September 4, 2004

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ToolKit Disc


Image Credit: Harry Jamieson

ToolKit Disc

The granddaddy of software for lunar studies is Harry Jamieson's Lunar Observer's Toolkit (LOT), which was first written in 1985. Some observers have been using this program for years, but I haven't because I use a Macintosh and it is a Windows program. I just got a Windows laptop (we all make mistakes) and one of the reasons was to be able to use programs like the LOT and the Virtual Moon Atlas. LOT allows observers to plan when to observe certain lunar features and provides space for recording observations. One of its main strengths is its focus on lunar domes - it contains a database of the ALPO dome catalog, but more importantly, a capability to prepare a list of all domes visible under a given sun angle on a given date. LOT contains - as far as I know - the only program available for calculating lunar feature heights and depths from shadow length measurements. It has a number of other useful tools (including transforming xi and eta coordinates to longitude and latitude). I wish it was possible to do this in batch mode rather than one at a time. Perhaps the most fun aspect of LOT is its inclusion of a bibliography of 400 lunar papers published in the Journal of the ALPO and Selenology, and 36 are on the CD, including some classic studies by Alika Herring and Joe Ashbrook. I believe that LOT and the other lunar programs are excellent, but what is still greatly needed is software that allows digital lunar images to be tied, pixel by pixel, to the lunar long/lat grid, and then has a tool to measure shadow lengths and calculate topographic heights. This is little different from the star software that determines RA and Dec of every pixel of an image and then determines positions for asteroids and comets. Once this lunar topo tool is available many new heights will become known.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details:
$50 from Harry D. Jamieson, 4724 Mountain Rd, Apt. 502, Cheyenne, WY 82009

Related Links:
Lunar Observer's ToolKit

Yesterday's LPOD: Snake in the Mare

Tomorrow's LPOD: Lunar Super-Heroes


Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood


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