Skyfield: Home • Table of Contents • API Reference
See Positions and Coordinates for a detailed guide to these various kinds of position that Skyfield can compute, and to the selection of coordinate systems that can be used to express them.
skyfield.positionlib.
ICRF
(position_au, velocity_au_per_d=None, t=None, center=None, target=None, observer_data=None)¶An (x,y,z) position and velocity oriented to the ICRF axes.
The International Coordinate Reference Frame (ICRF) is a permanent reference frame that is the replacement for J2000. Their axes agree to within 0.02 arcseconds. It also supersedes older equinox-based systems like B1900 and B1950.
Each instance of this class provides a .position
vector and a
.velocity
vector that specify (x,y,z) coordinates along the axes
of the ICRF. A specific time .t
might be specified or might be
None
.
velocity
¶A Velocity
object
offering the velocity’s (dx/dt,dy/dt,dz/dt) coordinates.
This attribute will have the value None
if no velocity was
specified for this position.
distance
()¶Compute the distance from the origin to this position.
>>> v = ICRF([1, 1, 0])
>>> print(v.distance())
1.41421 au
speed
()¶Compute the magnitude of the velocity vector.
>>> v = ICRF([0, 0, 0], [1, 2, 3])
>>> print(v.speed())
3.74166 au/day
radec
(epoch=None)¶Compute equatorial (RA, declination, distance)
When called without a parameter, this returns standard ICRF right ascension and declination:
>>> from skyfield.api import load
>>> ts = load.timescale(builtin=True)
>>> t = ts.utc(2020, 5, 13, 10, 32)
>>> eph = load('de421.bsp')
>>> astrometric = eph['earth'].at(t).observe(eph['sun'])
>>> ra, dec, distance = astrometric.radec()
>>> print(ra, dec, sep='\n')
03h 21m 47.67s
+18deg 28' 55.3"
If you instead want the coordinates referenced to the dynamical system defined by the Earth’s mean equator and equinox, provide a specific epoch time.
>>> ra, dec, distance = astrometric.apparent().radec(epoch='date')
>>> print(ra, dec, sep='\n')
03h 22m 54.73s
+18deg 33' 04.5"
To get J2000.0 coordinates, simply pass ts.J2000
.
separation_from
(another_icrf)¶Return the angle between this position and another.
>>> from skyfield.api import load
>>> ts = load.timescale(builtin=True)
>>> t = ts.utc(2020, 4, 18)
>>> eph = load('de421.bsp')
>>> sun, venus, earth = eph['sun'], eph['venus'], eph['earth']
>>> e = earth.at(t)
>>> s = e.observe(sun)
>>> v = e.observe(venus)
>>> print(s.separation_from(v))
43deg 23' 23.1"
You can also compute separations across an array of positions.
>>> t = ts.utc(2020, 4, [18, 19, 20])
>>> e = earth.at(t)
>>> print(e.observe(sun).separation_from(e.observe(venus)))
3 values from 43deg 23' 23.1" to 42deg 49' 46.6"
cirs_xyz
(epoch)¶Compute cartesian CIRS coordinates at a given epoch (x,y,z).
Calculate coordinates in the Celestial Intermediate Reference System (CIRS), a dynamical coordinate system referenced to the Celestial Intermediate Origin (CIO). As this is a dynamical system it must be calculated at a specific epoch.
cirs_radec
(epoch)¶Get spherical CIRS coordinates at a given epoch (ra, dec, distance).
Calculate coordinates in the Celestial Intermediate Reference System (CIRS), a dynamical coordinate system referenced to the Celestial Intermediate Origin (CIO). As this is a dynamical system it must be calculated at a specific epoch.
ecliptic_xyz
(epoch=None)¶Compute J2000 ecliptic position vector (x,y,z).
