One of the three.
7926. That, you felt confident, came from the vessel that was showing you these navigation lights? - I am sure of it.
7927. That you were sure of? - Yes.

So perhaps the 6th rocket seen came from this nearby tramp steamer, the one that Stone said was altering her bearing ever since the 2nd rocket (out of 8) was seen? I suppose it went higher than just 50 ft up if it was a rocket fired from this vessel?
 

Julian Atkins

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7922 - 7927 from the British Inquiry is very significant, as Sam recognises quite rightly, and quotes above.

It is corroboration between Stone and Gibson that one of the rockets was fired from the vessel they were observing. This was when Gibson had finally come up from below searching for the new taff rail log, having missed the first 5 rockets seen by Stone (or 1 flash then 4 rockets), and both saw the following 3 together.

Stone confirms that one of these 3 rockets was much brighter than the others, and there was evidence in the case of this rocket being fired from the deck.

This is vitally important. And there is some significance that Gibson's account is more detailed. Exactly the same happens some 1 hour 45 minutes later when Gibson sees the first of the 3 Carpathia's rockets - which Stone misses, then they both see the next 2 and again Gibson sees them clearer than Stone and gives a more detailed account.

I used to have excellent long distance eyesight, and this deteriorated quite quickly at the same age Stone was on The Californian in 1912. I was in my early to mid 20's when this occurred, and have had to wear glasses for distances ever since. Prior to this I could read car number plates at a significant distance.

We have lots of pics of Captain Lord, and in later years he had considerable problems with his eyesight, as noted by his son and Leslie Harrison, but apparently due to old age.

What we don't have (except for Stewart) is any pics of Gibson or Stone after 1912. This is quite surprising considering Paul Lee and Leslie Reade were in contact with Gibson's and Stone's families (after the death of both) and also Leslie Harrison in respect of Gibson.

I have always considered something odd about Stone in 1912 in respect of his 18th April statement (kept private by Captain Lord), and his British Inquiry testimony. Gibson is not a perfect witness either.

Then in 1912 after the British inquiry Captain Lord does a 'hatched job' on Stone in his letters to the Board of Trade etc.

It is very complex and quite a mess.

Cheers,

Julian
 
Mar 22, 2003
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It is very complex and quite a mess.
Absolutely. Nothing is obvious despite what some people want to believe. I personally think Gibson was telling Lord exactly what what he saw when looking through those binoculars at the time. I leave it to others to interpret that very detailed description. I don't believe he made anything up in that report to his captain.
 

Jim Currie

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What has all this to do with how far apart the two vessels were?

However, if straws you must clutch-at, make sure they are bio-degradable.:rolleyes:

So let's examine the foregoing posts.

First; Gibson gave evidence before Stone. However, Stone would have been in the hall and carefully listening to what this junior was saying.
Second: Gibson said he saw a "flash" apparently on the other vessel's deck - he did not positively identify the source of his flash.
Third: During that section of the questioning, Stone did not say that he saw a "flash" or where he saw anything. He simply said that one of the 8 signals seen, by him seemed a little brighter. When asked to be more specific, he said it was one of the three last seen by him
Was this compromise in case he forgot something or seemed less observant that his junior to his questioners? Or was it an assumption that since the rocket he saw was brighter than the others, it must, therefore, have come from a nearer source...the nearby vessel?

To summarise:

Gibson said that only one of the three rockets he saw appeared to be fired from the deck of the nearby vessel.
Stone also used the word "appeared". However, he did not use the word "flash" but based his assumption on the brightness of a single rocket. He only saw one "flash" and that was his original sighting which drew his concentration onto the nearby vessel.

Now 3-30 am:
There is no significance in who saw what first. At sea, your periphery vision usually alerts you to an anomaly.

The normal practice at sea was to "pace" back and forward while allowing your eyes to pick up an anomaly. If Gibson was pacing on the port side of the upper bridge and Stone on the starboard side or they were pacing athwartship in opposite directions, the one on the port side would have been first to pick up a flash or light of any kind in that direction. In the case of Gibson, he would then have alerted his superior. No delicious mystery... just normal.
As for superiority of eyesight? Before sitting an exam for a superior Certificate, a Merchant Navy Deck Officer had to undergo a very tough eyesight examination. Failure was the end of a career. I think you will find that's what happened to Pitman of the Titanic.

