Flutterby™! : Looking for an astrolabe

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Looking for an astrolabe

2009-09-01 18:33:28.119401+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Charlene's taking an astronomy course at the local junior college. We've also been loaned a Celestron 52255 scope with a Meade Autostar mount, which I haven't been able to get set up yet: I align the scope roughly north/south (with the compass built into the base) turn on the automatic calibration tool, find the first star, and then it always seems to be 90° off from the second star. So I have to figure that out.

But, manually, we've seen Jupiter's moons, looked at Earth's moon a bit, been poking around...

Anyway, I've discovered the cross-platform Stellarium, which provides a sky view, with object search, and has been super handy for "okay, the mount wants me to point the scope at what?", but in helping Charlene understand some of the homework about orbital mechanics, I've thought it'd be nice to have a virtual orrery or astrolabe. So far we've been visualizing with lines drawn on tennis balls, or longitude and latitude slices cut from peaches.

So, anyone got suggestions for a virtual orrery? Looks like there's an Orrery available for Geomview, so I'm installing the latter now. There's the JPL Solar System simulator, but really I'd like something super simple, the planets, their moons, some notion of scale that makes it easy to see earth and moon rotation, and track the sun and planet paths earth-relative or sun-relative.

[ related topics: Space & Astronomy Astronomy Education ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-09-02 06:23:44.639893+00 by: mvandewettering

Celestia might work, depending on exactly what you want.


#Comment Re: made: 2009-09-02 14:39:14.778955+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think that's as close as I'm going to get! Thanks, Mark.

The only thing that'd make that better would be if I could scale up the objects so I could actually see what the moon facing the earth, and see earth, moon and sun in the same view. That might be easy enough to hack in that I should look at the source.