The aim of this post was to provide an explanation on different time scales and time formats used in astronomic calculations. But in the virtual quest I noticed, that (un)fortunatelly, it had been done before. J. Richard Fisher of National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) has provided a beautiful and really elegant explanation of all the terms. Please, do follow his words on the subject on his homepage.

Dates and times in nautical Almanac are listed as Universal Coordinated Time. (UTC). The Ephemerides use Terrestial Time TT. Difference between TT and UTC is Called DeltaT. Long-term predictions of DeltaT are impossible. Guys at JPL have, however compiled a set of polynomial expressions to evaluate DeltaT by curve fitting them to measured data.

as the only input to the polynomials is essentially Date, I will program yet another Extension Method, and add DeltaT estimator to `DateTime`

object:

''' <summary> ''' Calculates the difference between UT and TT, based on the UT DateTime Object ''' </summary> ''' <param name="InputDate">Input DateTime</param> ''' <returns>DeltaT in Seconds</returns> <Extension()> Public Function DeltaT(ByVal InputDate As DateTime) As Decimal Dim Year As Integer = InputDate.Year Dim Month As Integer = InputDate.Month 'Result Dim DeltaT As Decimal 'Auxiliary polynomial argument Dim t As Decimal 'Calculate Decimal Year Dim DecimalYear As Decimal = Year + (Month - 0.5) / 12 'DeltaT is calculated for the range 1800 - 2050' Can be extended with full set if required If DecimalYear >= 1800 And DecimalYear < 1860 Then t = DecimalYear - 1800 DeltaT = 3.72 - 0.332447 * t + 0.0068612 * t ^ 2 + 0.0041116 * t ^ 3 - 0.00037436 * t ^ 4 + 0.0000121272 * t ^ 5 - 0.0000001699 * t ^ 6 + 0.000000000875 * t ^ 7 ElseIf DecimalYear >= 1860 And DecimalYear < 1900 Then t = DecimalYear - 1860 DeltaT = 7.62 + 0.5737 * t - 0.251754 * t ^ 2 + 0.01680668 * t ^ 3 - 0.0004473624 * t ^ 4 + t ^ 5 / 233174 ElseIf DecimalYear >= 1900 And DecimalYear < 1920 Then t = DecimalYear - 1900 DeltaT = -2.79 + 1.494119 * t - 0.0598939 * t ^ 2 + 0.0061966 * t ^ 3 - 0.000197 * t ^ 4 ElseIf DecimalYear >= 1920 And DecimalYear < 1941 Then t = DecimalYear - 1920 DeltaT = 21.2 + 0.84493 * t - 0.0761 * t ^ 2 + 0.0020936 * t ^ 3 ElseIf DecimalYear >= 1941 And DecimalYear < 1961 Then t = DecimalYear - 1950 DeltaT = 29.07 + 0.407 * t - t ^ 2 / 233 + t ^ 3 / 2547 ElseIf DecimalYear >= 1961 And DecimalYear < 1986 Then t = DecimalYear - 1975 DeltaT = 45.45 + 1.067 * t - t ^ 2 / 260 - t ^ 3 / 718 ElseIf DecimalYear >= 1986 And DecimalYear < 2005 Then t = DecimalYear - 2000 DeltaT = 63.86 + 0.3345 * t - 0.060374 * t ^ 2 + 0.0017275 * t ^ 3 + 0.000651814 * t ^ 4 + 0.00002373599 * t ^ 5 ElseIf DecimalYear >= 2005 And DecimalYear < 2050 Then t = DecimalYear - 2000 DeltaT = 62.92 + 0.32217 * t + 0.005589 * t ^ 2 Else 'Date is out of bounds so Throw an exception Throw New ArgumentOutOfRangeException("InputDate", "Input date must be between 1800 and 2050") End If Return DeltaT End Function

Again, we could use a standard function. The only argument would be DateTime, so I decided to extend the existing data type, as it makes the code more elegant. Instead of writing:

`DeltaT = GetDeltaT(DateTime)`

we simply write:

`DeltaT = DateTime.DeltaT`

Extension method returns DeltaT in seconds of time. We must add this to previously obtained Julian Day, and calculate **Julian Ephemeris Day (JDE)**:

- Calculate Julian Day based on UTC DateTime
- Calculate DeltaT on the same UTC DateTime
- Julian Ephemeris Day is then calculated as:
`JDE = JD + DeltaT/86400`

It is this JDE, that is used from now on any computation regarding solar, planetary and lunar ephemerides. Up till now, we always used TT (or TBD, the difference between the two is maximum 1,6 miliseconds, and unless a meter type accuracy is required, we can safely interchange the two).

## Are the Ephemerides now correct?

Nope, they're not. What we calculated so far are Astrometric coordinates for the reference frame IERS (J2000). But Earth's axis of rotation, vhich forms the poles of Celestial Globe, is not fixed in space and time with respect to "fixed" stars. To obtain true, apparent positions of heavenly bodies, we need to rotate our frame of reference from J2000 to our exact date and time. This operation results in three corrections, being applied to both Right Ascension and Declination, namely:

These three correction, applied to Astrometric coordinates calculated before will enable us to get true apparent position of Sun, planets and Moon. So bear with me just a little bit longer, We are getting really close.

Best regards.

P.S. If at any point whiole reading my posts on the matter, you find any error in either text or code, do not hesitate to drop me a message though the contact form.