NAME

Astro::Coord::ECI - Manipulate geocentric coordinates

SYNOPSIS

 my $loc = Astro::Coord::ECI->geodetic ($lat, $lon, $elev);
 my $sun = Astro::Coord::ECI::Sun->new ()->universal (time ());
 my ($azimuth, $elevation, $range) = $loc->azel ($sun);

DESCRIPTION

This module was written to provide a base class for a system to predict satellite visibility. Its main task is to convert the Earth-Centered Inertial (ECI) coordinates generated by the NORAD models into other coordinate systems (e.g. latitude, longitude, and altitude above mean sea level), but a other functions have accreted to it. In addition, a few support routines have been exposed for testing, or whatever.

All distances are in kilometers, and all angles are in radians (including right ascension, which is usually measured in hours).

Times are normal Perl times except for the Julian Day routines, which convert Perl time into things like Julian Day or days since Julian 2000.0 (i.e. the aforementioned support routines), and for a few support routines which take or return dynamical times. Time is specified and returned in universal time unless the documentation of the method explicitly states otherwise. In practice, universal time is approximated by normal Perl time.

Known subclasses include Astro::Coord::ECI::Moon to predict the position of the Moon, Astro::Coord::ECI::Star to predict the position of a star, or anything else that can be considered fixed on the celestial sphere, Astro::Coord::ECI::Sun to predict the position of the Sun, and Astro::Coord::ECI::TLE to predict the position of a satellite given the NORAD orbital parameters.

Caveat user: This class and its subclasses should probably be considered alpha code, meaning that the public interface may not be completely stable. I will try not to change it, but given sufficient reason I will do so. If I do so, I will draw attention to the change in the documentation.

Methods

The following methods should be considered public.

$coord = Astro::Coord::ECI->new ();

This method instantiates a coordinate object. Any arguments are passed to the set() method once the object has been instantiated.

$angle = $coord->angle ($coord2, $coord3);

This method calculates the angle between the $coord2 and $coord3 objects, as seen from $coord. The calculation uses the law of cosines, and does not take atmospheric refraction into account. The return is a number of radians between 0 and pi.

($azimuth, $elevation, $range) = $coord->azel ($coord2, $upper);

This method takes another coordinate object, and computes its azimuth, elevation, and range in reference to the object doing the computing. The return is azimuth in radians measured clockwise from North (always positive), elevation above the horizon in radians (negative if below), and range in kilometers.

If the optional 'upper' argument is true, the calculation will be of the upper limb of the object, using the 'angularradius' attribute of the $coord2 object.

If the refraction attribute of the $coord object is true, the elevation will be corrected for atmospheric refraction using the correct_for_refraction() method.

The basic algorithm comes from T. S. Kelso's "Computers and Satellites" column in "Satellite Times", November/December 1995, titled "Orbital Coordinate Systems, Part II" and available at http://celestrak.com/columns/v02n02/.

$coord2 = $coord->clone ();

This method does a deep clone of an object, producing a different but identical object.

It's really just a wrapper for Storable::dclone.

$elevation = $coord->correct_for_refraction ($elevation);

This method corrects the given angular elevation for atmospheric refraction. This is done only if the corrected elevation would be non-negative. Sorry for the discontinuity thus introduced, but I did not have a corresponding algorithm for refraction through magma.

This method can also be called as a class method. It is really only exposed for testing purposes (hence the cumbersome name). The azel() method calls it for you if the refraction attribute is true.

The algorithm for atmospheric refraction comes from Thorfinn Saemundsson's article in "Sky and Telescope", volume 72, page 70 (July 1986) as reported Jean Meeus' "Astronomical Algorithms", 2nd Edition, chapter 16, page 106, and includes the adjustment suggested by Meeus.

$angle = $coord->dip ();

This method calculates the dip angle of the horizon due to the altitude of the body, in radians. It will be negative for a location above the surface of the reference ellipsoid, and positive for a location below the surface.

