View Full Version : XML For Astronomers

2005-Mar-29, 06:36 PM

I just carried out a series of calculations in an attempt to demonstrate that Richard Hoagland's (the Face on Mars man's) figures were wrong.

http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=19498&postdays=0&postorder=asc&sta rt=75&

What shocked me was the colossal amount of time it took to obtain and name each piece of data required for the calculation. With modern computers the computation time is negligible, but setting up the data took around about six hours. This is why people can get away with saying things that are wrong because it takes so much effort to refute them.

I have to say this has greatly increased my admiration for Kepler and his three laws and how he arrived at them without modern computing equipment is a colossal achievement.

I thought wouldn't it be nice if there was data about the planets like a database table with metadata describing the data, then I could immediately use the data. Again this raises the problem that databases are proprietary and require the necessary software to process the data.

However I remembered that XML is an independent standard for describing data. Under this bodies of people that want to communicate data come up with standard names to describe the data and then use a format similar to HTML.

eg Radius of a Planet


Although I am a self confessed genius, I have to consider the possibility that some lesser intellect has thought of this before me (this happens a lot!).

So the question to astronomers in the know is: Do you guys use XML and is there some solar system data I can use in the future to investigate the various theories from would be Keplers doing the rounds on the net.



2005-Mar-29, 07:12 PM
Some other (lesser) intellects have thought of it also:doc (http://xml.gsfc.nasa.gov/).

2005-Mar-29, 09:56 PM
If you have a look at the site it's a load of flat files with layouts and some XML, but the data seems to be quite estoteric. It would be nice to find a direct reference to the planetary data and I can't find one at that site doing a google site search.

Thanks for helping my superior intellect...

2005-Mar-29, 11:01 PM
If you have a look at the site it's a load of flat files with layouts and some XML, but the data seems to be quite estoteric.

ThereŽs no free lunch... :) With a little patience maybe you can find something there. IŽll let you know if I stumble on something useful for ya.

Thanks for helping my superior intellect...

My pleasure master.