As for the evidence regarding the 3-30 am "flash"
Stone stated :
8010. What do you mean by a very great distance? A: - Such a distance that if it had been much further I should have seen no light at all, merely a faint flash.
Gibson stated:
7596. Could you see when you saw this flash at all how far away you thought it was? A: - It was right on the horizon."

"A rose by any other name" etc....What part of the above answers is it that you don't understand?


Since you both seem to prefer Gibson. So how do you twist the following?
"7731. (Mr. Harbinson.) Did the glare of light that you saw on the after part of this boat seem to be a pretty considerable distance from the masthead light? A: - Yes.
7732. It seemed to be a pretty considerable distance? A: - Yes.


Seemingly the word seem and its tenses seem to have been most seemingly! However, the following is a very rough idea of what Gibson should have been seeing had the nearby vessel been Titanic:

port bow view.jpg


The words "chalk" and "cheese" come to mind.

Why don't you all face up to the truth?
 
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Julian Atkins

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Hi Jim,

I would suggest that informed forum members will be well aware by now of Stone and Gibson's British Inquiry testimony thanks to it being online, and will read it as a whole if it has not already been committed to memory!

I can also access their 18th April statements in a few seconds via bookmarked pages in either of 3 books.

Leslie Harrison avoided all mention of the Carpathia rockets seen by Stone or Gibson, despite including their 18th April statements in his book, and I am pleased to see them now given proper debate, and backtracking with regard to distances.

I think one of the problems is the 'gloss' one puts on the above.

No one at the British Inquiry paid any attention to the Carpathia's rockets, or for that matter the warning wireless Marconigram message sent out by Captain Rostron of his rockets being fired (it was within the collection of PVs and Marconigrams before the British Inquiry, but well after Captain Lord, Gibson, Stone, Evans, and Stewart had given their evidence).

One also (IMHO) cannot assume the same visual conditions applied at 3.15am on the 15th April when Carpathia started firing rockets when compared with 3 or 2 hours earlier.

And what does 'on the horizon' mean? That is to a layman such as me terribly vague. All it means is that the Carpathia rockets were seen by Stone and Gibson a long way off, and were not particularly distinct, but that Gibson recognised them as rockets. I don't myself consider that this vagary allows some kind of mathematical treatise to be developed as to distance, unless with substantial caveats.

After 4am, Stone and Stewart are looking at (in the dark) Carpathia's lights. They ought also (one might suggest) also at the time see The Mount Temple's lights but do not, though Sam might have a view on this. Some 45 minutes plus earlier, Stone and Gibson see the first (possibly) of the Carpathia's rockets but see nothing else.

By 3.30am on the 15th, Carpathia was zig zagging about avoiding bergs in the dark and probably was reducing speed by this time though no one states this on the Carpathia for this time.

Cheers,

Julian
 

Jim Currie

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Hi Jim,

I would suggest that informed forum members will be well aware by now of Stone and Gibson's British Inquiry testimony thanks to it being online, and will read it as a whole if it has not already been committed to memory!

I can also access their 18th April statements in a few seconds via bookmarked pages in either of 3 books.

Leslie Harrison avoided all mention of the Carpathia rockets seen by Stone or Gibson, despite including their 18th April statements in his book, and I am pleased to see them now given proper debate, and backtracking with regard to distances.

I think one of the problems is the 'gloss' one puts on the above.

No one at the British Inquiry paid any attention to the Carpathia's rockets, or for that matter the warning wireless Marconigram message sent out by Captain Rostron of his rockets being fired (it was within the collection of PVs and Marconigrams before the British Inquiry, but well after Captain Lord, Gibson, Stone, Evans, and Stewart had given their evidence).

One also (IMHO) cannot assume the same visual conditions applied at 3.15am on the 15th April when Carpathia started firing rockets when compared with 3 or 2 hours earlier.

And what does 'on the horizon' mean? That is to a layman such as me terribly vague. All it means is that the Carpathia rockets were seen by Stone and Gibson a long way off, and were not particularly distinct, but that Gibson recognised them as rockets. I don't myself consider that this vagary allows some kind of mathematical treatise to be developed as to distance, unless with substantial caveats.

