AstroPatterns Notes for release 0.1

Table of Contents

What's contained?

This is a pre-alpha release of the AstroPatterns project. Release 0.1 is basically an early rollout of the first chunk of the program, containing the Range functionality and a couple of Range implementations made accessible to an Excel test application. Future releases will continue along the Excel path, enriching the delivered software by the Pattern notion, as announced in the project web site.

What's not contained?

Available Ranges

The AstroPatterns console program

The build contains a small executable called apc.exe. You can run it in an MS-DOS console window. The program can be used for performing some calculations aside from the Excel application. It accepts four parameters:
  1. A start year,
  2. An end year,
  3. The range type as a number, as defined in astropatterns.h
  4. An argument (optional, depending on the used range)
For example, the following command
  apc 1900 2000 2 5;6;0
lists all conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn in the 20th century, whereas
  apc 1900 2000 13 4
will list all apo- and perigees of Mars in the 20th century (there are 94 in total).

The Excel VBA application

The file AstroPatterns.xls contains a mini application for accessing the DLL. You can specify a start and end year, the desired range type and optional arguments for this range. By hitting "Compute", the range will be executed. The Julian dates (in Ephemeris Time), the corresponding civil dates and civil ephemeris times will then be listed in the sheet.

The following screenshot shows an example. The last computation was for all Leo ingresses (i.e. transits over the zodiac position 120°) of Saturn (Swiss Ephemeris object number = 6). You may copy the result values into clipboard for further computations in other applications.

Set Range Type.- You may set the range and its arguments either directly by editing the two grey cells for "Range Type" and "Argument", if you know what you're doing. If you need assistance, there is the popup "Set Range Type". You can enter the necessary data here, and the API argument will be arranged from the data you specified. Basically, the API argument (the grey cell "Argument" in the sheet) contains several numerical values separated by a semicolon, as they are needed to control the specific Range.

Reference Horoscope.- Some Ranges, like Solar, Lunar and Diurnal Horoscopes, require a reference horoscope. You may enter the civil date and universal time in the corresponding cells of the sheet, before starting the computation. Also, the longitude and latitude of a place can be entered.

Setting it up

For using the Excel UI, the DLL's have to be found in one of the %PATH% directories (contrary to usual programs, Excel doesn't accept the current path as location for DLL's). The batch file setup.bat will copy the three DLL's required into the System's Windows directory - which is a place where they will surely be found on any platform.

The ephemeris path

To make computations efficient, the Swiss Ephemeris files are used for all computations. The program cannot know where you have them on your computer. If you download them from, you will usually install them from root, i.e. the proper place will be C:\sweph\ephe. In the current release of AstroPatterns, this location of the ephemeris files will be assumed without further checks. If you like to define another place, you will have to change the VBA module AstroPatternInteraction. Just enter the proper location at the following place in code:

Winterthur, May 15, 2009.
Rüdiger Plantiko