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12/30/2022 – Ephemeris – About Ephemeris

December 30, 2022

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Friday, December 30th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 51 minutes, setting at 5:11, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:20. The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 2:09 tomorrow morning. | This is the last Ephemeris program of 2022. We’ve been going around the Sun together, observing the universe from spaceship Earth 47 and a half times so far. It’s been an eventful journey. And I hope to go around a few more times with you. The title of the program is Ephemeris, a word from the Greek which means diary. But to astronomers is a table of planetary positions at set intervals. The plural of ephemeris is not ephemerises, or ephemeri, but ephemerides, which sounds kind of cool. Each December, I crank up a program I wrote back in the 90s and produce ephemerides of Sun and Moon rise and set times for the next year. Also, the same for all the naked-eye planets.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT –5 hours). They may be different for your location.


Almanac Master database table

Almanac Master database table. This is created from a file created annually by my LookingUp for MS-DOS program. The moon phase verbiage is created during the conversion process from the comma delimited file in the Ephemeris Helper program. I use this database table to create the intro to each day’s radio program.

Holiday table

The Holiday table is used in the intro to acknowledge that today is a special day or holiday. The Rule determines how the date is determined. F is for fixed date, D for day of week and week of month, and M for movable feast for dates based on Easter.

Example of generated intros

This is a text file produced by the Intro generated function of the Ephemeris Helper program. This file is pasted into the Ephemeris document, where I add the rest of the content. The dates with no intros are Saturday and Sunday. I also use two more files of astronomical events, which I add after the intros to help me with program topics. The intro has two formats, depending on whether the Sun rises before or after the start of the last airing of Ephemeris that day.

The intros take approximately 15 seconds, which gives me 44 seconds for the topic of the day. This gives me 59 seconds to fill a break in NPR’s Morning Edition. As far as topics go, I can’t dig deep. As far as things that can be seen in the sky: It has to be visible to the naked eye. I may talk about what might be seen in binoculars or a small telescope, but it has to be a naked eye object. You don’t need binoculars or a telescope to find it.

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