If you instead want the coordinates referenced to the dynamical system defined by the Earth’s true equator and equinox, provide an epoch time.
ecliptic_velocity
()¶Compute J2000 ecliptic velocity vector (x_dot, y_dot, z_dot)
ecliptic_latlon
(epoch=None)¶Compute J2000 ecliptic coordinates (lat, lon, distance)
If you instead want the coordinates referenced to the dynamical system defined by the Earth’s true equator and equinox, provide an epoch time.
galactic_xyz
()¶Compute galactic coordinates (x,y,z)
galactic_latlon
()¶Compute galactic coordinates (lat, lon, distance)
frame_xyz
(frame)¶Express this position as an (x,y,z) vector in a particular frame.
frame_latlon
(frame)¶Return as longitude, latitude, and distance in the given frame.
to_skycoord
(unit=None)¶Convert this distance to an AstroPy SkyCoord
object.
is_sunlit
(ephemeris)¶Return whether a position in Earth orbit is in sunlight.
Returns True
or False
, or an array of such values, to
indicate whether this position is in sunlight or is blocked by
the Earth’s shadow. It should work with positions produced
either by calling at()
on a satellite object, or by calling
at()
on the relative position sat - topos
of a satellite
with respect to an Earth observer’s position. See
Finding when a satellite is in sunlight.
from_altaz
(alt=None, az=None, alt_degrees=None, az_degrees=None, distance=<Distance 0.1 au>)¶Generate an Apparent position from an altitude and azimuth.
The altitude and azimuth can each be provided as an Angle
object, or else as a number of degrees provided as either a
float or a tuple of degrees, arcminutes, and arcseconds:
alt=Angle(...), az=Angle(...)
alt_degrees=23.2289, az_degrees=142.1161
alt_degrees=(23, 13, 44.1), az_degrees=(142, 6, 58.1)
The distance should be a Distance
object, if provided; otherwise a default of 0.1 au is used.
skyfield.positionlib.
Barycentric
(position_au, velocity_au_per_d=None, t=None, center=None, target=None, observer_data=None)¶An (x,y,z) position measured from the Solar System barycenter.
Skyfield generates a Barycentric
position measured from the
gravitational center of the Solar System whenever you ask a body for
its location at a particular time:
>>> t = ts.utc(2003, 8, 29)
>>> mars.at(t)
<Barycentric BCRS position and velocity at date t center=0 target=499>
Both the .position
and .velocity
are (x,y,z) vectors
oriented along the axes of the International Terrestrial Reference
Frame (ITRF), the modern replacement for J2000 coordinates.
This class inherits the methods of is parent class ICRF
as
well as the orientation of its axes in space.
observe
(body)¶Compute the Astrometric
position of a body from this location.
To compute the body’s astrometric position, it is first asked
for its position at the time t
of this position itself. The
distance to the body is then divided by the speed of light to
find how long it takes its light to arrive. Finally, the light
travel time is subtracted from t
and the body is asked for a
series of increasingly exact positions to learn where it was
when it emitted the light that is now reaching this position.
>>> earth.at(t).observe(mars)
<Astrometric ICRS position and velocity at date t center=399 target=499>
skyfield.positionlib.
Astrometric
(position_au, velocity_au_per_d=None, t=None, center=None, target=None, observer_data=None)¶An astrometric (x,y,z) position relative to a particular observer.
The astrometric position of a body is its position relative to an observer, adjusted for light-time delay. It is the position of the body back when it emitted (or reflected) the light that is now reaching the observer’s eyes or telescope.
Both the .position
and .velocity
are (x,y,z) vectors
oriented along the axes of the International Terrestrial Reference
Frame (ITRF), the modern replacement for J2000 coordinates.
Astrometric positions are usually generated in Skyfield by calling
the Barycentric
method observe()
to determine where a body will
appear in the sky relative to a specific observer.
This class inherits the methods of is parent class ICRF
as
well as the orientation of its axes in space.
apparent
()¶Compute an Apparent
position for this body.
This applies two effects to the position that arise from relativity and shift slightly where the other body will appear in the sky: the deflection that the image will experience if its light passes close to large masses in the Solar System, and the aberration of light caused by the observer’s own velocity.
>>> earth.at(t).observe(mars).apparent()
<Apparent GCRS position and velocity at date t center=399 target=499>
These transforms convert the position from the BCRS reference frame of the Solar System barycenter and to the reference frame of the observer. In the specific case of an Earth observer, the output reference frame is the GCRS.
skyfield.positionlib.
Apparent
(position_au, velocity_au_per_d=None, t=None, center=None, target=None, observer_data=None)¶An apparent (x,y,z) position relative to a particular observer.
