Astronomy Tools


Astronomy Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

This website contains many beautifully made interactive animations for learning various aspects of astronomy, all of which can also be downloaded to your computer and used offline.


SOLEX ( SOLar system integration by a fast EXtrapolation method)

A free astronomical software package produced by Aldo Vitagliano. The name, according to the website itself, ” comes from “SOLar system integration by a fast EXtrapolation method”, and, indeed, SOLEX computes the positions of solar system bodies (planets, asteroids and comets) by a method which is entirely based on the numerical integration of the Newton equation of motion.” Very useful for the historian of astronomy.


Sky View Cafe Website

Sky View Café is a Java applet that lets you see many types of astronomical information in both graphical and numerical form

This website is dedicated to predictions and information on eclipses of the Sun and Moon. It has a large database of historical and future eclipses. It provides for every eclipse detailed astronomical data and graphs. Very useful for research on historical eclipses


Website with Animations by the Italian Astronomy “Educator” Massimo Mogi Vincentini

This website contains a lot of useful astronomical information and animations made by himself. He has also made a very nice animation of the Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient computer which was found near the Greek Island of Antikythera.


Instruction Videos on the Galileo History of Science Museum Website (Florence)

The Museo Galileo History of Science Museum in Florence, Italy has an excellent website with virtual exhibitions, detailed explanations of the instruments and instructional videos. The following link leads to an index to the instructional videos on the website. It is possible to watch the videos on line or two download them to your computer.


Ancient Plantary Model Animations by Prof. Dennis Duke

This website contains ancient planetary model animations developed by Prof. Dennis Duke, professor of physics at the University of Florida. They are rather old so they might not function on every browser. The ” Netscape”  versions provide bigger animations


Ancient Plantary Model Animations by Prof. Glen van Brummelen

Prof. Glen van Brummelen has compiled a set of animations with the interactive geometry software package The Geometer’s Sketchpad, to aid students and teachers of the history of astronomy in understanding Ptolemy’s models. He published an article on these animations:

Glen van Brummelen, Computer Animations of Ptolemy’s Models of the Motions of the Sun Moon, and Planets, Journal for the History of Astronomy, XXIX (1998). Available online at NASA ADS website. Click here

The models can be downloaded from Prof. van Brummelen’s website


 Computer Programs for Research in Ancient and Medieval Astronomy

Historian of Medieval Islamic Astronomy, Dr. Benno van Dalen,  has developed several computer programs which are useful for research in the ancient and medieval astronomy. The five programs are:

  1. PARAMS (Database of parameter values occurring in Islamic astronomical sources)
  2. SCTR (Sexagesimal calculator)
  3. CALH (Calendar conversion program)
  4. TA (Table-analysis)
  5. MM( Mean-Motion tables)