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    Re: Planetarium Software
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2005 Apr 16, 01:51 EDT

    Alex E wrote:
    "How do you produce the almanac  entry?
    Did you download the almanac/ephemerides data (from a US gov  website?)
    or you compute them?"
    I don't think anyone has mentioned  Solex yet. It's a wonderful software
    project created by Italian chemist Aldo  Vitagliano who also happens to be a
    specialist in celestial mechanics (a  high-end hobbyist, rather like Jean Meeus).
    Solex does full-blown numerical  integrations of the Solar System and can
    produce highly accurate results  covering tens or hundreds of thousands of years.
    Also it's set up so that you  can easily export positional data in various
    coordinate systems and formats or  even output osculating orbital elements.
    Some of you may recall that  there was a little disagreement in early reports
    back in 2002/03 over how long  it had been since Mars was as close to the
    Earth as it would be in August 2003.  Jean Meeus using the usual analytical
    approach to ephemeris data had come up  with a date of more than 70,000 years ago.
    Later a figure closer to 59,000 years  was in the press. This revision was
    generated by Vitagliano's Solex, following a  request by Meeus. Here's a brief
    story that mentions the issue from the  space.com  archives:
    Go  here to download  Solex:
    It's  free.

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