Mathematica for Amateur Astronomers

Terry Robb
Wolfram Research, Inc.

Terry Robb

The calculating powers of Mathematica have been turned skyward with Scientific Astronomer, a unique software package that allows users to determine which constellations, planets, galaxies, and comets are visible from their location--pinpointing when and where to look for them. Extensive two- and three-dimensional graphic capabilities enable detailed charting of anything from regional star charts and planispheres to three-dimensional planetary views and eclipse track plots. The package determines optimal dates for the best naked-eye view of specific objects--including stars, low-orbit satellites, and asteroids. Scientific Astronomer covers four main areas of astronomy, including functions for star charting, planet plotting, eclipse predicting, and satellite tracking. There are, of course, a large number of other functions and features in the package. The talk gives an overview of the package and then focuses on a particular application.