After 4am, Stone and Stewart are looking at (in the dark) Carpathia's lights. They ought also (one might suggest) also at the time see The Mount Temple's lights but do not, though Sam might have a view on this. Some 45 minutes plus earlier, Stone and Gibson see the first (possibly) of the Carpathia's rockets but see nothing else.

By 3.30am on the 15th, Carpathia was zig zagging about avoiding bergs in the dark and probably was reducing speed by this time though no one states this on the Carpathia for this time.

Cheers,

Julian
Hello Julian.

Your observation regarding accessibility to evidence is noted.

I cannot remember Carpathia's rockets ever being used previously -here or elsewhere- as a means of gauging distance. However, as I have pointed out ad nauseam, these rockets, if nothing else, show very clearly the minimum distance between Carpathia and the Californian at 3-30pm on the morning of April 15, 1912.

I clearly understand your argument regarding the assertions of both witnesses vis a vis "on the horizon". However, we have a lot of scientific and physical evidence which, when properly assessed, tells us that the prevailing conditions regarding visibility. Not the least of which being, the evidence of Captain Rostron and of Tim Maltin. The latter has proposed excessive refraction backed up by logbook entries of a ship passing through the area.

However, to clarify questions regarding the visual horizon at sea, consider the following:

In simple terms, it is the line you and anyone else sees directly ahead. It is exactly level with the center of your eyeballs. Consequently, only those with eyeballs at exactly the same height above the sea surface see exactly the same horizon. It follows that with a level gaze, on a steady platform (flat calm)your eyes point exactly at the horizon...even if you cannot see it.
If at sea or when looking out to sea, unless your gaze is attracted by an anomaly such as a shooting star or a flash or even a steady light, your eyes will automatically line-up with your particular horizon. See here (no pun intended).
humanfactors_line_of_sight.jpg

Under normal circumstances. both Stone and Gibson would be looking at the horizon without actually seeing it clearly. However, as soon as a light was suspected, they would have raised binoculars and seen the horizon line very clearly. In fact, at 3-30 am, the wind had started to rise and improve the already good visibility.
Still thinking of the foregoing- apply it to how far off the nearby vessel was. Think about the above and think about how much water an observer would see between him/her and the natural horizon if the eye was 55 feet above the sea. That stretch of water and the horizon is a distance guage. A practised observer very quickly becomes able to guage the approximate distance between him/her and a visible object which is on, or between them and, the visible horizon...night or day.

Who told you that Stone and Stewart were looking at Carpathia's lights at 4 am? That is pure fiction.

Stewart very clearly stated: "8596. Did you see anything? A: - Yes, I saw a steamer to the southward.
Stone
equally clearly stated: " [At 4 am] I saw a steamer then just abaft the port beam showing two masthead lights apparently heading much in the same direction as ourselves." Stone also wrote: " I took up the glasses and just made out a four-masted steamer with two masthead lights a little abaft our port beam, and bearing about S.,"

At 4 am, Carpathia would have been bearing SSE, not south. South -East using another version. A vessel south of Californian at that time would be on the western side of the ice barrier...Carpathia was on its eastern side.


However, if, when she stopped at 3-30 am against the western side of the ice barrier, Mount Temple was farther north than her captain estimated she was, then the yellow funneled vessel seen by Stewart that morning was she. After all, Mount Temple had a yellow funnel.
Californian did not begin to move until just after 5 am when it was broad daylight. At that time. Stewart would have a clear view of the vessel to the south. Shortly after, Mount Temple started moving southward along the western edge of the ice.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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All it means is that the Carpathia rockets were seen by Stone and Gibson a long way off, and were not particularly distinct, but that Gibson recognised them as rockets. I don't myself consider that this vagary allows some kind of mathematical treatise to be developed as to distance, unless with substantial caveats.
Exactly Julian. The tables (or equations) used for maximum geographic range are typically used to determine when a certain light can be expected to be seen at night knowing the height of eye of the observer and the height of the light you are looking for above the sea. But that is not all. You also need to know what the lights luminous range would be expected under the prevailing visibility conditions, which can range from 0 through 9 and taken from the Int. meteorological optical range table and the lights published nominal range. The lesser of the two between geographic range and luminous range, gives an expected range.
But Jm is basically using maximum geographic range because of the use of the words 'right on the horizon' and assumes that a clear horizon line was visible through an uncoated pair of binoculars that were used at that the time. Of course if those 'flashes' were precisely on the horizon it would impossible for someone like Gibson to agree that what he he saw were rockets that went 'up into the sky.' Yet nothing of a hull form of a vessel was visible that night to anyone, looking through glasses or with the naked eye. Just lights. Yet a perfectly clear horizon line was visible, suggesting that the sky was ever so slightly brighter than the sea? Hmm?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Regarding Mount Temple. At 4am she was still heading northeastward and coming up from the southwest. She could not have been the vessel to the southward of Californian that was stopped and showing 'a lot of light amidships' (according to Stewart's deposition) and facing more or less in the same direction that Californian was at that time (Stone). The only vessel that matches that description at that time is Carpathia, unless you want to believe it was yet another mystery ship with a crew who's silence over the years since was deafening.
 

