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how useful is Meeus' Canon? - Printable Version

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how useful is Meeus' Canon? - StephenG1CMZ - 11-25-2015 08:59 PM

I wonder if anyone lucky enough to have Jean Meeus' 1966 Canon of solar eclipses can indicate how useful it might be now....
is a Canon a list, or does it include an algorithm that I could program???

Sorry to bother everyone with this, but my local library** seems never to have heard of this Meeus, and even Amazon hasn't got one.

**Is a place without any books still a library???
I searched for 12 books on astronomy and trigonometry, and the library found 0 books and 0 authors... And that's before today's budget cuts.

RE: how useful is Meeu's Canon? - Felix Gross - 11-25-2015 10:05 PM

The 1966 book by Meeus et al. is available from Better World Books for US $266.15.
That is certainly a lot of money for quite some old information.

I find http://www.eurobuch.com useful to track down old books. There is certainly a ton of stuff out there at good prices. Probably you have luck with our booklist here.

Here are alternative suggestions for the old Meeus text:

Mucke / Meeus, Canon of Solar Eclipse, 1992 comprises a description of the calculation method including the visibility area. It includes numerical examples. The canon is intended for historical purposes. This useful publication can be ordered from http://www.astronomisches-buero-wien.or.at/apub.htm. About EUR 66,-

Meeus, Elements of Solar Eclipses, Willmann-Bell, 1989, http://www.willbell.com/math/mc6.htm, About US$ 20.

RE: how useful is Meeus' Canon? - Bill (Smithville NJ) - 11-25-2015 10:23 PM

The Following NASA pages may be of interest to you, depending on what you are looking for:

Five Millennium Canon of Solar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000:

NASA Technical Publication TP-2006-214141 by Fred Espenak and Jean Meeus

Explanation of Solar Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak

Polynomial Expressions for Delta T (ΔT)

Explanation of Solar Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak

Not sure if this is any help.

Smithville, NJ

RE: how useful is Meeus' Canon? - rprosperi - 11-26-2015 03:22 AM

Found a used, paperback copy here for $9.00.
ABE is great.

RE: how useful is Meeus' Canon? - Bill (Smithville NJ) - 11-26-2015 03:42 AM

(11-26-2015 03:22 AM)rprosperi Wrote:  Found a used, paperback copy here for $9.00.
ABE is great.

I agree - ABE books is great.

But since this is a NASA report, you can get it for free direct from the NASA site:


Smithville, NJ

RE: how useful is Meeus' Canon? - Felix Gross - 11-26-2015 05:46 AM

Some more eclipse fun:

The most authoritative and current information about eclipses might probably be found in the current third edition of the Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac (http://aa.usno.navy.mil/publications/docs/exp_supp.php). More references are listed in that indispensable book. The older editions can be bought from antiquarian booksellers.

Reference is often made to: A Manual Of Spherical And Practical Astronomy by William Chauvenet. The two volume set is from the 1890s and the two volumes are free:



That reference really goes into the details. Fascinating reading anyway.

And while we are at old books:

http://www.eurobuch.com is a meta search engine, which covers abebook (and I agree with Bob, it is great and I prefer buying through them), amazon and other antiquarian bookseller sites. You will get a very good overview of the market. Since shipment costs are often high compared against the book prices knowing sellers in different locations is good.

RE: how useful is Meeus' Canon? - StephenG1CMZ - 12-11-2015 07:37 PM

Thanks to all for your many helpful suggestions - I am surprised at how much is on-line.
I'm going to have to increase my data allowance to read through it all!

Update: The NASA 5 Millennium Canon referenced comprises 648pp in 200 MB. It contains a list and interesting explanations, I think, but not an algorithm. The old spherical astronomy books are about 30 MB for each of the two volumes.
unfortunately, neither of them would save to an SD card at the library for a more thorough read.