Ephemeris: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The title page of an ephemeris from 1790.

An ephemeris (plural: ephemerides; from the Greek word ἐφήμερος ephemeros "daily") is a table of values that gives the positions of astronomical objects in the sky at a given time or times. Different kinds are used for astronomy and astrology. Even though this was also one of the first applications of mechanical computers, an ephemeris will still often be a simple printed table.

The position is given to astronomers in a spherical polar coordinate system of right ascension and declination or to astrologer in longitude along the zodiacal ecliptic, and sometimes declination. Astrological positions may be given for either noon or midnight.

An astronomical ephemeris may also provide data on astronomical phenomena of interest to astrologers and astronomers such as eclipses, apparent retrogradation/planetary stations, planetary ingresses, sidereal time, positions for the Mean and True nodes of the moon, the phases of the Moon, and sometimes even the position(s) of Chiron, and other minor celestial bodies. Astrologers also use other ephemerides that include tables of imaginary celestial bodies,[citation needed] such as Lilith, a term they use variously for the apogee of the Moon or the second focus of the Moon's orbit.[1] Some ephemerides also contain a monthly aspectarian, while others often include the declination of the planets as well as their longitudes, right ascensions or Cartesian coordinates.[citation needed]

Contents

History

Scientific ephemeris

For scientific uses, a modern planetary ephemeris comprises software that generates positions of the planets and often of their satellites, or of asteroids or comets at virtually any time desired by the user. Often there is an option to find the velocities of the bodies of interest, as well.

Typically, such ephemerides cover several centuries, past and future; the future ones can be covered because celestial mechanics is an accurate theory. Nevertheless, there are secular phenomena, factors that cannot adequately be considered by ephemerides. The biggest uncertainties on planetary positions are due to the perturbations of numerous asteroids, most of whose masses are poorly known, rendering their effect uncertain. Therefore, despite efforts to overcome these uncertainties, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has to revise its published ephemerides at intervals of 20 years.

Solar system ephemerides are essential for the navigation of spacecraft and for all kinds of space observations of the planets, their natural satellites, stars and galaxies.

Scientific ephemerides for sky observers mostly contain the position of the mentioned celestial body in right ascension and declination, because these coordinates are the most often used on star maps and telescopes. The equinox of the coordinate system must be given. It is in nearly all cases either the actual equinox (the equinox valid for that moment, often referred to as "of date" or "current"), or that of the one of the "standard" equinoxes, typically J2000.0, B1950.0, or J1900. Star maps are almost always in one of the standard equinoxes.

Scientific ephemerides often contain further useful data about the moon, planet, asteroid, or comet beyond the pure coordinates in the sky, such as elongation to the sun, brightness, distance, velocity, apparent diameter in the sky, phase angle, times of rise, transit, and set, etc. Ephemerides of the planet Saturn also sometimes contain the apparent inclination of its ring.

An ephemeris is usually only correct for a particular location on the Earth. In many cases the differences are too small to matter, but for nearby asteroids or the Moon they can be quite important.

Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation satellites transmit electronic ephemeris data consisting of health and exact location data that GPS receivers then use (together with the signal's elapsed travel time to the receiver) to calculate their own location on Earth using trilateration.

Other modern ephemerides recently created are the EPM due to the Russian Institute for Applied Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the INPOP ones by the French IMCCE.

Astrological ephemeris

The majority of astrologers study tropical astrology, involving planetary positions referenced to the vernal (spring) equinox position along the ecliptic (the equinox being the nexus of Earth's rotational plane and Earth's orbital plane around the Sun). They use exactly the same referential frame of the astronomers, except for astrologers who study sidereal astrology (Indian Astrology) and use a different ephemerids, based on the constellations.

Though astrology is and always has been geocentric, heliocentric astrology is an emerging field; for this purpose a standard ephemeris cannot be utilized, and because of this specialized heliocentric ephemerides must be calculated and used instead of the default geocentric ephemerides that are used in standard Western astrology to construct the astrological chart/natal chart.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Paul Schlyter. 2008. Hypothetische Planeten retrieved 7 July 2008

References

  • Duffett-Smith, Peter (1990). Astronomy With Your Personal Computer. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-38995-X. 
  • MacCraig, Hugh (1949). The 200 Year Ephemeris. Macoy Publishing Company. 
  • Meeus, Jean (1991). Astronomical Algorithms. Willmann-Bell. ISBN 0-943396-35-2. 
  • Michelsen, Neil F. (1990). Tables of Planetary Phenomena. ACS Publications, Inc.. ISBN 0-935127-08-9. 
  • Michelsen, Neil F. (1982). The American Ephemeris for the 21st Century - 2001 to 2100 at Midnight. Astro Computing Services. ISBN 0-917086-50-3. 
  • Montenbruck, Oliver (1989). Practical Ephemeris Calculations. Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0-387-50704-3. 
  • Seidelmann, Kenneth (2006). Explanatory supplement to the astronomical almanac. University Science Books. ISBN 1-891389-45-9. 

External links

Astrology links

Advertisements

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

EPHEMERIS (Greek for a "diary"), a table giving for stated times the apparent position and other numerical particulars relating to a heavenly body. The Astronomical Ephemeris, familiarly known as the "Nautical Almanac," is a national annual publication containing ephemerides of the principal or more conspicuous heavenly bodies, elements and other data of eclipses, and other matter useful to the astronomer and navigator. The governments of the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany and Spain publish such annals.


<< Ephebi

Epistle to the Ephesians >>


Simple English

An ephemeris is a table giving the predicted positions of a object in space, like another planet, comet, or asteroid.


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message