PyEphem - scientific-grade astronomical computations

  • martinus
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11 years 2 months ago #97475 by martinus
Haven't seen this mentioned and I know there are a few python users here.

"PyEphem provides scientific-grade astronomical computations for the Python programming language. Given a date and location on the Earth’s surface, it can compute the positions of the Sun and Moon, of the planets and their moons, and of any asteroids, comets, or earth satellites whose orbital elements the user can provide. Additional functions are provided to compute the angular separation between two objects in the sky, to determine the constellation in which an object lies, and to find the times at which an object rises, transits, and sets on a particular day."


Really nice tutorials and the ever-friendly python programming language make this easy to play with even if you're a novice to python. :)
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9 years 8 months ago #102238 by albertw

Sorry about brining up an old thread :)

I ran into the author of pyephem recently and had a good chat about the software and coordinate systems!

Pyephem itself is a python wrapper around the libastro code that powers the classic Xephem software and that in turn traces it roots back to books such as 'Practical Astronomy with your pocket calculator.

Anyway he's been working on a new library, Skyfield, that aims to be a bit more userfriendly but also is based on the International Celestial Reference System ( aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/ICRS_doc.php has a good overview of the system). Skyfield documentation is at rhodesmill.org/skyfield/

It's focussed on satellites and planets at the moment, but Brandon is working on extending that to include minor planets as well. Have a play around with it if you are interested and feel free to raise any issues you find on github.com/brandon-rhodes/python-skyfield/ (or email me if you like)


Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
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