The algorithm is simple enough to be the author's.

$coord = $coord->dynamical ($time);

This method sets the dynamical time represented by the object.

This method can also be called as a class method, in which case it instantiates the desired object.

The algorithm for converting this to universal time comes from Jean Meeus' "Astronomical Algorithms", 2nd Edition, Chapter 10, pages 78ff.

$time = $coord->dynamical ();

This method returns the dynamical time previously set, or the universal time previously set, converted to dynamical. The algorithm

The algorithm comes from Jean Meeus' "Astronomical Algorithms", 2nd Edition, Chapter 10, pages 78ff.

$coord = $coord->ecef($x, $y, $z, $xdot, $ydot, $zdot)

This method sets the coordinates represented by the object in terms of "Earth-Centered, Earth-fixed (ECEF) coordinates", with x being latitude 0 longitude 0, y being latitude 0 longitude 90 degrees east, and z being latitude 90 degrees north. The velocities are optional, and will default to the rotational velocity at the point being set. The object itself is returned.

This method can also be called as a class method, in which case it instantiates the desired object.

($x, $y, $z, $xdot, $ydot, $zdot) = $coord->ecef();

This method returns the object's "Earth-Centered, Earth-fixed (ECEF) coordinates".

Caveat: Velocities are also returned, but should not at this point be taken seriously unless they were originally set by the same method that is returning them, since I have not at this point got the velocity transforms worked out.

$coord = $coord->eci ($x, $y, $z, $xdot, $ydot, $zdot, $time)

This method sets the coordinates represented by the object in terms of "Earth-Centered Inertial (ECI) coordinates", time being universal time, x being 0 "Right Ascension" 0 "Declination", y being 6 hours "Right Ascension" 0 "Declination", and z being 90 degrees north "Declination". The velocities are optional, and will default to zero.

The time argument is optional if the time represented by the object has already been set (e.g. by the universal() or dynamical() methods).

The object itself is returned.

This method can also be called as a class method, in which case it instantiates the desired object. In this case the time is not optional.

The algorithm for converting from ECI to geocentric coordinates and back is based on the description of ECI coordinates in T. S. Kelso's "Computers and Satellites" column in "Satellite Times", September/October 1995, titled "Orbital Coordinate Systems, Part I" and available at http://celestrak.com/columns/v02n01/.

($x, $y, $z, $xdot, $ydot, $zdot) = $coord->eci($time);

This method returns the "Earth-Centered Inertial (ECI) coordinates" of the object at the given time. The time argument is actually optional if the time represented by the object has already been set.

If you specify a time, the time represented by the object will be set to that time. The net effect of specifying a time is equivalent to

 ($x, $y, $z, $xdot, $ydot, $zdot) = $coord->universal($time)->eci()

Caveat: Velocities are also returned, but should not at this point be taken seriously unless they were originally set by the same method that is returning them, since I have not at this point got the velocity transforms worked out.

$coord = $coord->ecliptic ($latitude, $longitude, $range, $time);

This method sets the "Ecliptic" coordinates represented by the object in terms of "Ecliptic latitude" and "Ecliptic longitude" in radians, and the range to the object in kilometers, time being universal time. The object itself is returned.

The time argument is optional if the time represented by the object has already been set (e.g. by the universal() or dynamical() methods).

This method can also be called as a class method, in which case it instantiates the desired object. In this case the time is not optional.

The algorithm for converting from ecliptic latitude and longitude to right ascension and declination comes from Jean Meeus' "Astronomical Algorithms", 2nd Edition, Chapter 13, page 93.

($latitude, $longitude, $range) = $coord->ecliptic ($time);

This method returns the ecliptic latitude and longitude of the object at the given time. The time is optional if the time represented by the object has already been set (e.g. by the universal() or dynamical() methods).

$coord->equatorial ($rightasc, $declin, $range, $time);

This method sets the "Equatorial" coordinates represented by the object in terms of "Right Ascension" and "Declination" in radians, and the range to the object in kilometers, time being universal time. The object itself is returned.

