Educational supplement that demonstrates how the planets are moving under the laws of celestial mechanics.
Clicking on the Planet's orbits submenu a dialog appears where you can set the attributes of the system and choose the data that you would like to plot on the charts. The first chart will plot eccentric anomaly (the explanations of the given quantities are written in the 'Theoretical background' manual) and real anomaly (if you have selected the appropriate radio button) as a function of mean anomaly. The second diagram plots distance, velocity and irradiance (which one(s) you have selected, if you have not selected any of it, distance will be plotted by all means) versus the time or relative time (you can select from the combo in the top left corner of the dialog, the first one measures the elapsed time in days, the second one scales it to the orbital time).
In the text fields next to the red labels you can set the following parameters: the eccentricity of the orbit, the mass of the central body, the mean radius of the planet's orbit and the number of the time slices (how many times you want to draw the positionn of the planet). The permitted intervals are 0 - 1, 0.01 - 10 solar mass, 0.001 - 500 astronomical unit and 4 -360, respectively. There are 10 more buttons in the dialog (ion addition to the OK and Cancel buttons) for setting the above mentioned text fields with the data of the 8 planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) and two of the several dwarf planets (Pluto and Sedna) of the Solar System.
Pressing the OK button the program calculates the orbital data and presents them in three different ways. In the top left corner of the active sheet you will see a drawing showing the orbit and different positions of the planet (corresponding to the number of time slices). These positions will be connected with the central object.
Next to it you can see the above mentioned charts, and finally there will be a table with nine columns containing the following data:
- time (number of elapsed days),
- mean anomaly,
- eccentric anomaly,
- real anomaly,
- time related to the orbital period,
- distance from the gravitation center,
- orbital speed,
- percentage of solar irradiance (given 100% at perihelion/periastron),
- and orbital period (in days).