# Where Can I Find Accurate Planetary Event Data for an Astronomy Course?

• B
• brainpushups
In summary, the conversation is about finding a database or resource of historical planetary events for an astronomy course. The person is specifically looking for the time intervals between Jupiter and Saturn being in opposition and quadrature with the Earth. They mention using real data for calculations instead of averages from other sources and mention the difficulty in finding data for quadrature. Someone suggests searching for "historical ephemeris" and the person shares that they found a Stellarium script that can provide this information.
brainpushups
TL;DR Summary
Looking for planetary data (oppositions, quadratures) for Jupiter and Saturn that spans at least 30 years.
Hi everyone,
I'm looking for a database of planetary events similar to this resource but that has a longer span of time that can be accessed (the site goes back to 2009). I haven't had success in my google searches. Does anybody know where I can find this information?

In particular I am looking for the time intervals between when Jupiter and Saturn are in opposition with the Earth to when they are in quadrature with the earth. This is being used for an introductory high school astronomy course (next academic year) when we discuss the Copernican cosmos. I'd like to use real data rather than quote averages from other sources when I ask students to determine the distances and periods of the planets according to this model. It's also instructive so see the variation in the time intervals to understand why epicycles were used.

I'm finding that the calculations using the data from the link above agree well with the accepted values except for Jupiter and Saturn. My guess is that this is because I initially used data that spans a few years which is a fraction of Saturn's orbital period. And, the data available in the link site only spans a little less than half of Saturn's orbital period.

I haven't yet checked whether using the 13 years for data helps correct the calculations for Jupiter. I initially only used data over about 5 years.

Thanks!

Google for "historical ephemeris" The first hit I got covered back 9000 years. See what you need...

brainpushups and BillTre
jim mcnamara said:
historical ephemeris
...is definitely the keyword search that I needed. Thanks!

berkeman
[add on comment]
Maris software has planetarium software called REDSHIFT which does what you seem to want. It costs about \$US 50.00
[/add on comment]

Well the ephemerides (had to look up that plural!) that I've looked at don't include quadrature which was surprising. I don't think I'm going to spend money to get data for this one assignment, but I did find a Stellarium script that can toggle this information. For anyone that this may help: Stellarium scripts can be found here. The one that will find these events is the "Planetary Events" script.

brainpushups said:
Stellarium script that can toggle this information. For anyone that this may help: Stellarium scripts can be found here. The one that will find these events is the "Planetary Events" script.

Yup, Stellarium is a great prog.. I have been using it for many years

## 1. How can I access accurate planetary event data for my astronomy course?

There are several reliable sources for accessing accurate planetary event data. Some popular options include NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) website, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website, and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) website. These websites offer up-to-date information on upcoming planetary events, as well as historical data.

## 2. Are there any free resources for obtaining accurate planetary event data?

Yes, there are several free resources available for obtaining accurate planetary event data. The JPL, NOAA, and RASC websites mentioned earlier all offer free access to their data. Additionally, websites such as Sky & Telescope and Space.com also provide free information on upcoming planetary events.

## 3. How often is the data on planetary events updated?

The frequency of data updates varies depending on the source. Generally, the JPL and NOAA websites are updated daily, while the RASC website is updated weekly. It is recommended to check these sources regularly for the most up-to-date information on planetary events.

## 4. Can I trust the accuracy of the data on planetary events?

Yes, the data on planetary events from reputable sources such as JPL, NOAA, and RASC is highly reliable. These organizations have dedicated teams of scientists and researchers who gather and analyze data from various sources to ensure accuracy.

## 5. Is there a specific format for the data on planetary events?

The format of the data on planetary events may vary depending on the source. However, most sources provide data in a user-friendly format, such as tables or charts, that can be easily understood and interpreted. Some sources also offer the option to download the data in various formats, such as CSV or Excel, for further analysis.

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