Questions tagged [positional-astronomy]

Questions about positions of objects in the sky, either relative to a fixed coordinate system like the equatorial and ecliptic coordinate systems, or relative to an observer's point of view.

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Why is Earth at centre of Celestial Sphere?

Why do we consider Earth to be at the centre for Celestial Sphere ? If so, then how will Sun revolve around Earth ? Doesn't it mean its like the geocentric model ?
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Straightforward derivation of the sunrise equation

I'm looking for a reasonably straightforward derivation of the sunrise equation$$\cos\omega=-\tan\phi\tan\delta$$as referenced in the Wikipedia article here. I've dipped into Astronomical Algorithms ...
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Question on positional astronomy

I was preparing for an Astronomy Olympiad which has this question: On the evening of an autumnal equinox day Siddhant noticed that Mars was exactly along the north-south meridian in his sky at the ...
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Calculating the position of the Sun

I'm reading the book "Practical Astronomy with your Calculator or Spreadsheet 4th Edition" implementing its formulas with C++. Now, I'm implementing formula 46 "Calculating the position ...
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1answer
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How precise are Saemundsson/Bennett refraction formulas?

I was trying to reproduce the predictions of the Bennett formula* by physically-based calculations with a model based on a real-life refractivity profile. My calculations based on Table V from ref. 1 ...
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Best Books on Spherical Astronomy

I am preparing for an astronomy olympiad and a good amount of questions in the olympiad come from Spherical astronomy, some of the books ive tried reading were too hard to understand as this topic ...
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How can you determine the date using nothing but a star chart from the day and the time?

I'm doing a science olympiad event called Reach for the Stars, and one question that I've encountered provides a star chart and time of day, and you must figure out what month of the year it is from. ...
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Finding Observer Latitude/Longitude - In Simple Terms

I was wondering if someone could explain to me in simple terms how to determine the observer latitude/longitude at a given location. For instance, if an observer is positioned at Cleveland, Ohio, how ...
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A comet orbits the Sun in the same plane as Earth's orbit

If the Earth around the Sun follows a practically circular orbit of radius equal to one astronomical unit, determine its orbital speed in astronomical units per year. If the Earth around the Sun ...
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Secular parallax calculation in Binney and Merrifield

I am now reading Galactic Astronomy (1998) by Binney and Merrifield. In this book at p. 44 there is this formula for calculating proper motion vector: $$\boldsymbol\mu_i = \frac{(\mathbf u_i \times\...
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How to Calculate TRUE geocentric longitude of Moon's Ascending and Descending Nodes [duplicate]

I have already computed the Mean and True geocentric longitude of the planets like Sun, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter etc.. Even I have calculated the MEAN geocentric longitude of Moon's Ascending and ...
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45 views

Translating a zenith position to the nadir

What would be the easiest way to translate a zenith position to a nadir on the celestial sphere? For example I have a position from the azimuthal grid in Stellarium; 3h44m32.64s/+50°50'16.2" ...
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Constellation a celestial body is in

Given its right ascension and declination, find out the constellation a celestial body is in. Does anyone know of an algorithm (C#, js) for that? It would read the constellation boundaries (e.g. ...
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About coordinate systems and angle differences

If I want to measure the beam-width of a radio telescope sweeping through a ~ puntual object (the Sun) with a ~ constant flux output when measured: The value measured sweeping in one frame of ...
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Stellar Aberration and Lorentz Transformation

The aberration of starlight is claimed to result from the Lorentz transformation of Special Relativity, but I am having problems to understand this. Assume we have two reference frames $x,y,z$ (the ...
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156 views

How to manually locate a certain declination in the sky for a given location? (no sextant available)

Consider this example. I am standing in a flat surface, at latitude X, looking to the equator, in a random day of the year. (For simplicity, let's assume X > 23.5º) I want to find the position of ...
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How to I calcuate observed position of the Sun and Moon using the SOFA C library?

There are a number of answers on here that skirt the topic, but no concrete answers. I currently have an implementation based on "Astronomical Algorithms by Jean Meeus" for stars, moon, and ...
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Confused about the significance of sidereal time

My understanding of sidereal time is that the position of a star will be in the same place 4 minutes earlier the next day. So a 20 days later the star will be 1hr 20 mins earlier. So if the star is in ...
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What are the correct positions or alignment of planets in relation to each other and the Sun, is it vertical center, baseline or completely random

From a lot a illustrations and videos, the planets seem to align in vertical center to each other like this: Is this really true? I like to imagine that the planets are actually in weird alignment to ...
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The Jupiter Effect Book

This evening I have been thinking about the anxiety caused in 1982 by predictions in John Gribbin and Stephen Plagemann 1974 book The Jupiter Effect. I was a teenager in 1982. The planets aligning ...
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What measurements helped us in understanding 'Oumuamua's location and speed?

What measurements helped scientists understand 'Oumuamua's location and speed? I wanted to know how it was achieved and with what accuracy if possible.
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Right ascension, Equinox, Positions Help

I am trying to answer the following question which I slightly understand but need a clearer explanation: What are the times of year to observe an object at X hours of RA at visual wavelength? I am ...
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What are the Mathematical Algorithms/Formulas behind hindu Sunrise and Sunset Calculations?

There are differences between Astronomical Sunrise/Sunset calculation and Hindu calendar Sunrise/Sunset calculations. The astronomical algorithms to calculate the sunrise/sunset can be found over the ...
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1answer
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Where can I get J2000 epoch initial mean longitudes for all planets and celestial bodies?

