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Main FeaturesAnimations

Main Features of Scientific Astronomer

Star Charts: Five types of charts are defined in Scientific Astronomer, including two wide field star charts. With the star charts you can zoom into any portion of the sky. All the charts have options to show star spectral colors, mesh lines, a skyline, the horizon line, and the Milky Way; and to label constellations, stars, planets, deep sky objects, and so on.

Planet Plots: Planet plotting is done in two- and three-dimensional forms. Surface features for the Earth, the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter are shown on the plots. Moons and their shadows are displayed for the Earth and Jupiter. Related functions allow you to produce planet position finder charts and planet rise/set timing charts.

Eclipses: Several functions are provided for dealing with eclipses. These functions provide information about both solar and lunar eclipses, and are general enough to handle Galilean moon eclipses, occultation of stars by the Moon, and transits of Mercury or Venus across the solar disk. You can produce umbra and penumbra track plots and perform eclipse prediction.

Satellite Tracking: Satellite tracking is another feature of Scientific Astronomer. You can create track plots, make visibility predictions, and project satellite tracks onto star charts.

Miscellaneous: Miscellaneous other features are available, such as producing planisphere plates, planet charts, and solar system plots. In addition, sunrise, moonrise, and full moon functions are provided, as well as functions for adding new objects, such as comets and satellites.

Scientific Astronomer is Mathematica 3.0 compatible. It has palettes and buttons and is fully integrated into the Help Browser system.

Terry Robb, March 1997.

Feature Labeling on the Moon

Plot of a full moon with features labeled.

Star Chart of Ophiuchus

Star chart showing various constellations in the direction of Ophiuchus. Scorpius is visible on the bottom right. The blue line near the bottom is the ecliptic, which is the fixed path of the Sun through the sky. The planets and Moon all roughly move along that line as well.

Mercury Finder Chart

Chart showing rising and setting times of Mercury during 1994 for an observer 35 degrees south of the equator. Green areas (or the darker shade of gray) show when Mercury is visible above the horizon.

Chart showing rising and setting times of Comet Hale-Bopp during 1997 for an observer 40 degrees north of the equator. Green areas show when Hale-Bopp is visible.

Milky Way and Nebulae

Star chart showing the Milky Way in the region of Scorpius and Sagittarius. Four binocular-visible nebulae are indicated by the position of the yellow NGC numbers. Star spectral colors of stars, such as red for Antares, are also indicated.

Jupiter's Moons and Great Red Spot

Fragment of Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy impacting on Jupiter. Two Jovian moons and the Great Red Spot are visible. This graphic is part of a large animation.

Eight-Year Venus Finder Chart

Finder chart for Venus for years 1994 through 2001.

Retrograde Motion of Mars

Star chart track of Mars undergoing retrograde motion during 1992.

Plot of Earth

Plot of Earth as viewed from directly over Melbourne, Australia. The darker area represents night, which is the half of the globe not illuminated by the Sun.

Optional Labeling

Star chart of constellation Orion using double-size labeling.

Overhead Sky

Star chart showing entire overhead sky as seen from latitude 38 degree south at 03:20 on November 17. The Milky Way is the dark blue band across the sky.

Lunar Eclipse Chart

Chart showing circumstances of a total lunar eclipse.

Solar Eclipse Chart

Chart showing circumstances of the total solar eclipse of 1948 November 1. The black line is the line of totality and the gray region is where a partial eclipse was visible.

Plot of the eclipse as it moves off the eastern edge of Africa. The shaded region on the left side of the Earth is night.

Compass Direction Star Chart

Star chart showing the southern aspect of the sky. Our Milky Way galaxy is the vertical blue band slightly to the left. The chart below shows the northern aspect.

Motion of Asteroid Vesta

Plot showing orbital track of asteroid Vesta during opposition in 1996. Blue numbers are months of that year; Vesta reaches its brightest at month 5 (May).

