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Software to view planet positions and orbits

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#1 drneilmb

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 11:33 AM

As we talk about upcoming oppositions for Mars and the angular sizes of Jupiter and Saturn and Venus, I find that I would really like to be able to get a top-down view of the solar system that I can move forward and back in time. I know that planetarium software like SkySafari or Stellarium exists, but I don't know of one with the top-down outside of the solar system view. I'm an applied math guy so I could certainly solve some differential equations and make my own visualization, but I imagine this problem has already been solved.

 

What software is out there that can show me the orbital positions of the planets in the solar system with easy controls to move the date?

 

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

 

-Neil



#2 m033dkhan

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 11:45 AM

Hi,

https://theskylive.com gives a 3d/top down view of the Solar System. Don't know how accurate this is, but worth a mention. 



#3 beggarly

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 11:49 AM

I think you'll find everything you want in C2A: http://www.astrosurf...glish/index.htm

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#4 sg6

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 12:05 PM

This was the simplest I ever found.

http://www.faustweb.net/solaris/

 

Initally shows the inner 4 for today, the biggish yellow thing is the sun lol.gif  to get Jupiter then click the - magnifing glass, for Saturn another click.

 

Step forward is one of the arrows, continuous forward or back is the others, never have used it enough to be 100% able to tell which.

 

BIG problem is getting it to return to  "today" to start over again. shocked.gif

 

It is basic but easy(ish).

When the Sun+Earth+Planet are in a line that should correspond to the closest we get.

Sort of thing a 4 year old will just do, ancient astronomers (me) will get confused.

It really needs a dedicated "Back to today" button. bawling.gif bawling.gif



#5 Augustus

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 12:26 PM

Space Engine.

 

Not only does it do what you ask, you can visit real and fictional (procedurally generated based on real algorithms) places across the universe.



#6 drneilmb

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 12:34 PM

I think you'll find everything you want in C2A: http://www.astrosurf...glish/index.htm

The "Ecliptic View" in C2A when turned the right-way-around is exactly what I had in mind. It has a "back to today" button and good controls on the speed. I was able to observe the July opposition of Mars and the October opposition of Venus. Further looking into it showed that I did not realize that Venus would be a waning crescent as it approached that opposition!



#7 *skyguy*

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 01:05 PM

Try the freeware, fully-featured planetarium program ... Skytech X:

 

http://www.skytechx.eu/

 

It has a 3D solar system view that can be customized in just about any way imaginable ... including adding comets and asteroids. Skytech X is one of the best, if not the best planetarium program I've ever tried ... and that includes the expensive commercial ones.

 

Skytect_X_3Dsolarsystem.jpg



#8 OleCuss

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 03:16 PM

I have a bit of orrery software on my tablet.  You can find one in the Google Play Store (or whatever they call it now).




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