Moonrise, Moonset

July 1, 2014

We have previously studied the times of sunrise and sunset and the phases of the moon. Today we look at the times of moonrise and moonset.

The standard source for astronomical calculations is the Naval Observatory; they point to a 1989 article in Sky & Telescope for the calculation. The article isn’t online, but the code is: a horribly ugly BASIC program, reproduced on the next page.

Your task is to write a program that calculates the times of moonrise and moonset. When you are finished, you are welcome to read or run a suggested solution, or to post your own solution or discuss the exercise in the comments below.


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7 Responses to “Moonrise, Moonset”

  1. Mike said

    I think WordPress ate some less than signs. See line numbers 355, 360, 365, and 425.

  2. programmingpraxis said

    Fixed. Thank you.

  3. Paul said

    I see 2 problems so far: division and a variable F3 is introduced, that is never used. F3 should be F2. If I change all division by floating point divivion and change varaible F3 into F2, the program gives a sunrise and sunset, which is one hour earlier than the right answer. Code is on Codepad. I do not have time now to make it run in codepad, which does not run Python 2.7. I have to quit for the Soccer Worldcup.

  4. Paul said

    Forget my last remark. It runs in codepad.

  5. programmingpraxis said

    Thanks for finding that.

    Regarding the World Cup: My statistics were low this morning, but zoomed up after Argentina scored its goal. The effect of the World Cup was very obvious. There must be a lot of my readers who like soccer.

    Like you, I will be watching the USA team in a few minutes.

    On Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 2:41 PM, Programming Praxis wrote:


  6. Mike said

    Parts of the BASIC code appear to be missing. For example, BASIC version of the Julian date subroutine (GOSUB 760) is completely different than your Python code.

  7. programmingpraxis said

    Well, it’s the same arithmetic. The BASIC program assumes that you want moonrise and moonset for today, and calculates that first, then asks you to input a different day. My program just takes the month, day and year as input parameters.

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