A comb-bound textbook/workbook praised by The Practical Sailor as "a first-class piece of work," Susan P. Howell's Practical Celestial Navigation was developed for Mystic Seaport's navigation courses. This third edition, originally published by the Seaport's Planetarium, retains the step-by-step format of the original, along with an abundance of diagrams and practice problems. Practical Celestial Navigation is recommended as a self-instruction text for beginners or for old celestial hands getting back in practice.
Susan P. Howell, a native of South Bristol, Maine, graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1968 with a math and astronomy background. Since that time, she worked for the planetarium at Mystic Seaport with the exception of one year as planetarium lecturer at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Her duties on the Seaport staff included writing planetarium programs, presenting lectures to school groups and Seaport visitors, and instructing classes in basic celestial navigation, astronomy, piloting and dead reckoning, weather, and advanced celestial navigation, the last three of which she introduced into the planetarium class curriculum. She did part-time work for SAIL magazine teaching summer cruises in celestial navigation, for Connecticut College instructing astronomy laboratories, and for Eastern Connecticut State College teaching astronomy. She wrote astronomical, meteorological, navigational, and biographical articles for The Naturalist's Almanac, Pequot Trails, The Practical Sailor, and the Seaport's Log. Her other major interests included sailing, gardening, music, carpentry, and horseback riding. She and her husband, David, had three children and lived in Hebron, Connecticut. In 1983, Susan became chairman of the Sail Training and Education Committee and member of the Board of Directors of The American Sail Training Association. It was while serving in this capacity as an Education Officer that she died in the sudden sinking of the British barque Marques during a squall while en route from Bermuda to Halifax on June 3, 1984.