1.28.5 • Public • Published

Alkalurops Library

Utils for stellar / astronomical calculations

This library contains functions useful for basic astronomical calculations. I'm no mathematician, nor an astrophysicist, so use at your own risk; some of these functions may produce invalid values. The values produced seem accurate enough when put through simulation; here's Orion and Canis Major as produced by the Cosmosis game project, using data from this repo:

Orion and Canis Major

Note that this project is a subproject of the BSC5P-JSON-XYZ project, which uses these utils for catalog generation.

Special thanks to my friends who, for once, all almost immediately proofread this document on request. You bastards never proofread anything else I send you :')


npm install @frostoven/alkalurops

Functions available

Convert degrees and parallax to 3D positions

project3d({ rightAscension, declination, distance })

Used to project a star's right ascension, declination, and distance into 3D coordinates.

Example usage:

import project3d from '@frostoven/alkalurops/project3d';

// Get the 3D position of Sirius:
const { x, y, z } = project3d({ 
  rightAscension: 1.7677943505456013,
  declination: -0.291751259921236, 
  distance: 2.637061258933045,

// Result:
//  {
//    x: -0.7584977185360743,
//    y: -2.476774158897385,
//    z: -0.4943309217106066,
//  }

Right ascension and declination are in radians. Distance can, technically, be any unit you want it to be; parsecs are preferred to avoid rounding errors. This library offers raToRadians() and decToRadians() functions to convert hour / minute / seconds to radians if needed. If you have decimal degree values, simply convert them to radians like you would for any decimal value.

Dev note: project3d() uses direction vectors instead of sin/cos trig because, at the time, I didn't know better. I have no idea if this is bad, but it certainly appears to work just fine, and is quite performant for datasets under 10,000 stars.

Luminosity / Effective Temperature conversions


Converts luminosity to effective temperature and vice-versa. Note that these are approximation functions, and will produce invalid results under certain conditions.

Example usage 1:

import { lumToEffectiveTemperature } from '@frostoven/alkalurops/effectiveTemperature';

const sunLuminosity = 1;
const temperatureKelvin = lumToEffectiveTemperature(sunLuminosity);

// Result:
// temperatureKelvin = 5769.445563017909

Example usage 2:

import { effectiveTemperatureToLum } from '@frostoven/alkalurops/effectiveTemperature';

const temperatureKelvin = 5772;
const luminosity = effectiveTemperatureToLum(temperatureKelvin);

// Result:
// luminosity = 1.0017721868975924

Convert apparent magnitude to absolute magnitude and back

calculateAbsoluteMagnitude(apparentBrightness, distance)
calculateVisualMagnitude(absoluteMagnitude, distance)


import { 
  calculateAbsoluteMagnitude, calculateVisualMagnitude
} from '@frostoven/alkalurops/mathUtils';

const visualMagnitude = 6.5;
const distanceParsecs = 100;

const absoluteMagnitude = calculateAbsoluteMagnitude(visualMagnitude, distanceParsecs);
const reverse = calculateVisualMagnitude(absoluteMagnitude, distanceParsecs);

// Result:
// absoluteMagnitude = 1.5
// reverse = 6.5

Dev note: Be aware that not all magnitudes found online are measured in visible light; some include ultraviolet light. This might throw you off. For example, a star might have a luminosity of 100,000 on a sensor while having a luminosity of only 10,000 in the visible range.

Degrees to decimal notation

degToDecimal(degrees, minute, second)

Converts DMS notation (0° 00′ 0.0″) to decimal.


import { degToDecimal } from '@frostoven/alkalurops/mathUtils';

const degrees = 3;
const minutes = 8;
const seconds = 29.733552923256;

const decimal = degToDecimal(degrees, minutes, seconds);

// Result:
// decimal = 3.141592653589793

Right ascension to decimal or radians

raToDecimal(hour, minute, second)
raToRadians(hour, minute, second)

Converts right ascension degrees to decimal.


import { raToDecimal, raToRadians } from '@frostoven/alkalurops/mathUtils';

const hours = 3;
const minutes = 8;
const seconds = 28.5;

const decimal = raToDecimal(hours, minutes, seconds);
const radians = raToRadians(hours, minutes, seconds);

