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ASTRO , a Cosmological Calc/Simulator

, 24 Oct 2012
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Make a Solar System or Learn About Ours

Please note

This article is an entry in our AppInnovation Contest. Articles in this sub-section are not required to be full articles so care should be taken when voting.

Introduction

The application I propose , a cosmological calculator/simulator, will be able to show the user the location of objects such as meteors, planets, and moons within our solar system at any time and on any day. The user will also be able to create objects, define their heliocentric osculating orbital elements to create an orbit or just trace and orbit with their finger, and then track and see where these custom objects would be and how they would behave if they where real. I would like to make it fun and interactive but also educational as well.   

I have been working on a version of this program code as a script generator for a planetarium Digistar3 system  at the local community college I went to last year but decided to put that on hold when a friend recently told me about this contest. I immediately started thinking about what app I could write and the thought of a planetarium-type/sim-solar-system style app came into my head, however I noticed an e-mail where there was an emphasis on keeping the apps simple. So to simplify things and possibly set the groundwork for that app. I decided to propose a Cosmological Calculator/Simulator. This calculator can be used by amateur astronomers and students who would want to quickly know where to look or where point their telescopes when looking for one of their favorite extraterrestrial objects within our solar system. It would then also display the orbits of the objects as seen relative from a perpendicular to the axis of rotation view of earth.

   This application will incorporate the use of the following features:

  • GPS
  • touch 
  • accelerometer  

Background  

My app is a totally new concept, that is based off of a school project I was working on last year. However this one will function in a similar manner but with a different algorithm for data processing and a different front end for the output. 

My app will calculate the orbital positions of various extraterrestrial objects, planets, by using the data collected from texts files of the heliocentric measurements taken and recorded by the Royal Naval Observatory.  

When a position is needed the data is then read by the application and the position of the object is calculated using a complex algorithm, based on orbital mechanics.  

Here is a sample of the text file I will use.
 
Heliocentric Osculating Orbital Elements Referred to
the Mean Equinox and Ecliptic of Date for 2012
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         |  Julian  |Inclin-|  Longitude    |  Mean  | Daily  |Eccen- |  Mean  
Date     |   Date   | ation |Asc.  | Peri-  |Distance| Motion |tricity|Longitude
         |          |       |Node  | helion |        |        |       |
         |          |degrees|    degrees    |   au   |degrees |       | degrees
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

$MERCURY                                               

Jan.  -6  2455920.5  7.0052  48.473  77.643  0.387099 4.09234  0.205633 158.4447

Feb.   3  2455960.5  7.0052  48.474  77.645  0.387098 4.09235  0.205637 322.1396

Mar.  14  2456000.5  7.0052  48.475  77.646  0.387098 4.09235  0.205638 125.8349

Apr.  23  2456040.5  7.0052  48.477  77.647  0.387098 4.09236  0.205641 289.5302

June   2  2456080.5  7.0053  48.478  77.648  0.387098 4.09235  0.205641  93.2257

    

July  12  2456120.5  7.0052  48.480  77.650  0.387098 4.09234  0.205639 256.9213

Aug.  21  2456160.5  7.0052  48.481  77.651  0.387099 4.09234  0.205635  60.6159

Sept. 30  2456200.5  7.0053  48.482  77.653  0.387099 4.09233  0.205634 224.3108

Nov.   9  2456240.5  7.0053  48.484  77.656  0.387099 4.09234  0.205635  28.0055

Dec.  19  2456280.5  7.0053  48.485  77.658  0.387100 4.09232  0.205636 191.7001

Dec.  59  2456320.5  7.0052  48.486  77.661  0.387097 4.09236  0.205644 355.3943 

$MARS                                                   

Jan.  -6  2455920.5  1.8497  49.652 336.236  1.523585 0.524090 0.093465 128.5204

Feb.   3  2455960.5  1.8497  49.654 336.236  1.523616 0.524074 0.093441 149.4863

Mar.  14  2456000.5  1.8497  49.655 336.230  1.523659 0.524051 0.093411 170.4514

Apr.  23  2456040.5  1.8497  49.656 336.222  1.523700 0.524030 0.093387 191.4154

June   2  2456080.5  1.8497  49.658 336.217  1.523726 0.524017 0.093371 212.3776

   

July  12  2456120.5  1.8497  49.659 336.218  1.523732 0.524014 0.093360 233.3386

Aug.  21  2456160.5  1.8497  49.660 336.227  1.523715 0.524022 0.093347 254.2991

Sept. 30  2456200.5  1.8497  49.661 336.235  1.523688 0.524036 0.093327 275.2598

Nov.   9  2456240.5  1.8497  49.662 336.242  1.523655 0.524053 0.093304 296.2216

Dec.  19  2456280.5  1.8497  49.663 336.246  1.523624 0.524069 0.093285 317.1847

Dec.  59  2456320.5  1.8497  49.664 336.249  1.523605 0.524079 0.093274 338.1493
I am currently working on re-writing the code which parses this text file.   

Using the code  

I don't have much of the code for this app created yet but I will be working  on posting some of it what I can finish as soon as possible.  I have been pretty busy with school but the deadline for entering this contest is coming up so here is my article. 

History 

  • Oct 11 2012 registered for contest 
  • Oct 23 2012 Entered article for ASTRO  

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

jeremy kuester
Student EE Student @ ASU
United States United States
No Biography provided

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