Below are commands related to using the built-in object databases and orbits.


find

Syntax: find objectname

This command searches the built-in object databases for "objectname" and sets the RA and DEC variables accordingly. The built-in databases include bright stars (by name), the Yale Bright Star Catalog, Messier and SAC deep sky database (includes NGCs, many ICs, etc.), and the PGC galaxy catalog. The variable FINDERROR is set to "true" if the object is not found.

findneareststars

Syntax: findneareststars rank minmag maxmag maxdistance

This command searches the stellar database (Yale bright star catalog) to find stars near the position indicated by the variables RA and DEC that are greater than "minmag" and less than or equal to "maxmag" and no farther away than "maxdistance" angular degrees. If "rank" is 0, the variable STARCOUNT is set to the number of stars found, otherwise for the "rank'th" nearest star, the variables RA and DEC are set to its position and the variable SEPARATION is set to its angular distance. If there no "rank'th" star, the variable STARCOUNT is set to 0.

findbrighteststars

Syntax: findbrighteststars rank minmag maxmag maxdistance

This command searches the stellar database (Yale bright star catalog) to find stars near the position indicated by the variables RA and DEC that are greater than "minmag" and less than or equal to "maxmag" and no farther away than "maxdistance" angular degrees. If "rank" is 0, the variable STARCOUNT is set to the number of stars found, otherwise for the "rank'th" brightest star, the variables RA and DEC are set to its position and the variable SEPARATION is set to its angular distance. If there no "rank'th" star, the variable STARCOUNT is set to 0.

loadorbits

Syntax: loadorbits orbitfilename <append>

This command loads into memory the orbital elements for up to 25,000 comets and asteroids from the file "orbitfilename". This file is to be formatted in the orbit format used by The Earth Centered Universe planetarium software. If the optional parameter "append" is "true" then the currently loaded orbit database is retained and the new database is appended, otherwise the currently loaded database is deleted before loading the new orbits. The variable ORBITERROR is set accordingly.

findorbit

Syntax: findorbit orbitname

This command searches the currently loaded orbits (comets and asteroids – see loadorbits command) for "orbitname" and if found the variables RA and DEC are set to its current position, the variable "ORBITMAG" is set to its magnitude, the variable "ORBITNAME" is set to its full name, and the variable ORBITNUMBER is set to the orbit number used by the orbitradec command. Spacing and case does not matter. In addition, their fullnames can be shorted such that, for example:

  • Comet "C/2015 W1 (Gibbs)" can be found using its designation "C/2015W1"
  • Comet "127P/Holt-Olmstead" can be found using just "127P"
  • Asteroid "(117032) Davidlane" can be found using either "(117032)" or "Davidlane"
  • Asteroid "(164221) 2004QE20" can be found using either "(164221)" or "2004QE20"