// Result:
// decimal = 47.11875
// radians = 0.8223773269240781

Declination to radians

decToRadians(degrees, minute, second)

Converts declination to radians.


import { decToRadians } from '@frostoven/alkalurops/mathUtils';

const degrees = 3;
const minutes = 8;
const seconds = 28.5;

const radians = decToRadians(degrees, minutes, seconds);

// Result:
// radians = 0.05482515512827187

Convert kelvin to RGB

kelvinToRGB(kelvin, blackbodyLookup)

Converts temperature in kelvin to RGB. Note that, due to the complexity involved in converting kelvin to color, you need to feed it an appropriate lookup table with computations pre-baked in. The parent repo has a lookup table here that you can use (beware that it has gamma corrections pre-applied).

Note that the color is a normalised vector. That is, intensity is discarded to ensure the color can be easily understood by standard software. For any real applications, you're expected to calculate intensity based on some appropriate additional value (such as luminosity).

Example, assuming you've downloaded the above table into your project:

import { kelvinToRGB } from '@frostoven/alkalurops/mathUtils';
const blackbodyLookup = JSON.parse(fs.readFileSync('./blackbody.json'));

const starTemperature = 5772;
const { r, g, b } = kelvinToRGB(starTemperature, blackbodyLookup);

// Result:
//  {
//    r: 1,
//    g: 0.867,
//    b: 0.813,
//  }

Color of the Sun, using the above:


Luminosity to watts

calculateLuminosityWatts(absoluteMagnitude, baseLuminosity='3.0128e28')

Converts absolute magnitude to luminosity in watts. Note that this function uses the decimal.js library to deal with the very large numbers involved, and returns a string instead of a number.


import { calculateLuminosityWatts } from '@frostoven/alkalurops/mathUtils';

const sunAbsoluteMagnitude = 4.83;
const luminosity = calculateLuminosityWatts(sunAbsoluteMagnitude);

// Result:
// luminosity = '3.5991471419311096454e+26'

As a side note, this video from Michel van Biezen really helped me understand luminosities and is worth a watch if you're still learning:

Luminosity relative to the Sun

calculateLuminosity(absoluteMagnitude, baseLuminosity='3.0128e28', sunLuminosity='3.828e26')

Converts absolute magnitude to luminosity relative to the Sun. Note that this function uses the decimal.js library to deal with the very large numbers involved, and returns a string instead of a number.


import { calculateLuminosity } from '@frostoven/alkalurops/mathUtils';

const sunAbsoluteMagnitude = 4.83;
const luminosity = calculateLuminosity(sunAbsoluteMagnitude);

// Result:
// luminosity = '0.9402160767845114'

HR diagram estimation


This loosely mimics how Hertzsprung–Russell diagrams relate spectral classes with luminosities. It's likely to be highly inaccurate for certain types of stars and should be avoided if possible.

Example usage:

import { estimateTemperatureInKelvin } from '@frostoven/alkalurops/hrDiagram';

// Logarithm-like percentage from 0.1 to 1.0, where 0.1 is very hot
// (100,000 K) and 1.0 is cold (800 K or less).
const percentage = 0.5;
const temperature = estimateTemperatureInKelvin(percentage);

// Result:
// temperature = 6000

Have a look at tempRanges inside the hrDiagram.js file for more info on how this relates to spectral classes, it has a lot of comments describing its setup.

Misc / extra

Functions that are useful, but that you might already have your own solutions to.


lerp(lowest, highest, percentage)

Linearly interpolates between two values based on a percentage.


import { lerp } from '@frostoven/alkalurops/mathUtils';

// Find the number halfway between 0 and 100:
const halfwayMark = lerp(0, 100, 0.5);

// Result:
// halfwayMark = 50



Converts degrees to radians. Note that, if you have access to a library such as three.js, you should use their converter instead as its more efficient and includes a richer set of related functions.

import { degreesToRadians } from '@frostoven/alkalurops/mathUtils';

const radians = degreesToRadians(90);

// Result:
// radians = 1.5707963267948966




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