The apparent position of a body is its position relative to an observer adjusted for light-time delay, deflection (light rays bending as they pass large masses like the Sun or Jupiter), and aberration (light slanting because of the observer’s motion through space).
Included in aberration is the relativistic transformation that takes
the .position
and .velocity
(x,y,z) vectors out of the BCRS,
centered on the Solar System barycenter, and into the reference
frame of the observer. In the case of an Earth observer, the
transform takes the coordinate into the GCRS.
This class inherits the methods of is parent class ICRF
as
well as the orientation of its axes in space.
altaz
(temperature_C=None, pressure_mbar='standard')¶Compute (alt, az, distance) relative to the observer’s horizon
The altitude returned is an Angle
measured in degrees above the horizon, while the azimuth
Angle
measures east along the horizon
from geographic north (so 0 degrees means north, 90 is east, 180
is south, and 270 is west).
By default, Skyfield does not adjust the altitude for
atmospheric refraction. If you want Skyfield to estimate how
high the atmosphere might lift the body’s image, give the
argument temperature_C
either the temperature in degrees
centigrade, or the string 'standard'
(in which case 10°C is
used).
When calculating refraction, Skyfield uses the observer’s
elevation above sea level to estimate the atmospheric pressure.
If you want to override that value, simply provide a number
through the pressure_mbar
parameter.
skyfield.positionlib.
Geocentric
(position_au, velocity_au_per_d=None, t=None, center=None, target=None, observer_data=None)¶An (x,y,z) position measured from the center of the Earth.
A geocentric position is the difference between the position of the Earth at a given instant and the position of a target body at the same instant, without accounting for light-travel time or the effect of relativity on the light itself.
Its .position
and .velocity
vectors have (x,y,z) axes that
are those of the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF),
an inertial system that is an update to J2000 and that does not
rotate with the Earth itself.
This class inherits the methods of is parent class ICRF
as
well as the orientation of its axes in space.
itrf_xyz
()¶Return this position as an (x,y,z) vector in the ITRF frame.
Returns a Distance
object giving the
(x,y,z) of this coordinate in the International Terrestrial
Reference Frame (ITRF), an internationally agreed upon
Earth-centered Earth-fixed (ECEF) coordinate system that
rotates with the surface of the Earth itself.
skyfield.positionlib.
Geometric
(position_au, velocity_au_per_d=None, t=None, center=None, target=None, observer_data=None)¶An (x,y,z) vector between two instantaneous position.
A geometric position is the difference between the Solar System positions of two bodies at exactly the same instant. It is not corrected for the fact that, in real physics, it will take time for light to travel from one position to the other.
Both the .position
and .velocity
are (x,y,z) vectors
oriented along the axes of the International Terrestrial Reference
Frame (ITRF), the modern replacement for J2000 coordinates.
This class inherits the methods of is parent class ICRF
as
well as the orientation of its axes in space.
altaz
(temperature_C=None, pressure_mbar='standard')¶Compute (alt, az, distance) relative to the observer’s horizon
The altitude returned is an Angle
measured in degrees above the horizon, while the azimuth
Angle
measures east along the horizon
from geographic north (so 0 degrees means north, 90 is east, 180
is south, and 270 is west).
By default, Skyfield does not adjust the altitude for
atmospheric refraction. If you want Skyfield to estimate how
high the atmosphere might lift the body’s image, give the
argument temperature_C
either the temperature in degrees
centigrade, or the string 'standard'
(in which case 10°C is
used).
When calculating refraction, Skyfield uses the observer’s
elevation above sea level to estimate the atmospheric pressure.
If you want to override that value, simply provide a number
through the pressure_mbar
parameter.
skyfield.positionlib.
position_of_radec
(ra_hours, dec_degrees, distance_au=206264806247096.38, epoch=None, t=None, center=None, target=None, observer_data=None)¶Build a position object from a right ascension and declination.
If a specific distance_au
is not provided, Skyfield returns a
position vector a gigaparsec in length. This puts the position at a
great enough distance that it will stand at the same right ascension
and declination from any viewing position in the Solar System, to
very high precision (within a few hundredths of a microarcsecond).
If an epoch
is specified, the input coordinates are understood
to be in the dynamical system of that particular date. Otherwise,
they will be assumed to be ICRS (the modern replacement for J2000).