Solar Eclipse of 1998

Chart showing circumstances of the total solar eclipse of 1998 February 26. The black line is the line of totality, which passes directly through Panama but otherwise is visible only over the ocean. The gray region is where a partial solar eclipse is visible.

Chart showing eclipse shadow at a particular instant. The dark region covering most of the right of the graphic represents the night side of the Earth. The small black dot at the top of South America is the point of total eclipse at the given instant.

Comet Hale-Bopp Location

Star chart track of Comet Hale-Bopp (shown in red) during closest approach in March/April 1997. The track of the Sun (in orange) is also shown. Blue lines represent the direction of the comet tail.

Big Dipper with Greek Labels

Star chart of Ursa Major, also known as "The Big Dipper" or "The Plough".

Annual Meteor Showers

Chart showing main annual meteor showers visible from the Northern Hemisphere. The yellow disks indicate viewing direction, with date and best viewing hour given inside.

Mercator Projection of Sky

Star chart showing entire celestial sphere in Mercator projection. The light blue shaded area is our own Milky Way galaxy with the galactic plane shown in red.

Star chart showing positions of many galaxies. Most galaxies lie in a plane (the plane of the local supercluster of galaxies). Note the Virgo Galaxy Cluster near the center of the graphic. The circles on the lower right are the Large and Small Magellanic Cloud Galaxies. The small circle to the top right is the Andromeda Galaxy.

Astrological Aspect Chart

Astrological aspect chart for the main planets on a given date and location. The symbols on the diagonal are, from top-left to bottom-right: the ascendant, the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

Solar System Plot

Solar system plot showing positions of planets out to Saturn. The Earth is in the center with the Sun shown in yellow and Mercury very close to it.

Mars as Seen from Earth

Plot of Mars as seen from Earth on a given date. The green cross on the far right is the position of zero Martian longitude and latitude.

Orbit Plot of Outer Planets

Plot showing orbits of the outer planets. Pluto's orbit is the outermost inclined ellipse, which can pass inside Neptune's orbit.

Mir Space Station Flyover

Track of Mir Space Station flying overhead. It takes about 10 minutes for Mir to pass from the southwest horizon over the zenith and down into the northeast horizon.

Deep Sky Objects

Finder chart for various interesting deep sky objects (such as nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies) in the direction of Orion.

Space Shuttle Orbit

Four orbits of a Space Shuttle mission. The light red areas indicate the locations on Earth, where the Space Shuttle will be visible to the naked eye just after dusk as it moves overhead. Similarly, the light blue area indicates visibility just before dawn.

Chart zoomed into area around Australia showing the track of the Space Shuttle. The shading on the right is the approaching night.

Astrological Birth Chart

Birth chart for Charles Dickens, born at midnight on 1812 February 7 in England.

Comet Hale-Bopp 1996-1998

Star chart showing position of Comet Hale-Bopp from April 1996 through April 1998. The blue numbers represent months from the beginning of 1996. Orange numbers are the corresponding positions of the Sun.

Part of a stereographic animation showing the motion of the Comet Hale-Bopp and Earth relative to the Sun at the center.

Motion of Mir Space Station

Star chart showing track of Mir Space Station setting into the northeast horizon. Red numbers represent minutes, and the blue X is where Mir will disappear when it moves into the Earth's shadow.

Orbit track showing the motion of Mir as it passes over Melbourne, Australia.

Stereographic Pairs

Stereographic pair showing orbital planes of the GPS (Global Positioning System) satellite network. Converge your eyes to view in full 3D. The red, green, and blue orbits are mutually orthogonal to each other, as are the cyan, magenta, and yellow orbits.

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Stereographic pair showing the local supercluster of galaxies. Our Local Group of galaxies is the small blue object in the center of the graphic. Just next to it is the Virgo Galaxy Cluster shown in green. Beyond that is the Coma Galaxy Cluster in red, and the Pisces Galaxy Cluster in yellow. The large Centaurus Galaxy Cluster is shown in purple. The box is one billion light years across.

Planet Wall Chart

Wall chart showing positions of major planets throughout 1994.

Main FeaturesAnimations