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de421 2008

JPL Planetary and Lunar Ephemeris DE421 for the jplephem package.

Latest Version: 2008.1

This is a recent short-period ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It requires only 27 MB of storage and is specially accurate with respect to the position of Earth's Moon.

Name:DE421 (February 2008)
Years:1900 through 2050
Planets:Yes
Sun/Moon:Yes
Nutations:Yes
Librations:Yes
Report:Folkner, Williams, Boggs (2009) [PDF]
Size:27 MB

The JPL called this ephemeris is a "significant advance" over predecessors like DE405 / DE406 and cited accuracies that are in many cases ten times greater, such as giving the position of Venus within 200m and the positions of Earth and Mars within 300m over the last decade. Note that even greater accuracies are achieved, for Mercury and Venus in particular (but not for the Moon), by DE423 which also has the advantage of covering a 400-year period instead of only 150 years.

Greater accuracy can also be expected from the long-term ephemeris DE422 since it incorporates more spacecraft observations than DE421. It also covers a period of 6000 years, making it useful to astronomy historians. But as it requires a half-gigabyte of disk space, some users may prefer DE421.

To compute using this ephemeris in Python, see the jplephem package.

 
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