The time argument is optional if the time represented by the object has already been set (e.g. by the universal() or dynamical() methods).

This method can also be called as a class method, in which case it instantiates the desired object. In this case the time is not optional.

($rightasc, $declin, $range) = $coord->equatorial ($time);

This method returns the equatorial coordinates of the object at the given time. The time argument is optional if the time represented by the object has already been set (e.g. by the universal() or dynamical() methods).

$coord = $coord->geocentric($psiprime, $lamda, $rho);

This method sets the "Geocentric" coordinates represented by the object in terms of "Geocentric latitude" psiprime and "Longitude" lamda in radians, and distance from the center of the Earth rho in kilometers.

This method can also be called as a class method, in which case it instantiates the desired object.

This method should not be used with map coordinates because map latitude is "Geodetic latitude", measured in terms of the tangent of the reference ellipsoid, whereas geocentric coordinates are, essentially, spherical coordinates.

The algorithm for conversion between geocentric and ECEF is the author's.

($psiprime, $lamda, $rho) = $coord->geocentric();

This method returns the "Geocentric latitude", "Longitude", and distance to the center of the Earth.

$coord = $coord->geodetic($psi, $lamda, $h, $ellipsoid);

This method sets the "Geodetic" coordinates represented by the object in terms of its "Geodetic latitude" psi and "Longitude" lamda in radians, and its height h above mean sea level in kilometers.

The ellipsoid argument is the name of a "Reference Ellipsoid" known to the class, and is optional. If passed, it will set the ellipsoid to be used for calculations with this object. If not passed, the default ellipsoid is used.

This method can also be called as a class method, in which case it instantiates the desired object.

The conversion from geodetic to geocentric comes from Jean Meeus' "Astronomical Algorithms", 2nd Edition, Chapter 11, page 82.

This is the method that should be used with map coordinates.

($psi, $lamda, $h) = $coord->geodetic($ellipsoid);

This method returns the geodetic latitude, longitude, and height above mean sea level.

The ellipsoid argument is the name of a "Reference ellipsoid" known to the class, and is optional. If not specified, the most-recently-set ellipsoid will be used.

The conversion from geocentric to geodetic comes from Kazimierz Borkowski's "Accurate Algorithms to Transform Geocentric to Geodetic Coordinates", at http://www.astro.uni.torun.pl/~kb/Papers/geod/Geod-BG.htm. This is best viewed with Internet Explorer because of its use of Microsoft's Symbol font.

$value = $coord->get ($attrib);

This method returns the named attributes of the object. If called in list context, you can give more than one attribute name, and it will return all their values.

If called as a class method, it returns the current default values.

See "Attributes" for a list of the attributes you can get.

$coord = $coord->local_mean_time ($time);

This method sets the local mean time of the object. This is not local standard time, but the universal time plus the longitude of the object expressed in seconds. Another definition is mean solar time plus 12 hours (since the solar day begins at noon). You will get an exception of some sort if the position of the object has not been set.

$time = $coord->local_mean_time ()

This method returns the civil time of the object. It will raise an exception if the time has not been set.

$value = $coord->mean_angular_velocity();

This method returns the mean angular velocity of the body in radians per second. If the $coord object has a period() method, this method just returns two pi divided by the period. Otherwise it returns the contents of the angularvelocity attribute.

($time, $rise) = $coord->next_elevation ($body, $elev, $upper)

This method calculates the next time the given body passes above or below the given elevation (in radians). The $elev argument may be omitted (or passed as undef), and will default to 0. If the $upper argument is true, the calculation will be based on the upper limb of the body (as determined from its angulardiameter attribute); if false, the calculation will be based on the center of the body. The $upper argument defaults to true if the $elev argument is zero or positive, and false if the $elev argument is negative.

