### Celestia coordinates and Elite Dangerous

Posted:

**17.12.2017, 17:48**Hi everyone,

let's start with a disclaimer: I'm new to Celestia and I have close to zero

education in Astrophysics, so the following post may be full of dumb

stuff.

The problem I'm trying to solve is pretty straightforward: sometimes, when

playing Elite Dangerous, an online space simulator set in 3303 in an "as

faithful as possible" representation of our galaxy, you find yourself in need

of trying to map a particular set of stars you see in the skybox to their

names. Unfortunately, the in-game galaxy map of Elite Dangerous is as awkward

as it gets and there's no other way of identifying a star (no click, no

targeting, nothing). Elite Dangerous star map uses rectangular coordinates for

Stars, where x,y,z are expressed in light years from Sol (0, 0, 0).

A potential solution to this problem, at least for catalog stars, is to use

Celestia, place yourself roughly in a position that shows the same stars you're

looking for in Elite Dangerous, and get their names from Celestia. So far so

good, but Celestia does not seem to offer ways of getting the coordinates of

the observer position through the GUI. This problem can be easily solved by

taking the names of the identified stars and their distances from the observer

from Celestia, get the position of those stars in Elite Dangerous, and

trilaterate. I've used this method in a couple of cases successfully, being

able to correctly map Celestia observer position to a position inside Elite

from where the desired stars could be observed in the same configuration.

The problem of this approach is that it is a bit cumbersome and error-prone,

thus being able to get the observer coordinates from Celestia directly would be

much more direct and comfortable. Luckily, this is doable pretty easily with

the following CELX script (note the date is set to Elite Dangerous current

date):

Placing myself around Merope, the script above returns the following

coordinates:

The same result is consistently obtained by directly querying Merope position,

or calculating an heliovector between Sol and Merope:

So far so good, right? No. The real problem appears (finally!) when comparing

Merope's position in Celestia with the one in Elite Dangerous, which pretty

much have nothing to do with each other, except for the Z-axis:

At first I thougth of an error in Elite Dangerous galaxy, but all the other

star positions I tested, close to Merope or close to Sol, have the same

inconsistencies.

In order to further exclude discrepancies, I then calculated the distances

between these systems and Sol, both in Celestia and in Elite Dangerous. For

example, with Merope:

I get 380.14Ly. In Elite Dangerous, the distance between Sol and Merope is roughly the same:

Distances match for other stars too, and also when using different source

systems, e.g., the distance between Aldebaran and Merope is 315.82Ly in

Celestia and 315.84Ly in Elite Dangerous.

At this point I'm pretty much lost. It appears that Celestia and Elite

Dangerous stars are placed consistently, but in different positions.

Going through the documentation, I found this line, relative to method

Shortly after, the same page mentions this snippet of code:

I promptly tried it, but as you can see, it just inverts two coordinates, so

the following snippet of code:

returns:

I also tried more complex rotations, such as what I hope is a 270 degree

rotation over Z-axis (which seems the closer one to Elite) to match the 90 deg

rotation mentioned in the above method's documentation:

to no avail, this completely messes the coordinates. I also tried different

rotations, e.g., -0.5 (i.e., -90deg?), 1.5 on each axis, etc.

Finally, I tried what seemed the simplest solution: changing the frame of

reference, using "ecliptic" centered on Sol and "universal":

But this always returns the same positon.

So, at this point I pretty much ran out of ideas and was suggested to post

here. Any help would be greatly appreciated and, again, sorry for any obvious

mistake due to my inexperience with coordinates systems.

let's start with a disclaimer: I'm new to Celestia and I have close to zero

education in Astrophysics, so the following post may be full of dumb

stuff.

The problem I'm trying to solve is pretty straightforward: sometimes, when

playing Elite Dangerous, an online space simulator set in 3303 in an "as

faithful as possible" representation of our galaxy, you find yourself in need

of trying to map a particular set of stars you see in the skybox to their

names. Unfortunately, the in-game galaxy map of Elite Dangerous is as awkward

as it gets and there's no other way of identifying a star (no click, no

targeting, nothing). Elite Dangerous star map uses rectangular coordinates for

Stars, where x,y,z are expressed in light years from Sol (0, 0, 0).

A potential solution to this problem, at least for catalog stars, is to use

Celestia, place yourself roughly in a position that shows the same stars you're

looking for in Elite Dangerous, and get their names from Celestia. So far so

good, but Celestia does not seem to offer ways of getting the coordinates of

the observer position through the GUI. This problem can be easily solved by

taking the names of the identified stars and their distances from the observer

from Celestia, get the position of those stars in Elite Dangerous, and

trilaterate. I've used this method in a couple of cases successfully, being

able to correctly map Celestia observer position to a position inside Elite

from where the desired stars could be observed in the same configuration.

The problem of this approach is that it is a bit cumbersome and error-prone,

thus being able to get the observer coordinates from Celestia directly would be

much more direct and comfortable. Luckily, this is doable pretty easily with

the following CELX script (note the date is set to Elite Dangerous current

date):

Code: Select all

`getObserverPosition= function()`

tdb_dt = celestia:utctotdb(3303, 12, 15, 00, 00, 00)

celestia:settime(tdb_dt)

obs = celestia:getobserver()

obsPos = obs:getposition()

celestia:print("Position:\nX = " .. obsPos.x/1e6 ..

