Moontool is a 32-bit Windows application which runs on Windows 95 and above and Windows NT 4.0 and above. A 16-bit version of Moontool which runs on any version of Windows starting with 3.0, in any mode (including 3.0 real mode, its being one of the few remaining Windows applications which retain that capability) remains available; it is completely compatible with the 32-bit version but lacks some of its user interface glitz.
The source and executable code for Moontool are in the public domain. You are free to use it in any manner you wish without permission, restriction, attribution, or compensation.
Downloading and Installation
Download Moontool: moont32.zip (Zipped archive, 61 Kb)
After you've downloaded the program archive, extract the files it contains with Info-ZIP or a compatible archive extract program into a new directory, then launch the Moontool.exe program from that directory.
Experienced C p
rogrammers who wish to modify this program or simply read the code to see how it works may download the source code. You're welcome to use this source code in any way you like, but absolutely no support is provided—you're entirely on your own.
Download source code (for Visual C 5.0) (Zipped archive, 54 Kb)
When you unzip the archive, be sure to use a utility which preserves the directory structure in the
Time Zone Specification
In order to calculate information about the Moon, Moontool must know the relationship between loca
l time and Universal (or Greenwich Mean) Time. This is usually specified when Windows is installed on a computer by a dialogue which asks you to select the time zone in which the computer is located. Since the clock on Windows machines is kept in local time, it can be far from obvious if the time zone is set incorrectly. If Moontool shows incorrect Universal Time values, use
the Control Panel's Date/Time item to set the correct time zone for your location, and/or reset your computer's clock to the correct local time. If daylight saving (summer) time is observed in your locale, be sure to check the box indicating so on the time zone page.
Moontool was originally written for the Sun Workstation under the SunView graphical user interface by John Walker in December of 1987. The program was posted to the Usenet news group comp.sources.unix in June 1988 and was subsequently widely distributed within the Sun user community. As the original posting began, “What good's a Sun without a Moon?”.
In 1988 and 1989 Ron Hitchens contributed additional features to the Sun version of the
program, including the shaded Moon images which were drawn by Joe Hitchens on an Amiga computer.
In December of 1991 I implemented Moontool under the X Window system using the OpenLook toolkit. That version formed the starting point for this Microsoft Windows Moontool which was c
ompleted in March of 1992.
In March of 1999 I made this 32-bit version including a help file.
Astronomical Programming Resources
Algorithms used to calculate the positions of the Sun and Moon and the other items displayed by Moontool are given in the following books.
1. Meeus, Jean. Astronomical Algorithms. Richmond: Willmann-Bell, 1998. ISBN 0-943396-63-8. A must-have; if you only buy one book, make sure it's this one. Algorithms are presented mathematically, not as computer programs, but source code implementing many of t
he algorithms in the book can be ordered separately from the publisher in either QuickBasic, T
urbo Pascal, or C. Meeus provides many worked examples of calculations which are essential to debugging your code, and frequently presents several algorithms with different tradeoffs among accuracy, speed, complexity, and long-term (century and millennia) validity.
2. Duffett-Smith, Peter. Practical Astronomy With Your Calculator. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-521-35699-7. Despite the word “Calculator” in the title, this is a valuable reference if you're interested in developing software which calculates planetary positions, orbits, eclipses, and the like. More background information is given than in Meeus, which helps those not already versed in astronomy learn the often-confusing terminology. The algorithms given are simpler and less accurate than those provided by Meeus, but are suitable for most practical work.
Other Books :
AbeBooks Bestseller - "The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos" by Br