The algorithm is successive approximation, and assumes that the body will be at its highest at meridian passage. It also assumes that if the body hasn't passed the given elevation in 183 days it never will. In this case it returns undef in scalar context, or an empty list in list context.

($time, $above) = $coord->next_meridian ($body, $want)

This method calculates the next meridian passage of the given body over (or under) the location specified by the $coord object. The $body object must be a subclass of Astro::Coord::ECI.

The optional $want argument should be specified as true (i.e. 1) if you want the next passage above the observer, or as false (i.e. 0) if you want the next passage below the observer. If this argument is omitted or undefined, you get whichever passage is next.

The start time of the search is the current time setting of the $coord object.

The returns are the time of the meridian passage, and an indicator which is true if the passage is above the observer (i.e. local noon if the $body represents the sun), or false if below (i.e. local midnight if the $body represents the sun). If called in scalar context, you get the time only.

The current time of both $coord and $body object are left at the returned time.

The algorithm is by successive approximation. It will croak if the period of the $body is close to synchronous, and will probably not work well for bodies in highly eccentric orbits. The calculation is to the nearest second, and the time returned is the first even second after the body crosses the meridian.

$coord = $coord->precess ($time);

This method precesses the equatorial coordinates of the object to the given universal time. The starting time is assumed to be the time setting of the object when the call is made. The equatorial coordinates of the object are set to the results of the calculation, and the universal time of the object is set to the value of the $time argument. The object itself is returned.

NOTE that side effects of setting the time (i.e. in subclasses which define the time_set() method) will take place as a result of calling this method.

The algorithm comes from Jean Meeus' "Astronomical Algorithms", 2nd Edition, Chapter 21, pages 134ff (a.k.a. "the rigorous method").

Astro::Coord::ECI->reference_ellipsoid($semi, $flat, $name);

This class method can be used to define or redefine reference ellipsoids.

Nothing bad will happen if you call this as an object method, but it still just creates a reference ellipsoid definition -- the object is unaffected.

It is not an error to redefine an existing ellipsoid.

($semi, $flat, $name) = Astro::Coord::ECI->reference_ellipsoid($name)

This class method returns the definition of the named reference ellipsoid. It croaks if there is no such ellipsoid.

You can also call this as an object method, but the functionality is the same.

The following reference ellipsoids are known to the class initially:

 CLARKE-1866 - 1866.
   semimajor => 6378.2064 km, flattening => 1/294.98.
   Source: http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/datum/elist.html

 GRS67 - Geodetic Reference System 1967.
   semimajor => 6378.160 km, flattening => 1/298.247.
   Source: http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/datum/elist.html

 GRS80 - Geodetic Reference System 1980.
   semimajor => 6378.137 km, flattening => 1/298.25722210088
     (flattening per U.S. Department of Commerce 1989).
   Source: http://biology.usgs.gov/fgdc.metadata/version2/spref/horiz/geodet/faq.htm

 IAU68 - International Astronomical Union, 1968.
   semimajor => 6378.160 km, flattening => 1/298.25.
   Source: http://maic.jmu.edu/sic/standards/ellipsoid.htm

 IAU76 - International Astronomical Union, 1976.
   semimajor => 6378.14 km, flattening => 1 / 298.257.
   Source: Jean Meeus' "Astronomical Algorithms", 2nd Edition

 NAD83 - North American Datum, 1983.
    semimajor => 6378.137 km, flattening => 1/298.257.
    Source:  http://biology.usgs.gov/fgdc.metadata/version2/spref/horiz/geodet/faq.htm
    (NAD83 uses the GRS80 ellipsoid)

 sphere - Just in case you were wondering how much difference it
   makes (a max of 11 minutes 32.73 seconds of arc, per Jean
   Meeus).
   semimajor => 6378.137 km (from GRS80), flattening => 0.

