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    Re: Algorithms
    From: John Kabel
    Date: 1997 Mar 24, 08:52 EST

    There is this funny thing that happens whenever a debate starts on the
    Internet.  People start chopping at the roots of the sapling trees and forget
    about the forest.
    Jean Meeus has written a very clear book on algorithms for computing just about
    anything astronomical.  It is not the ultimate in precision, which is only to
    be found in the algorithms used by the United States Naval Observatory, Jet
    Propulsion Laboratory and the French organization, Bureau des Longitudes, I
    believe.   But it more than suffices for anything to do with celestial
    navigation.  The USNO and JPL algorithms would not work on "normal" computers
    (16 meg RAM, 1 gig Hard drives, 386-686 or so, or even Sun stations).  So we
    have to make do with the less accurate algorithms.  And then, Meeus is the
    standard.  He has admirably worked the VSOP theory into a suitably precise set
    of almanac-type calculations.  These ought to be the basis for navigation algo
    If we use Meeus' publication as a starting point, develop appropriate "clear
    language" algorithms for the navigation routines, as opposed to code, could we
    not have a very quick standard developed?  Then it would be up to each
    developer (in C or Forth or whatever) to document how their code adheres to the
    standard algorithm.  No proof, no dissemination.
    Comments are invited . . .
    John Kabel, AP
    London Power and Sail Squadron
    London, Ontario

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