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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  XMOONTOOL (1)


xmoontool - Moon For The Sun / Werewolf Early Warning System


Tedious Technical Credits
See Also


xmoontool [-mctU]


Xmoontool is a Xwindows application which displays information about the moon in real time. When closed (iconic) it displays a graphical representation of what the moon would look like right now if you were to go outside and look at it. (Go on, try it, the fresh air may do you some good). When the window is open, the same image of the moon is displayed in the upper right of the window, along with more verbose information about both the moon and the sun (the bright yellow thing in the sky, not the thing you’re staring at right now. It’s not a good idea to stare at the bright yellow thing). The open window display is updated approximately once per second, the icon is updated every two minutes.

Xmoontool will run on both monochrome and color displays. Unless explicity told to run in either the monochrome (-m) or the color (-c) mode, xmoontool will automatically select the appropriate mode. On color displays, the moon’s face is rendered in eight colors in both the icon and the open window. The darkened portion of the moon is visible on color displays as dark shades of blue. On monochrome displays, only the illuminated portion of the face is drawn in.

As an extra added bonus for users of color displays, the Apollo 11 Commemorative Red Dot has been added to the face of the moon at the approximate location of Tranquility Base, to mark the 20th anniversary of An Historic Event.

The image of the moon’s face used by xmoontool, especially the color version, is quite accurate. It was rendered on an Amiga by Joe Hitchens, an artist of no small talent, from an illustration in an astronomy textbook.

If invoked with the -t option, xmoontool will start up in test mode. In test mode, the tool warps through time, updating the display as fast as possible, skipping approximately one hour per cycle. A menu is available on the tool, for both the icon and the open window, which will let you switch in and out of test mode at will. This is what’s known as a cheap thrill, and can provide endless hours of entertainment (if you’re easily entertained).

The option -U effects the moon’s and the sun’s distances to be expressed in (statute) miles instead of the default kilometers.

For those who are lycanthropically inclined, the open window tells you when the next full moon will occur. This may or may not be something you’ll want to know.


Believe it or not, xmoontool uses some actual science and even authentic mathematics. If you’re into that sort of thing, you might like to know that the following books were used by the original author to create xmoontool:

"Practical Astronomy With Your Calculator" by Peter Duffett-Smith, Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, 1981.

"Astronomical Formulae for Calculators" by Jean Meeus, Third Edition, Willmann-Bell, 1985.

"Planetary Programs and Tables from -4000 to +2800" by Pierre Bretagnon and Jean-Louis Simon, Willmann-Bell, 1986.

"Celestial BASIC" by Eric Burgess, Revised Edition, Sybex, 1985.

This one was used by Joe to render the moon image and by me to locate the Apollo 11 landing site:

"Astronomy: From the Earth to the Universe" by Jay M. Pasachoff, Second Edition, Saunders College Publishing, 1983


The real moon.


John Walker
Autodesk SA
Avenue des Champs-Montants 14b
Fax:    038/33 88 15
Voice:  038/33 76 33

Original author of moontool (the one who did the hard part).

Ron Hitchens, Independent Hacker. Adder-on of various "features" and "improvements". Culprit responsible for this stoopid man page.

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