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Scientific-grade astronomy routines for Python
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.. _ephem:
.. _pyephem:
.. _XEphem:
.. _Quick Reference:
.. _Tutorial:
.. _PyEphem web site:

**This version of PyEphem,
named** `pyephem`_ **in the Python Package Index,
is the version for the Python 2.x series.
If you have gone ahead and transitioned to Python 3.0,
then look for the package named** `ephem`_

PyEphem provides an ``ephem`` Python package
for performing high-precision astronomy computations.
The underlying numeric routines are coded in C
and are the same ones that drive the popular `XEphem`_ astronomy application,
whose author, Elwood Charles Downey,
generously gave permission for their use in PyEphem.
The name *ephem* is short for the word *ephemeris*,
which is the traditional term for a table
giving the position of a planet, asteroid, or comet for a series of dates.

The `PyEphem web site`_ offers documentation
and also links to the project bug tracker, user support forum,
and source code repository.

The design of PyEphem emphasizes convenience and ease of use.
Both celestial bodies and the observer's location on Earth
are represented by Python objects,
while dates and angles automatically print themselves
in standard astronomical formats::

 >>> import ephem
 >>> mars = ephem.Mars()
 >>> mars.compute('2008/1/1')
 >>> print mars.ra, mars.dec
 5:59:27.35 26:56:27.4

The documentation includes both a `Quick Reference`_ and a `Tutorial`_,
which are included in text files within the module itself
as well as being available on the `PyEphem web site`_.

The features provided by PyEphem include:

* Find where a planet, comet, or asteroid is in the sky.

  * High-precision orbital routines are provdied
    for the Moon, Sun, planets, and the major planet moons.
  * The user can supply the orbital elements of a comet, asteroid,
    or Earth-orbiting satellite, and have its location computed.
  * The positions of 94 bright stars come built-in,
    and the user can create further fixed objects as needed
    for their calculations.

* Determine where in the sky an object appears for a particular observer.

  * The user can supply the longitude, latitude, and altitude
    of the location from which they will be observing.
  * For convenience, a small database of longitudes and latitudes
    for 122 world cities is included.
  * For specified weather conditions (temperature and pressure),
    PyEphem will compensate for atmospheric refraction
    by adjusting the positions of bodies near the horizon.

* Compute when a body will rise, transit overhead, and set
  from a particular location.

* Parse and use orbital data in either the traditional XEphem file format,
  or the standard TLE format used for tracking Earth-orbiting satellites.

* Determine the dates of the equinoxes and solstices.

* Compute the dates of the various phases of the Moon.

* Convert from the Greenwich Time (more precisely, Ephemeris Time)
  which PyEphem uses to the local time of the user.

* Convert positions between the equatorial, ecliptic, and galactic
  coordinate systems.

* Determine on which page of the Uranometria or the Millennium Star Atlas
  a particular star should appear.

* Return the Julian Date corresponding to any calendar date.
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