Nautical words

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Mercury Ballistic. Pots of mercury, one on either side of a Sperry Gyro Compass. These have a connecting tube through which mercury flows when compass tilts and tends to wander out of meridian. Extra weight on one side causes gyro to precess into meridian and regain horizontal position.

Mercury Trough. Receptacle in which mercury is placed to form an artificial horizon when taking celestial observations ashore. Has a glass roof to ensure unruffled surface of mercury.

Meridian. Semi-circle of terrestrial sphere passing between the poles. All positions on this line have noon at the same instant, and the same longitude.

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