 WGS72 - World Geodetic System 1972.
   semimajor => 6378.135 km, flattening=> 1/298.26.
   Source: http://biology.usgs.gov/fgdc.metadata/version2/spref/horiz/geodet/faq.htm

 WGS84 - World Geodetic System 1984.
   semimajor => 6378.137 km, flattening => 1/1/298.257223563.
   Source: http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/datum/elist.html

Reference ellipsoid names are case-sensitive.

The default model is WGS84.

$coord->set (name => value ...);

This method sets various attributes of the object. If called as a class method, it changes the defaults.

For reasons that seemed good at the time, this method returns the object it was called on (i.e. $coord in the above example).

See "Attributes" for a list of the attributes you can set.

$coord->universal ($time)

This method sets the time represented by the object, in universal time (a.k.a. CUT, a.k.a. Zulu, a.k.a. Greenwich).

This method can also be called as a class method, in which case it instantiates the desired object.

$time = $coord->universal ();

This method returns the universal time previously set.

Attributes

This class has the following attributes:

angularvelocity (radians per second)

This attribute represents the angular velocity of the Earth' surface in radians per second. The initial value is 7.292114992e-5, which according to Jean Meeus is the value for 1996.5. He cites the International Earth Rotation Service's Annual Report for 1996 (Published at the Observatoire de Paris, 1997).

Subclasses may place appropriate values here, or provide a period() method.

debug (numeric)

This attribute turns on debugging output. The only supported value of this attribute is 0. That is to say, the author makes no guarantees of what will happen if you set it to some other value, nor does he guarantee that this behaviour will not change from release to release.

The default is 0.

diameter (numeric, kilometers)

This attribute exists to support classes/instances which represent astronomical bodies. It represents the diameter of the body, and is used by the azel() method when computing the upper limb of the body. It has nothing to do with the semimajor attribute, which always refers to the Earth, and is used to calculate the latitude and longitude of the body.

The default is 0.

ellipsoid (string)

This attribute represents the name of the reference ellipsoid to use. It must be set to one of the known ellipsoids. If you set this, flattening and semimajor will be set also. See the documentation to the known_ellipsoid() method for the initially-valid names, and how to add more.

The default is 'WGS84'.

flattening (numeric)

This attribute represents the flattening factor of the reference ellipsoid. If you set the ellipsoid attribute, this attribute will be set to the flattening factor for the named ellipsoid. If you set this attribute, the ellipsoid attribute will become undefined.

The default is appropriate to the default ellipsoid.

id (string)

This is an informational attribute, and its setting (or lack thereof) does not affect the functioning of the class. Certain subclasses will set this when they are instantiated. See the subclass documentation for details.

name (string)

This is an informational attribute, and its setting (or lack thereof) does not affect the functioning of the class. Certain subclasses will set this when they are instantiated. See the subclass documentation for details.

refraction (boolean)

Setting this attribute to a true value includes refraction in the calculation of the azel() method. If set to a false value, atmospheric refraction is ignored.

The default is true (well, 1 actually).

semimajor (numeric, kilometers)

This attribute represents the semimajor axis of the reference ellipsoid. If you set the ellipsoid attribute, this attribute will be set to the semimajor axis for the named ellipsoid. If you set this attribute, the ellipsoid attribute will become undefined.

For subclasses representing bodies other than the Earth, this attribute will be set appropriately.

The default is appropriate to the default ellipsoid.

twilight (numeric, radians)

This attribute represents the elevation of the center of the Sun's disk at the beginning and end of twilight. It should probably be an attribute of the Sun subclass, since it is only used by the almanac () method of that subclass, but it's here so you can blindly set it when computing almanac data.

Some of the usual values are:

 civil twilight: -6 degrees
 nautical twilight: -12 degrees
 astronomical twilight: -18 degrees

The default is -6 degrees (or, actually, the equivalent in radians).

TERMINOLOGY AND CONVENTIONS

Partly because this module straddles the divide between geography and astronomy, the establishment of terminology and conventions was a thorny and in the end somewhat arbitrary process. Because of this, documentation of salient terms and conventions seemed to be in order.