Julian Atkins

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Thank you both Jim and Sam for your replies.

If anyone else is still following me on all this, here is my view on the importance of Stewart and Stone's conversation ("Stone's report") just after 4am vis-a-vis Stone and Gibson seeing Carpathia's rockets from around 3.15am onwards...

At 4am, (or shortly afterwards) Stewart sees Carpathia when it is still dark. Stone says it is not the same vessel they had been observing (till around 2am) because that ship had one masthead light whereas Stewart's ship has 2 masthead lights. It is in roughly the direction Stone observed his ship till around 2am.

By this time, shortly after 4am, Carpathia was 'on the scene' picking up the first lifeboats. When I say "shortly after 4am", this is based on Stewart's claim that Stone provided him with a 'brief report', but in actual fact if you examine the subsequent evidence it was anything but a brief report, and might have lasted 20 minutes. I also expect Stewart got to the bridge somewhat before 4am, as Jim will no doubt agree, unless the 'slackness' on The Californian' (Captain Lord's own words) allowed Stewart to get to the bridge late, same as Stone did after midnight!

At '4am' Stewart can see the lights of Carpathia clearly. Apart from a bit of drift, essentially at '4am' The Californian is the same distance from where Titanic sank give or take just a few miles.

Then go back to the Carpathia firing her rockets starting around 3.15am. The Carpathia still has another 45/55 minutes steaming to get to Boxhall's lifeboat showing green flares, and depending on when you consider Carpathia reduced her speed and then coasted (which is not particularly clear) then the main point is that when Gibson and Stone saw the rockets fired from Carpathia, Carpathia was 'southwards' of the lifeboats and still some way to go.

Yet even at this further distance, Gibson in particular still sees 3 rockets that were fired from Carpathia.

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Jim Currie

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Exactly Julian. The tables (or equations) used for maximum geographic range are typically used to determine when a certain light can be expected to be seen at night knowing the height of eye of the observer and the height of the light you are looking for above the sea. But that is not all. You also need to know what the lights luminous range would be expected under the prevailing visibility conditions, which can range from 0 through 9 and taken from the Int. meteorological optical range table and the lights published nominal range. The lesser of the two between geographic range and luminous range, gives an expected range.
But Jm is basically using maximum geographic range because of the use of the words 'right on the horizon' and assumes that a clear horizon line was visible through an uncoated pair of binoculars that were used at that the time. Of course if those 'flashes' were precisely on the horizon it would impossible for someone like Gibson to agree that what he he saw were rockets that went 'up into the sky.' Yet nothing of a hull form of a vessel was visible that night to anyone, looking through glasses or with the naked eye. Just lights. Yet a perfectly clear horizon line was visible, suggesting that the sky was ever so slightly brighter than the sea? Hmm?
Yes, Sam, as Julian points out, we can all read. have you ever been to sea? have you ever looked through binoculars at night
Exactly Julian. The tables (or equations) used for maximum geographic range are typically used to determine when a certain light can be expected to be seen at night knowing the height of eye of the observer and the height of the light you are looking for above the sea. But that is not all. You also need to know what the lights luminous range would be expected under the prevailing visibility conditions, which can range from 0 through 9 and taken from the Int. meteorological optical range table and the lights published nominal range. The lesser of the two between geographic range and luminous range, gives an expected range.
But Jm is basically using maximum geographic range because of the use of the words 'right on the horizon' and assumes that a clear horizon line was visible through an uncoated pair of binoculars that were used at that the time. Of course if those 'flashes' were precisely on the horizon it would impossible for someone like Gibson to agree that what he he saw were rockets that went 'up into the sky.' Yet nothing of a hull form of a vessel was visible that night to anyone, looking through glasses or with the naked eye. Just lights. Yet a perfectly clear horizon line was visible, suggesting that the sky was ever so slightly brighter than the sea? Hmm?
Binoculars gather light - even in the "dark ages" of 1912. There is no such thing as total darkness in the open air. At sea, on a dark moonless night with no wind or swell, the sea appears black compared to the sky. If the stars were setting or rising right on the horizon then you have a distinct marker. At the scene of the disaster, survivors were able to see the sinking ship outlined in black after the lights went out. You would know all this if you had spent 10 minutes aboard a ship on such a night.
 

