Horst Meyerdierks

Sputnik 3.1.12

The documentation is principally generated from the Java source code. The standard entry for those used to reading Java class documentation is jdoc/index.html. I personally prefer to start with the full no-frames class tree at jdoc/overview-tree.html.

The user documentation is in jdoc/uk/me/chiandh/Sputnik/SputnikUI.html. The astronomical background is described in the classes or even methods where they are relevant for the programmer.

As this is all quite hard to chew, there is also a tutorial in doc/tutorial.html to get you started using Sputnik for real.


Go to http://www.chiandh.eu/soft and take it from there.

Binary installation

Sputnik is written in Java and you need a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) - version 1.6 or later - to run the application. http://java.sun.com is a good source for a JRE for Linux, Windows or MacOS. Sputnik needs the JLine package (even if you decide not to use it). Download this from http://jline.sourceforge.net and copy the jline-<version>.jar file to become jline.jar in the directory tree of your JRE, and there in the directory ./lib/ext/. Your Linux distribution may already contain packages for OpenJDK or Jline, ready to install without much pain. For example, if you run Debian lenny you can simply

  aptitude install openjdk-7-jre libjline-java
  ln -s /usr/share/java/jline.jar \

Apart from that you only need the Sputnik.jar file. To run the application invoke the JRE, e.g.

  java -jar /path/to/Sputnik.jar --jline


The documentation is online at http://www.chiandh.eu/soft/Sputnik/ReadMe.html. You can also obtain the Sputnik-doc.tgz file and unpack it in your own space. The starting point is the ReadMe.html file at the top.

Source code

The Java source code is available in the Sputnik-source.tgz file. This does not include binaries or documentation. To see what to do with the source code, read the top of the uk/me/chiandh/Sputnik/SputnikUI.java source file ("Source maintenance and build process").


2.1 (2004-07-28)
Original release of the Java version.
2.1.1 (2004-08-09)
Bug fix for parallactic angle in the NamedObject class.
2.1.2 (2004-10-13)
Add commands planet/limb/sun, planet/coord/sun and moon/limb.
2.1.3 (2005-12-28)
Add command moon/coord. This prompts a change to how physical ephemeris are handled in the Moon, VSOP87, Sun, Mercury to Neptune, and Pluto classes. Before, the physical ephemeris were geocentric J2000, now they are topocentric ecliptic and equinox of date (EOD).
3.0.3 (2008-08-08)
Compatible with 2.1.3, but uses JLine instead of our own ReadLine class. This version also has a simple Swing graphical user interface.
3.0.4 (2008-12-17)
Calculate HJD correction for distant objects.
3.1 (2009-01-27)
Calculate two or three rotation systems for Jupiter and Saturn.
Remove the Swing GUI.
Revert physical ephemeris from EOD to J2000. Sun, planets and Pluto now again use geocentric J2000 for this, the Moon uses topocentric J2000. Also fix a long-standing typo in Neptune's calculation of rotation ephemeris.
Improve the linear fit to DeltaT for the present.
Accept old date formats (Y/M/D-h:m:s and Y-M-D-h:m:s) as well as the new one (Y-M-DTh:m:s).
Version 3.1.
3.1.1 (2009-03-01)
Fix a bug introduced in 3.1 into the planet/coord/sun and h0001 commands.
3.1.2 (2010-10-19)
Fix a bug in the calculation of the HJD correction.
3.1.7 (2012-04-24)
Add command for daily ephemeris of Tiangong 1. Add lunar crescent visibility prediction. Add lunar orbit display (phases, nodes, etc.). Add solar orbit display (equinoxes, solstices, Easter, etc.). Add satellite passes outwith twilight. Add planets' orbit display (conjunctions, opposition, etc.).
3.1.8 (2012-08-20)
Fix XHTML bug in h0002 command.
3.1.9 (2014-07-16)
Add position angle of lunar terminator to lunar ephemerides.
3.1.10 (2015-04-05)
Fix bug in Moon class brought about by adding the terminator PA.
3.1.11 (2016-04-02)
Add planet/au/mercury.
3.1.12 (2016-12-18)
Improve solstice and equinox calculation.

Copyright: © 2002-2016 Horst Meyerdierks.

This programme is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public Licence as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the Licence, or (at your option) any later version.

This programme is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public Licence for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public Licence along with this programme; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Author: Horst Meyerdierks, http://www.chiandh.eu