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Issue No. 05 - September-October (1997 vol. 17)
ISSN: 0272-1716
pp: 47-57
The Solar System Modeler is a virtual environment application that permits interactive visualization of the solar system, the near-Earth space environment, and satellites in their correct orbits around the Earth. The Solar System Modeler project has investigated the interface, physical modeling accuracy, and rendering quality required to accurately emulate the solar system, visualize its components, facilitate user interaction, and improve user understanding of the space environment of our solar system. To facilitate user interaction, the Solar System Modeler provides direct manipulation functions that allow a user to interact with the planets, comets, asteroids, planetary moons, and multiple satellites. User understanding is aided using a variety of user controls, display devices, and icons. The Solar System Modeler achieves accurate physical modeling of satellite orbital motion by using published orbital element descriptions and orbital mechanics for satellites in orbit. The Solar System Modeler realistically models planetary motion using celestial mechanics and published astronomical tables of planetary ephemerii. The Solar System Modeler allows the user to view satellites, planets, moons, and other solar system components from both a space-based and an Earth-based point of view. The system also functions as a network actor in a distributed virtual environment by broadcasting satellite positions and orientations.

M. R. Stytz, S. B. Banks and J. Vanderburgh, "The Solar System Modeler," in IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 17, no. , pp. 47-57, 1997.
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