Altitude

This term refers to the distance of a location above mean sea level.

Altitude input to and output from this module is in kilometers.

Maps use "elevation" for this quantity, and measure it in meters. But we're using "Elevation" for something different, and I needed consistent units.

Azimuth

This term refers to distance around the horizon measured clockwise from North.

Azimuth output from this module is in radians.

Astronomical sources tend to measure from the South, but I chose the geodetic standard, which seems to be usual in satellite tracking software.

Declination

Declination is the angle a point makes with the plane of the equator projected onto the sky. North declination is positive, south declination is negative.

Declination input to and output from this module is in radians.

Earth-Centered, Earth-fixed (ECEF) coordinates

This is a Cartesian coodinate system whose origin is the center of the reference ellipsoid. The X axis passes through 0 degrees "Latitude" and 0 degrees "Longitude". The Y axis passes through 90 degrees east "Latitude" and 0 degrees "Longitude", and the Z axis passes through 90 degrees north "Latitude" (a.k.a the North Pole).

All three axes are input to and output from this module in kilometers.

Also known as "XYZ coordinates", e.g. at http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/xyz_getxyz.prl

Earth-Centered Inertial (ECI) coordinates

This is the Cartesian coordinate system in which NORAD's models predict the position of orbiting bodies. The X axis passes through 0 hours "Right Ascension" and 0 degrees "Declination". The Y axis passes through 6 hours "Right Ascension" and 0 degrees "Declination". The Z axis passes through +90 degrees "Declination" (a.k.a. the North Pole).

All three axes are input to and output from this module in kilometers.

Ecliptic

The Ecliptic is the plane of the Earth's orbit, projected onto the sky. Ecliptic coordinates are a spherical coordinate system referred to the ecliptic and expressed in terms of "Ecliptic latitude" and "Ecliptic longitude".

Ecliptic latitude

Ecliptic longitude is the angular distance of a point above the plane of the Earth's orbit.

Ecliptic latitude is input to and output from this module in radians.

Ecliptic longitude

Ecliptic longitude is the angular distance of a point east of the point where the plane of the Earth's orbit intersects the plane of the equator. This point is also known as the vernal equinox and the first point of Ares.

Ecliptic longitude is input to and output from this module in radians.

Elevation

This term refers to an angular distance above the horizon.

Elevation output from this module is in radians.

This is the prevailing meaning of the term in satellite tracking. Astronomers use "altitude" for this quantity, and call the corresponding coordinate system "altazimuth." But we're using "Altitude" for something different.

Equatorial

Equatorial coordinates are a spherical coordinate system referred to the plane of the equator projected onto the sky. Equatorial coordinates are specified in "Right Ascension" and "Declination".

Geocentric

When referring to a coordinate system, this term means that the coordinate system assumes the Earth is spherical.

Geocentric latitude

Geocentric latitude is the angle that the ray from the center of the Earth to the location makes with the plane of the equator. North latitude is positive, south latitude is negative.

Geocentric latitude is input to and output from this module in radians.

Geodetic

When referring to a coordinate system, this term means that the coordinate system assumes the Earth is an ellipsoid of revolution (or an oblate spheroid if you prefer). A number of standard "Reference Ellipsoids" have been adopted over the years.

Geodetic latitude

Geodetic latitude is the latitude found on maps. North latitude is positive, south latitude is negative.

Geodetic latitude is input to and output from this module in radians.

Technically speaking, Geodetic latitude is the complement of the angle the plane of the horizon makes with the plane of the equator. In this software, the plane of the horizon is determined from a "Reference Ellipsoid".

Latitude

See either "Ecliptic latitude", "Geocentric latitude" or "Geodetic latitude". When used without qualification, "Geodetic latitude" is meant.

Longitude

When unqualified, this term refers to the angular distance East or West of the standard meridian. East longitude is positive, West longitude is negative.

Longitude is input to or output from this module in radians.

For "Ecliptic longitude", see that entry.

