Written by an amateur astronomer for amateur astronomers, the Astro
Utilities is not a “dry textbook” in celestial mechanics. This
work contains explanations, examples, and graphics that an amateur can
immediately put to use in their observing program. Composed in
Mathcad Electronic Book format, users interact and “play” with “live”
functions that look like equations. The ability to “tinker” with
and instantly graph any equation allows one to get a “physical”
feel for the calculation. All astronomical equations are referenced
and the book includes a resources page with links to the reference
material. Installation and removal is professionally handled through
the industry standard InstallShield program.
Users of the
retail version of Mathcad can
employ all the functions in this book as computational building blocks for
their own Mathcad worksheets. Others
can download the free Mathcad Explorer (instructions in blue box
which only lacks the ability to save new worksheets.
Either way, the examples in the Astro Utilities are customized
to your observing location and time by use of data files.
Click the buttons below to see page sections from the book. The best way to become acquainted
the Astro Utilities is to read the introduction, reprinted below, and
then follow the steps in the blue box (below-right) to
preview, download, and install
your shareware copy.
appear in new pop-up windows. Close that window to return to this
page -- back arrow will not work.
on this product are welcome on the Message
Boards. Submissions of
worksheets based on the Astro Utilities are most welcome for posting here.
Send them to Pietro.org.
Experienced users will find the Astro Utilities/Mathcad User FAQ
interesting; just click the link or button on the left. The FAQ
contains tips on getting the most from the Astro Utilities and
working with Mathcad.
of Electronic Books can click on the left button for information on
"M-dex" -- a freeware tool for creating a search index for your
work. Click right button for information on Mathcad software and
Inc. has traditionally released several versions of its Mathcad
software. For many years there were "Pro",
"Standard", "Academic", and
"Explorer" versions. In particular, the incentive to
produce the Astro Utilities Book in Mathcad format was the
availability of the free Mathcad "Explorer" and
inexpensive (under $100) "Standard" version. The last
version of the freely downloadable "Explorer" worked
exactly like Mathcad 8 "Pro" and therefore had more
features than the "Standard" version. The
big catch was that "Explorer" could not save worksheet
With the latest versions of Mathcad, the
"Standard" and "Explorer" versions were
has issued an "Explorer-like" product called Mathcad
"Client" that will allow viewing files in the
Mathcad 2000/2001 format -- it sounds like "Explorer" under a new
name. But for some reason, it is *only* available to
organizations that have multiple Mathcad licenses -- leaving the
individual hobbyist with an expensive upgrade path.