Julian Atkins

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survivors were able to see the sinking ship outlined in black after the lights went out
Hi Jim,

You might want to re-visit this tomorrow!

Witnesses often provide a recollection of what they think they ought to have seen, rather than what they actually saw, especially when latterly they find out what they did not know or see for sure at the time. The circumstances of Titanic's sinking, and all that involved, was not conducive to accurate witness accounts.

Anyway, enough for tonight for me.

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Yes, Sam, as Julian points out, we can all read. have you ever been to sea? have you ever looked through binoculars at night

Binoculars gather light - even in the "dark ages" of 1912. There is no such thing as total darkness in the open air. At sea, on a dark moonless night with no wind or swell, the sea appears black compared to the sky. If the stars were setting or rising right on the horizon then you have a distinct marker. At the scene of the disaster, survivors were able to see the sinking ship outlined in black after the lights went out. You would know all this if you had spent 10 minutes aboard a ship on such a night.
Again , I am directing this to what I call the "real sailors" on these forums , such as Sam and Jim.
Would you say that there is ever evidence of "total darkness" at sea ?
I post this from an incident in my brief sea duty.
There was a night with a heavy overcast.
No moon , stars or horizon could be seen.
This seemed to be to me to be total darkness.
Or was this just a case of my eyes not being "dark adapted" and it really couldn't be considered as being "total darkness " ?
This is another case of a caveat to experienced Mariners by an inexperienced rank layman. :--)
At least in the case of the Titanic survivors in the lifeboats , the night was very clear, even to the point of "seeing stars rising and setting on the horizon".
 
May 3, 2005
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Hi Jim,

You might want to re-visit this tomorrow!

Witnesses often provide a recollection of what they think they ought to have seen, rather than what they actually saw, especially when latterly they find out what they did not know or see for sure at the time. The circumstances of Titanic's sinking, and all that involved, was not conducive to accurate witness accounts.

Anyway, enough for tonight for me.

Cheers,

Julian
Your post is about the gist of my previous post.
In reference to the ''total darkness'', I (the witness in this case ) was just my '' recollection of what I think I ought to have seen, rather than what I actually saw.''
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
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Funchal. Madeira
Hi Jim,

You might want to re-visit this tomorrow!

Witnesses often provide a recollection of what they think they ought to have seen, rather than what they actually saw, especially when latterly they find out what they did not know or see for sure at the time. The circumstances of Titanic's sinking, and all that involved, was not conducive to accurate witness accounts.

Anyway, enough for tonight for me.

Cheers,

Julian
True, Julian. But then, we must completely bin every account by eyewitnesses who saw Titanic sink after the lights went out.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
5,207
666
213
Funchal. Madeira
Again , I am directing this to what I call the "real sailors" on these forums , such as Sam and Jim.
Would you say that there is ever evidence of "total darkness" at sea ?
I post this from an incident in my brief sea duty.
There was a night with a heavy overcast.
No moon , stars or horizon could be seen.
This seemed to be to me to be total darkness.
Or was this just a case of my eyes not being "dark adapted" and it really couldn't be considered as being "total darkness " ?
This is another case of a caveat to experienced Mariners by an inexperienced rank layman. :--)
At least in the case of the Titanic survivors in the lifeboats , the night was very clear, even to the point of "seeing stars rising and setting on the horizon".
Hello Robert.

Never underestimate yourself. If you have been to sea in a ship in any capacity then you were a "real sailor."

As far as I know, Sam has never been to sea, consequently, as the old saying goes, you have "squeezed more salt water out of your sea-boot socks" than Sam has sailed over. I fear that your observation regarding setting stars will somehow be twisted by non sailors.