I’m relatively new to astronomy, have been involved for just over 18 months, and am still pretty limited in my knowledge. One of my learning resources is being a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), Ottawa Chapter, and by being a member, I get the annual Observer’s Handbook.
The Handbook is a great resource. But I confess that as a newbie, it can be quite daunting. For example, page 23 of the 2015 handbook has a table entitled, “Heliocentric Osculating Orbital Elements for 2015: Referred to the Mean Ecliptic and Equinox of J2000.0”. Umm, sure. I’ll get right on reading that immediately. As soon as I finish grouting the tub at a friend’s house. And this is listed in a section called “Basic data”.
If you know what that table is about, congratulations! However, this means that this blog entry is not for you. It’s for the people who have the handbook and want to be able to use it without an advanced degree in astrophysics or spending 3 hours with a dictionary and going down internet wormholes looking things up on websites. » Read the rest