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Ephemeris Topics

• Observe Planets, Sun, Moon

• Darkness Analysis

• Observe Asteroids

• Observe Comets


Planet, Comet, Asteroid Observing

Deep-Sky Planner 8 provides ephemeris calculations (meaning position, magnitude, size, etc.) and 2 styles of ephemeris reporting for the major planets, sun and moon. The detailed ephemeris style is useful for viewing information for an object at a specific time, including physical ephemeris data for sun, moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The brief ephemeris style is useful for reporting changes to an object over time, such as motion, magnitude or size.

You can calculate an ephemeris for an interval that you define over any range of date and time, but ephemeris calculations lose accuracy in the distant past or future. Motion of each object over time is also calculated and reported.

Similarly, you can calculate and report the date and time of planetary phenomena (events) over a range of date and time. These phenomena include solar and lunar eclipses, lunar phases, greatest elongations (inferior planets), conjunctions/oppositions, aphelions/perihelions, equinoxes/solstices (sun).

You can also:

Video snip: Detailed Planet Ephemeris report for Mars on 6 November 2020


Deep-Sky Planner 8 computes the date and time of various events involving sun, moon and planets. You can compute:

These reports can be exported to several file formats including HTML, delimited text (.csv) and iCalendar (.ics). iCalendar files can be imported into most common calendar programs/ services like Apple Calendar, Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook.

Astronomical Darkness Analysis

You can calculate and report the times of astronomical darkness (meaning that the sun is at least 18° below the horizon and the moon is down) over a range of dates. Times of sun rise/set, moon rise/set and moon phase are included. Darkness reports may be presented in either tabular text or graphically.  You can also print or save reports as formatted text, HTML or delimited text (CSV.)

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Darkness report for November 2020
Graphical darkness report for November 2020

Many astronomical software products incorrectly report that the moon rises or sets on dates when in fact it does not. Deep-Sky Planner accurately reports no moon rise or set for these dates.

Observe Comets and Asteroids

Orbital Elements Manager 

Up-to-date orbital elements are required to compute an accurate ephemeris for comets and asteroids but getting correct orbital elements is often tedious or confusing. Deep-Sky Planner addresses this with an innovative data management feature that acquires and maintains orbital elements so that your ephemeris is accurate. You can download updated orbital elements from several sources, and you can do so for groups of objects or enter elements manually for any object, including newly discovered ones. You can also determine when you last updated an object's elements. Read more in a Deep-Sky Planner White Paper.

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comet elements
Orbital Elements Manager


Deep-Sky Planner provides 2 ephemeris reporting capabilities for comets and asteroids: ephemeris calculations for selected objects over time, or searching for objects that meet your observing criteria for a specified date and time. The reported data include position, predicted magnitude, solar elongation, phase, rise/set/transit and best time to view.

You can also: