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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28
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1answer
4k views

If dark matter bends light, how do we know the stuff in the sky is where we think it is?

We measure movement, position, and many other things of an object in space because of its light and what we can measure with it. But as far as I know there's supposed to be a HUGE amount of dark ...
24
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2answers
2k views

Where can I find/visualize planets/stars/moons/etc positions?

What resources are available to find the positions of planets, stars, moons, artifical satellites, asteroids, and other heavenly bodies?
18
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1answer
4k views

How far do we have to go to leave the galaxy?

How far is the sun from the edge of the galaxy in the following directions? Moving along the shortest path parallel to the galactic plane (outward radially) Moving along the longest path parallel to ...
11
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1answer
314 views

How the position of this black hole known?

How do scientists know the positions of black holes? Observe the highlighted area in the image:
8
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1answer
2k views

What is the Galactic Latitude and Galactic Longitude? How is different from the latitude and longitude we use on Earth?

It has to something with the positioning of sun and galactic center of the milky way but I wasn't able to understand how for a given star, its co-ordinates are calculated. Some explanation would be ...
8
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2answers
288 views

Is it possible to figure out your location in the Milky Way if you are suddenly wormholed to a random, distant location in the galaxy?

If you were flying along in your spacecraft somewhere in our solar system and then a large, stable wormhole suddenly opened and you flew into it and were whisked away to some distant location in the ...
7
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3answers
509 views

How/where to check where the Sun is (constellation)?

I would like to check in which constellation the Sun was in at some time in the past, any recommendations how to do that?
7
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1answer
115 views

What are the problems that need to be taken in consideration when trying to find planetary position by using jpl ephemerides?

I'm currently trying to determine the position of the sun and the moon from jpl ephemeris DE200 which is referred to the dynamical equator and equinox of 2000 and uses tdb time. I am using the j2000 ...
6
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1answer
399 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....
6
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1answer
67 views

Is there any star recognition framework/library available?

Being a daytime software engineer and a sparetime photographer, I was looking for a nice DIY project for the next weeks. I finally decided to build a star tracker with a camera mount, so that I can ...
6
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1answer
96 views

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 ...
6
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0answers
90 views

Is Spherical Astronomy by W. M. Smart a good book on positional/spherical astronomy?

I'm a math undergrad, but I'm really interested in learning positional astronomy; However, the only well-referenced textbook I've come up with is Spherical Astronomy by W. M. Smart. I would like to ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Calculating Angular Distance

Given the horizontal coordinates of two objects in the sky, how does one go about calculating the angular separation between them?
5
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1answer
155 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
86 views

What is the difference between ICRS and ICRS2?

When I first learned about Positional Astronomy (50 years ago), everything was described with respect to the Equator and Ecliptic (true or mean, of date or of a specific epoch). Then 'they' invented ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Get date and time by position of the sun and the observer position

I am working on an astrology project (don't panic, my question is about astronomy or math), where I need to figure out some values by the longnitude of the planets. I have a program for this, the ...
4
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2answers
208 views

How do I make a custom pulsar map?

I'm looking to make a custom pulsar map like the one on the Voyager Records, but for an arbitrary location within the Milky Way Galaxy. I'm not even sure where to begin.
4
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1answer
115 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
248 views

How do you calculate length of day in a multiple-star system?

How can you calculate the length of day for a planet (given a particular latitude and longitude on that planet) orbiting multiple stars? What about a planet that is orbiting one star, but that star ...
4
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0answers
52 views

Does an algorithm exist that takes an image of the night sky and tell you where in the milky way that perspective likely originates? [duplicate]

In Stargate they talk about using the stars on other planets to figure out their location. I know that's fiction, but it made me wonder if such an algorithm (with arguably little usefulness right now) ...
3
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2answers
253 views

What is the Northernmost Latitude of Saturn?

My wife and I were watching a TV show last night, which takes place in Salem, Massachusetts circa 1693. One character went to a particular place in the woods at a particular time to be exactly under ...
3
votes
2answers
696 views

Why do stars seem not to move relative to each other?

Whilst I understand why stars move across our skies,(Earth rotation) I struggle to understand why they do not appear to move relative to each other. To explain: Take the best know constellation the ...
3
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2answers
117 views

Synodic period of planets

Many books explain the difference between synodic and sideral periods. The synodic period of planets are tabulated for centuries and it is defined as the time interval between two consecutive ...
3
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1answer
256 views

If the earth was not tilted, what would be the north star?

What is earth tipped toward? The simple answer is Polaris. The axis (one end of it) points at Polaris, so that's what it's tipped to point at. But when we saw "toward" what do we mean? When it is ...
3
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1answer
170 views

Heliocentric distance from galactic x y and z coordinates

How can I get heliocentric distance to a star when I have galactic x y and z coordinates known ?
3
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1answer
148 views

Given sunrise, noon, sunset, longitude and latitude can I calculate the “hight” or “ascension” of the sun?

I'm trying to make a simple app for my own use to be able to check which of my favorit restaurants have outdoor seating sun and for how long etc. Given the data in the title (sunrise, noon, sunset, ...
3
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2answers
375 views

Length of a tidal day or by how much is the Moon late each day?

A tidal day is the MEAN time between successive meridian transits of the Moon. (This is sometimes called called a lunar day, a term that should be deprecated for use in this sense, because it is also ...
3
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1answer
174 views

Can we draw a min(distance) and max(mass) relation based on current observation data of nearby astronomical objects within several parcsecs?

