It is a lost art, but was very essential back in the day. I have a slight correction to your post and that is the ability to take Polaris shots during daylight hours. Yes it can be done and have done it many times. The great advantage obviously is surveying at night is not generally very efficient. The disadvantage is being able to find that little light easily. One drawback is that the sky must be perfectly clear with no haze or pollution. This was usually the condition in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming & Montana where I did a great deal of my surveying back in the 60's & 70's. The method requires pre-calculating the position of Polaris in the sky relative to Astronomic North, as it rotates around it with an approximate 3/4° radius. The method is to determine when the star is nearing elongation. At these times, the apparent movement of the star is nearly vertical with very little lateral movement for around 20 minutes making the ability to methodically turn a set of angles a casual procedure instead of a frantic race trying to chase a celestial object across the sky. This method is not nearly as time critical as using the sun and much more precise and accurate. Once the star position has been determined, a search in the bright daylight will shortly reveal an extremely small but very bright star smiling down on you. The star is so small that it can be hidden by the crosshairs, making for a wonderfully reliable target. Once the initial sighting has occurred, the star is easily recaptured when the set of angles is being turned. Post-calculations determine the angular distance from the observation data to Astronomic North. Give it a try...you will be amazed at how well it works. Practice on a station that you already have an accurate azimuth to another station to make the acquisition of Polaris less time consuming, as it does sometimes take quite a while to initially find that little dot, but once you do, you will be impressed with your new found ability. Happy surveying from a dinosaur.
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