Society for Popular Astronomy

Halley - Electronic Catalogue of Comets
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Author:  yurisbond [ Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Halley - Electronic Catalogue of Comets

Dear colleagues,
I am informing you that the first release of Halley - Electronic Catalogue of Comets is presented on the website of the Institute of Applied Astronomy RAS.

Halley - Electronic Catalogue of Comets is a free application to work with the comets database, containing Keplerian orbital elements, non-gravitational and physical parameters of the comet, and other data. The database is updated in case the new data become available. The tasks performed by the electronic catalogue include calculation of the orbital evolution of comets and visualization of comet dynamics, detection of close approaches with the major planets in a given time interval, as well as a number of other tasks.

Learn more about the the catalogue:


Author:  Mogget [ Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:14 am ]
Post subject: 

That sounds very interesting. I have done a lot of investigative work on short period comet orbits using Dance of the Planets (ARC Science Simulations) on my home PC, but unfortunately that particular peice of software does not work on my current Vista64 powered PC :(

Does this Halley require any other software to run?

Author:  yurisbond [ Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:02 pm ]
Post subject: 

System Requirements:

Microsoft Windows ® XP/Vista/7.
256 MB of memory or greater.
Approximately 300 MB of free disk space.
800x600 screen resolution or higher.

Note: After installing and initially running the program, it will download the required database: JPL Planetary and Lunar Ephemerides DE406 (190MB).

Author:  Mogget [ Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:12 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for the information. I will check it out.

Author:  Mogget [ Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:00 am ]
Post subject: 

This looks like a very interesting product, but I am struggling to work out how to input a time interval for orbit integration simulations. How do I do this?

Halley is exactly what I have been looking for with respect to simulating the orbits of comets and asteroids over time. Dance of the Planets (ARC Science Simulations; ) is an excellent piece of software, but it isn't accurate enough over relatively large timespans. This is because it integrates the orbital motions of the planets during a simulation, and that results in significant errors over time. Halley accurately calculates the positions of the planets for each time step in a simulation, and only integrates the motion of the comet itself.

By the way, is there any intention of adding asteroids to the database? I would like to be able to study the orbital evolution of near Earth asteroids, and even recreate close approaches of the past (eg. Hermes in 1937).

Author:  Mogget [ Tue May 03, 2011 1:49 pm ]
Post subject: 

I am starting to get a feel for this sofware now, and I can see that it has great potential. Yuri seems to be very open to suggestions, and he answers my emails very swiftly! With his plans for the future (and a few more suggestions from myself), Halley could end up being a more than suitable replacement for Dance of the Planets as far as orbital integration is concerned. The simulation accuracy over long timespans is far superior to Dance (assuming that suitably precise orbital elements are used), so this could persuade me to resume my study of the orbital motion of various short period comets backwards in time. It will also be great for tracking near Earth asteroids, because the JPL Small Bodies Database has extremely accurate elements for these objects.

I will let you all know of any significant developments.

Author:  yurisbond [ Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:35 pm ]
Post subject: 

I upgraded catalogue to version 0.05. Now you can perform calculations using the JPL DE423 - the most accurate JPL ephemeris (the interval from 1799 to 2200, file size ~ 35MB). All files are loaded automatically. Who has catalogue already installed go: Tools -> Options... and select the "Current ephemeris".

You still can download it there:

Recently asteroid 2005 YU55 flyby close to the Earth ( ... e=2011-332)

Who are interested, below an example of calculating the moment of approchement and the minimum distance to the Earth (on example of 2005 YU55 asteroid):

1. Go to page, enter in the search field "2005 YU55" and get the orbital elements of 2005 YU55 asteroid.
2. Open Electronic Catalogue Halley, Go: Tools -> Options... and select the "Current ephemris" to JPL DE423, click "Apply" button.
3. Go: Tools -> Add New Record.
4. In the window appears, fill (data from

Number: 308 635
Name: 2005 YU55
Date of epoch: 2011/8/27
Date of perihelion passage: 2011/9/9.81948677
Perihelion distance: 0.652550063860748
Orbital eccentricity: 0.4289483227972543
Argument of perihelion: 268.7738841094374
Longitude of ascending node: 39.31624887779521
Inclination: 0.5134523595805228

This is enough (but you can fill the other fields)... click "Apply".

5. In the Main window in the "Quick Search" field, search for 2005 YU55 by Name of comet...
6. In the table below highlight the found string and click: Tools -> Tasks -> Close Approaches...
7. In the window appears, click "Options".
8. Change year of the epoch to 2012, and select only the "Show Close Approaches with all the planets" and "Show the distance in kilometers" checkboxes.
9. Click "Apply".
10. Get the result and compare with ... e=2011-332

Author:  Mogget [ Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:20 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for the update, Yuri 8)

Author:  yurisbond [ Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:16 pm ]
Post subject: 

Update: Halley - Electronic Ephemeris of Comets 0.06

- Calculation of the ephemeris added.
- Application Name changed to Halley - Electronic Ephemeris of Comets.
- The calculations are organized into three main Tasks - Orbit Diagrams, Ephemerides and Close Approaches.
- Some bugs fixed. (Halley Manual)

In future versions I will add the possibility to work with the observations.


Author:  Mogget [ Tue May 05, 2015 1:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Halley - Electronic Catalogue of Comets

Does anyone know if Yuri is still actively developing Halley? I tried to contact him a month ago by sending a message on the Halley website, but I have not had a response. It has been three years since he updated the software....

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