"\nY = " .. obsPos.y/1e6 .. "\nZ = " .. obsPos.z/1e6,

15, -1, -1, 1, 6)

end

Placing myself around Merope, the script above returns the following

coordinates:

Code: Select all

`X = 191.342`

Y = 26.226

Z = -327.43

The same result is consistently obtained by directly querying Merope position,

or calculating an heliovector between Sol and Merope:

Code: Select all

` tdb_dt = celestia:utctotdb(3303, 12, 15, 00, 00, 00)`

sol = celestia:find("Sol")

solPos = sol:getposition(tdb_dt)

merope = celestia:find("Merope")

meropePos = merope:getposition(tdb_dt)

heliovector = solPos:vectorto(meropePos)

So far so good, right? No. The real problem appears (finally!) when comparing

Merope's position in Celestia with the one in Elite Dangerous, which pretty

much have nothing to do with each other, except for the Z-axis:

Code: Select all

`x=-78.59375`

y=-149.625

z=-340.53125

At first I thougth of an error in Elite Dangerous galaxy, but all the other

star positions I tested, close to Merope or close to Sol, have the same

inconsistencies.

In order to further exclude discrepancies, I then calculated the distances

between these systems and Sol, both in Celestia and in Elite Dangerous. For

example, with Merope:

Code: Select all

` sol = celestia:find("Sol")`

solPos = sol:getposition(tdb_dt)

merope = celestia:find("Merope")

meropePos = merope:getposition(tdb_dt)

celestia:print("Distance (Ly): " .. solPos:distanceto(meropePos)*1.057e-13,

15, -1, -1, 1, 6 )

I get 380.14Ly. In Elite Dangerous, the distance between Sol and Merope is roughly the same:

Code: Select all

`Sol: System(x=0, y=0, z=0)`

Merope: System(x=-78.59375, y=-149.625, z=-340.53125)

Distance between Sol and Merope: 380.17Ly

Distances match for other stars too, and also when using different source

systems, e.g., the distance between Aldebaran and Merope is 315.82Ly in

Celestia and 315.84Ly in Elite Dangerous.

At this point I'm pretty much lost. It appears that Celestia and Elite

Dangerous stars are placed consistently, but in different positions.

Going through the documentation, I found this line, relative to method

**object:getposition**:(https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Celestia/Celx_Scrip ... ethods/Celx_object#getposition)Celestia's native coordinate system is based on the J2000 ecliptic, but it's rotated by 90 degrees from the conventional definition.

Shortly after, the same page mentions this snippet of code:

Code: Select all

` -- Convert from Celestia's internal coordinate system`

return celestia:newvector(v.x, -v.z, v.y)

I promptly tried it, but as you can see, it just inverts two coordinates, so

the following snippet of code:

Code: Select all

` tdb_dt = celestia:utctotdb(3303, 12, 15, 00, 00, 00)`

sol = celestia:find("Sol")

solPos = sol:getposition(tdb_dt)

merope = celestia:find("Merope")

meropePos = merope:getposition(tdb_dt)

heliovector = solPos:vectorto(meropePos)

newHeliovector = convert(heliovector)

returns:

Code: Select all

`X = 191.342`

Y = 327.43

Z = 26.226

I also tried more complex rotations, such as what I hope is a 270 degree

rotation over Z-axis (which seems the closer one to Elite) to match the 90 deg

rotation mentioned in the above method's documentation:

Code: Select all

` tdb_dt = celestia:utctotdb(3303, 12, 15, 00, 00, 00)`

sol = celestia:find("Sol")

solPos = sol:getposition(tdb_dt)

merope = celestia:find("Merope")

meropePos = merope:getposition(tdb_dt)

heliovector = solPos:vectorto(meropePos)

-- Rotate 270 to match a 90 rotation

up_v = celestia:newvector(0,0,1.5)

minusNinety = celestia:newrotation(up_v, math.pi)

newHeliovector = minusNinety:transform(heliovector)

to no avail, this completely messes the coordinates. I also tried different

rotations, e.g., -0.5 (i.e., -90deg?), 1.5 on each axis, etc.

Finally, I tried what seemed the simplest solution: changing the frame of

reference, using "ecliptic" centered on Sol and "universal":

Code: Select all

`getPositionFrame= function()`

tdb_dt = celestia:utctotdb(3303, 12, 15, 00, 00, 00)

sol = celestia:find("Sol")

solPos = sol:getposition(tdb_dt)

merope = celestia:find("Merope")

meropePos = merope:getposition(tdb_dt)

-- frame = celestia:newframe("universal")

frame = celestia:newframe("ecliptic", sol)

obsPos = frame:to(meropePos)

celestia:print("Position:\nX = " .. obsPos.x/1e6 ..

"\nY = " .. obsPos.y/1e6 .. "\nZ = " .. obsPos.z/1e6,

15, -1, -1, 1, 6)

end

But this always returns the same positon.

So, at this point I pretty much ran out of ideas and was suggested to post

here. Any help would be greatly appreciated and, again, sorry for any obvious

mistake due to my inexperience with coordinates systems.