Zyx the Alien – Part 3, Sightseeing
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This is the third cache in a series of caches starring . . . Zyx the alien.
If you missed the explanation about Zyx and PlanetaryCaching from Part 1 , here it is again.
Zyx is an alien. He has: a really cool flying saucer, a wild sense of adventure, a mischievous sense of humor, a PPS receiver, and a love of the sport of PlanetaryCaching.
PlanetaryCaching resembles geocaching in many ways, except that it can cover a wide range of locations and it uses Z-Beacons instead of ordinary cache containers. A Z-Beacon is capable of sending controlled signals to Zyx’s PPS (Planetary Positioning System) receiver. When Zyx flies close enough to a hidden Z-Beacon, his receiver picks up a signal and displays a message. Sometimes the message says, It’s here, but sometimes it just gives a hint or partial information.
In this cache, and all the caches in this series, you will fly Zyx to virtual locations, and you will be shown the reading on his PPS receiver.
How do you control a flying saucer? Good question. Actually, it is quite easy. You just enter a coordinate (latitude and longitude) into the FSCP, Flying Saucer Control Panel (also known as a geochecker), and the saucer will immediately take you and Zyx to that location. It can be anywhere on the planet. Once there, the PPS will display the message from the Z-Beacon. Of course, if there is no Z-Beacon in range, it will just tell you to try again.
Now for the puzzle…
This third PlanetaryCache in the series is a multi-PlanetaryCache. It is called, Sightseeing. You will be given flying directions to three locations in North America based on the shortest route path – which is always a Great Circle Route. You can find an excellent explanation of great circle routes and a really good puzzle geocache at Losing Your Bearing: The Great Circle.
The short hand version is: a great circle route follows the curvature of the earth for a minimal distance path, and usually has a continuously changing bearing (direction). Thus a great circle route has the following elements:
You will be given some of the elements and need find the final coordinates so you can control Zyx’s flying saucer. Here is a calculator to help.
- Starting coordinates (latitude and longitude)
- Starting bearing (degrees clockwise from north)
- Distance traveled (this puzzle uses kilometers)
- Final bearing (degrees clockwise from north)
- Final coordinates (latitude and longitude)
Great Circle Calculator .
Remember to use a spherical earth model, distance in km, and that the final bearing on a route is 180 degrees off from the bearing for the return trip - this puzzle uses final bearing. (Some people are having mixed results using other great circle calculators from the web. Possibly those tools are using different earth models. In any case, the puzzle can be solved with the above calculator. No guarantees about any other tool.)
To start the puzzle, fly Zyx’s flying saucer to the posted location.
Here is the Flying Saucer Control Panel:
This is a puzzle cache. It is not at the listed location. The hidden container (Z-Beacon) is similar to the one in Part 1.
The FIRST TO FIND this cache was blandestk and theladybee – Congratulations!
BONUS: The creator of this PlanetaryCache, BEM_from_Sirius *, had a theme for the sightseeing trip. Send me email with the theme and how each of the three (non-Ohio) locations contributed to the theme and I will add you to the Bonus Hall of Fame. The location of the final Z-Beacon is a hint to the theme.
* Footnote: In the days of pulp science fiction novels, BEM was short for Bug-Eyed Monster – usually shown on the cover about to attack a human female!
BONUS HALL OF FAME: The following cachers have earned a place in the bonus hall of fame: Fat Chuck (first), VPPLAYER, TommyGator, Chris K in Geauga, 4 boys explore, dprice95, kaleidodad, samleelong21, the.ed, teamajk, Robbins Family, ...
Some of the ideas in this series were inspired by VPPLAYER’s excellent Missed DiRectiθn series in Dayton.
The complete Zyx series of puzzle caches is:
The ZYX GRAND TOUR HALL OF FAME awaits any cacher who logs all eight finds PLUS the Bonus options on Zyx #3 and #5. The members are: VPPLAYER (first), TommyGator, kaleidodad, samleelong21, Fat Chuck, 4 boys explore, ...
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