Jean Meeus reports in "Astronomical Algorithms" that the International Astronomical Union has waffled on the sign convention. I have taken the geographic convention.

Obliquity (of the Ecliptic)

This term refers to the angle the plane of the equator makes with the plane of the Earth's orbit.

Obliquity is output from this module in radians.

Reference Ellipsoid

This term refers to a specific ellipsoid adopted as a model of the shape of the Earth. It is defined in terms of the equatorial radius in kilometers, and a dimensionless flattening factor which is used to derive the polar radius, and defined such that the flattening factor of a sphere is zero.

See the documentation on the reference_ellipsoid() method for a list of reference ellipsoids known to this class.

Right Ascension

This term refers to the angular distance of a point east of the intersection of the plane of the Earth's orbit with the plane of the equator.

Right Ascension is input to and output from this module in radians.

In astronomical literature it is usual to report right ascension in hours, minutes, and seconds, with 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a circle.

XYZ coordinates

See "Earth-Centered, Earth-fixed (ECEF) coordinates".

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The author wishes to acknowledge the following individuals and organizations.

Kazimierz Borkowski, whose "Accurate Algorithms to Transform Geocentric to Geodetic Coordinates", at http://www.astro.uni.torun.pl/~kb/Papers/geod/Geod-BG.htm, was used for transforming geocentric to geodetic coordinates.

Dominik Brodowski (http://www.brodo.de/), whose SGP C-lib (available at http://www.brodo.de/space/sgp/) provided a reference implementation that I could easily run, and pick apart to help get Astro::Coord::ECI::TLE working. Dominik based his work on Dr. Kelso's Pascal implementation.

Felix R. Hoots and Ronald L. Roehric, the authors of "SPACETRACK REPORT NO. 3 - Models for Propagation of NORAD Element Sets," which provided the basis for the Astro::Coord::ECI::TLE module.

T. S. Kelso, who compiled this report and made it available at http://celestrak.com/, whose "Computers and Satellites" columns in "Satellite Times" magazine were invaluable to an understanding and implementation of satellite tracking software, whose support, encouragement, patience, and willingness to provide answers on arcane topics were a Godsend, who kindly granted permission to use his azimuth/elevation algorithm, and whose Pascal implementation of the NORAD tracking algorithms indirectly provided a reference implementation for me to use during development.

Jean Meeus, whose book "Astronomical Algorithms" (second edition) formed the basis for this module and the Astro::Coord::ECI::Sun, Astro::Coord::ECI::Moon, and Astro::Coord::ECI::Star modules, and without whom it is impossible to get far in computational astronomy. Any algorithm not explicitly credited above is probably due to him.

Dr. Meeus' publisher, Willmann-Bell Inc (http://www.willbell.com/), which kindly and patiently answered my intellectual-property questions.

BUGS

Functionality involving velocities is untested, and is quite likely to be wrong.

Bugs can be reported to the author by mail, or through http://rt.cpan.org/.

SEE ALSO

The Astro package by Chris Phillips. This contains three function-based modules: Astro::Coord, which provides various astronomical coordinate conversions, plus the calculation of various ephemeris variables; Astro::Time contains time and unit conversions, and Astro::Misc contains various calculations unrelated to position and time.

The Astro-Coords package by Tim Jenness. This contains various modules to do astronomical calculations, and includes coordinate conversion and calculation of planetary orbits based on orbital elements. Requires SLALIB from http://www.starlink.rl.ac.uk/Software/software_store.htm.

AUTHOR

Thomas R. Wyant, III (wyant at cpan dot org)

COPYRIGHT

Copyright 2005, 2006 by Thomas R. Wyant, III (wyant at cpan dot org). All rights reserved.

This module is free software; you can use it, redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself. Please see http://perldoc.perl.org/index-licence.html for the current licenses.

This software is provided without any warranty of any kind, express or implied. The author will not be liable for any damages of any sort relating in any way to this software.