The data precision now can exclude a >>$1M_{\odot}$ black hole companion, which has a, say 10000 year orbital period with our sun? Can we draw a two dimensional diagram(Mass VS. distance) to show the ...
3
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1answer
125 views

VSOP for exosatellites? (Io, Titan, Ariel, etc)

VSOP87 (and the subsequent VSOP2000 and VSOP2013) provide reasonably accurate planetary positions while still maintaining a small file size compared to the Chebyshev polynomial files. VSOP ...
3
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1answer
161 views

Formula for sun's atmospheric refraction below the horizon

I have searched in Google and found interesting articles for atmospheric refraction influence on sun's elevation above the horizon (from 0° till 90°). eg. Bennett G.G. etc. I would like to know if ...
3
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1answer
310 views

How to visually chart HORIZON ephemeris

I'm trying to build a 3D model of the Sun, Earth and Moon in in Javascript (using Three.JS, which relies on x,y,z coordinates for all objects) in order to simulate the Aug. 21 eclipse. I've ...
3
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1answer
204 views

Stellarium simulation

I'm interested lately in Stellarium and the functionalities which it provides especially scripting. I want to make a simulation that shows the celestial sphere with some planets like Venus, Mars, and ...
3
votes
1answer
308 views

About the formula for taking in count of the observer altitude in sunrise/sunset formula

I'm new here and searched for solution but did not found one. I have found algorithms in order to calculate sunrise and sunset times for an observer on the surface of Earth with explanations of ...
3
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1answer
207 views

How do I get from Star Atlas to real life?

This question is about finding the elevation and bearing of a given star at a particular time at Latitude 52N. I look up the RA and Declination of my star. How do I calculate its bearing and ...
3
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0answers
67 views

How to calculate planetary positions hundreds or thousands of years ago

Wondering how to calculate the following in a general way: Sunrise/sunset Equinoxes/solstices Moon phases Planetary positions For hundreds to thousands of years ago. Wondering what the calculation ...
3
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0answers
145 views

Viewing “Diamond Fuji”

Diamond Fuji is a phenomenon in which the (typically) setting sun is positioned directly atop Mt Fuji. Some relatively detailed predictions for viewing times at a nearby park are available here. I ...
2
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3answers
1k views

Generate an uniform distribution on the sky

How to generate an uniform distribution of stars on the sky ? What I want is make a simulation of random points following uniform distribution on a part of the sky (making the assuption that we have ...
2
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1answer
305 views

What should be the declination of a star to be marginally circumpolar given the latitude & height from ground?

If I'm given the latitude, I can easily find the declination by using declination = 90 - latitude. I can also find the angle of dip from the height but should I add or subtract it from the declination ...
2
votes
1answer
375 views

Will time that moon crosses meridian always be periodic?

If I observe the moon pass my celestial meridian at a specific north polar clock 'time' will I observe every subsequent passage at ( 'current time' + 13.2* X 'days passed' mod 360* ) ? Does the moon ...
2
votes
1answer
98 views

Centre (projected) of a galaxy cluster

A galaxy cluster consists of somewhere around a few tens to several hundred galaxies. To measure the position of a galaxy cluster, i.e. it's RA and DEC, do astronomers always assume it to be its ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

Is it possible to define a state of zero absolute angular momentum anywhere in the universe?

Conservation of angular momentum doesn't seem correct to me. I think this because radiation is present everywhere, no space is completely void, and no object perfect. Thus all objects will have uneven ...
2
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1answer
567 views

How to construct a sky map

First of all, I have very basic knowledge of astronomy so sorry if I make some mistakes in my terminology. I'd like to plot the Southern Cross. I can find the name of its 5 stars. Also, I have some ...
2
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1answer
45 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
87 views

How should I think about sunlight for the purposes of analyzing the angles it makes w/ earth?

Most diagrams I see of sunlight look like something like this: . They show that for basic geometric analyses, the sun's radiation can be thought of as 'thin lines' that strike earth. Further, at an ...
2
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1answer
94 views

How to get the solar zenith from the longitude and latitude?

I have real data of “Direct Normal Irradiation” and “Diffuse Horizontal Irradiation” and I should calculate “Global Horizontal Irradiation”. I have also longitude, latitude and elevation. Could you ...
2
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2answers
809 views

Solar / lunar positions in ECEF using SOFA C libraries

I'd like to calculate the positions of the sun and moon in the ECEF coordinate system using the SOFA (http://www.iausofa.org/current_C.html) libraries given a Julian day input. So far, I've got this ...
2
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1answer
334 views

Obtaining stars vector position in relation to the center of the galaxy at a given date

How can someone obtain such vector, for stars in the Milky Way? Input should be star data (from a catalog, eg: Hipparcos) and Julian Date. Output should be a Vector Position (in pc) in relation to ...
2
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1answer
1k views

Finding a location using the direction of shadow, UT and date approximately

Does anyone know how to find a location by using : the direction of shadow relative to the normal (for example azimuth angle) the Universal time (UT) and date I have a satellite image and I know ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

Finding the suns position in the sky anywhere at any time

What am I looking for? from any point Latitude, Longitude and date D I want to know where the sun is in the sky at any given time anywhere on our planet. I even don't know what the outcome will be ...
2
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2answers
151 views

When is Gamma Draconis closest to the zenith in London on April 4th

I am reading Roobert Hooke's paper An attempt to prove the motion of the earth from observations (1674, faksimile). Hooke writes The principal dayes of doing which will be about the 4 of April, ...