I'm following this paper to calculate geocentric coordinates. The authors have provided the initial mean longitude values for the planets (provided in attached table) for 01.01.2000 @ 00.00 UT but I'...
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Converting rectangular to polar coordinates

I'm following the steps in this paper on how to calculate geocentric longitude. In section 3.4.2 it says the Geocentric rectangular co-ordinates of Mercury then are: ...
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Map planetary eccentricity on a perfect circle? [closed]

What is the formula to plot an eccentric orbit on a perfect circle? I have estimated the full degrees each planet would occupy on a 360 degree wheel (natal chart) but how do I take into account a ...
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Understanding the JPL Ephemerides

I'm working on an animation that replicates our Solar System. I know this has been done before, but I'm working on something that requires me to make one myself. With that being said, I'm having a ...
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Can I derive the position of my house's shadow from sun altitude?

I'd like to pull in my awning if my house's shadow has reached a point where the awning has no use any more. The house is almost perfectly aligned in a North-South direction, the garden with the ...
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Position Angle Relative to North

I am trying to find the position angle of a star whose Ra and dec are known. I have already looked at the 'Measuring misalignment between two positions on sky' question and answer, but the answer ...
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3answers
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Looking for a Solar System Simulator including the smaller celestial body, for macOS

I am researching for a sci-fi novel that will happen in 2136. For this I would like to know specific positions of "smaller" celestial bodies in our Solar System. An example can be the dwarf planet ...
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1answer
322 views

What is meant by *topocentric* right ascension and declination?

I'm looking up how to convert an azimuth/elevation measurement from a specific location on Earth's surface to right ascension/declination. I'm coming across the terms "topocentric declination" and "...
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1answer
83 views

Galactic Equator zenith transit

I need to find the two times of zenith passage of the Galactic Equator for a given Earth Lat/Lon on any day between 3500 BC and 1500 AD. Since the Galactic Equator is a line and not a point, I try to ...
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1answer
136 views

how to calculate distance between galaxies in the distant past

for example, assume there is a high redshift galaxy called "A" with z=6, so how to calculate the distance between us and another galaxy B when the light left the galaxy A? For example, say B has a ...
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1answer
80 views

Visible satellites real time position API

I'm trying to obtain the azimuth and elevation of all (or at least the majority) visible artificial satellites from a given latitude and longitude. Is there a quite stable API that does that for free? ...
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What book(s) should I read to get started learning about astronomy? [duplicate]

I'm an undergrad software engineer but I also love physics and math. I'm starting to get going in AI/Machine Learning techniques and I'm going to use NASA data-sets to conduct analysis. However, I am ...
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235 views

What constellation is closest to the Zenith with RA=12 and Dec =47.6?

I have several options, but I do not know how to calculate which option is closest to the zenith in title. Could you please help me with this? Thank you. ...
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687 views

Plotting Astronomical Data Using Python

I have been trying to create a graph which shows the distances between the stars and the earth, yet I could not obtain the desired graph as seen below (click to zoom in): My graph: As @uhoh ...
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1answer
379 views

Help with Converting Right Ascension and Declination into 3D Vectors

Using the Right Ascension and Declination values from the HYG Database from The Astronomy Nexus: Right ascension is measured in hours and declination is measured in degrees. 1 - Convert right ...
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1answer
108 views

Latitude of given altitude of Sun

From Question #6 of USAAAO First Round 2018 (1 point) For the following problem find the range in which the answer lies: on the day of summer solstice, on which geographic latitude is the sun ...
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679 views

Galactic Coordinate System and distance

If the Galactic Coordinate System is made up of two values, angles of longitude and latitude, how is distance measured? If you have those two values, you get a line from the sun in a certain direction....
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Client-side JavaScript astronomy libraries which are not based on node.js?

Are there any client-side JavaScript astronomy libraries? Almost every library I see appears to be server side for node.js. I realize some node.js libraries can be adapted for client-side use, so I'd ...
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Jean Meeus - calculating moon rise, transit and set times - help isolating error in logic

I've been working my way through the Jean Meeus Astronomical Algorithms book for a few weeks, to implement some of the key algorithms for a personal project. This task has been a little more complex ...
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ra for sun vs stars

There is formula for stars sideral time: $$ra - \arccos(-\tan(dec)*\tan(lat)).$$ where $ra$ - is right of ascension at the vernal equinox. $lat$ = latitude $dec$ = declination Is it applicable ...
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Could someone please explain to me how I can extract velocity component values from Stellarium, for a given planet?

For a project that I am currently working on, I would like to know how one could extract velocity component values ($v_x$, $v_y$ and $v_z$) for a planet from the Stellarium software. The current ...
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Data in measures paper

What do this data mean please? http://cdsads.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?1904AnOBN...8a...1N&data_type=PDF_HIGH&whole_paper=YES&type=PRINTER&filetype=.pdf
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Sky from Equator at 8,000 years Before Present?

The Stellarium software allows future views of the sky. I need an online resource (planetarium projector?) that shows pre-historical views, and from the Equator at 8,000 years before the present.
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Planets positions (azimuth, altitude) API

I'm looking for a simple API that will allow me to get positions of planets and the moon for a given date, location and time. Does anyone know an API like that? Any suggestions or alternatives would ...
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1answer
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Can Eight Retrograde (seen from Earth) planets occur?

First of all, for the purposes of this question Pluto is a planet. So the eight planets being considered are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. My question is: can all ...
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Is the longitude assigned to sunspots spherical or projected?

Sunspot maps are created from a projection of the sun, so the coordinates of sunspots (or active regions in general) are assigned according to it. Do these coordinates correspond to actual spherical ...