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  1. None of my scripts work with the new version.
  2. Why is there a configuration file now? I want to specify everything on the command line.
  3. How do you show multiple bodies? I want to see the moon when I draw the earth.
  4. I used the -starmap option but I don't see any stars.
  5. I don't see Saturn's rings.
  6. How can I get xplanet to work with KDE?
  7. How can I get xplanet to work with Gnome?
  8. Where can I get higher resolution cloud maps?
  9. Why are the top and bottom of the cloud maps a reflection of the area below/above them?
  10. How can I get Xplanet to draw an image once and exit?
  11. The -animate option doesn't work any more. Will it be back in a future version?

None of my scripts work with the new version.

The 1.0 version of Xplanet is a complete rewrite of the pre-1.0 version. Many of the old options work differently, or not at all. I really should have named the 1.0 version "Xplanet2" to make this clear, since a lot of people were inconvenienced by upgrading. I apologize for this. The old version is still available here, although I will only make bug fixes on this version from now on.


Why is there a configuration file now? I want to specify everything on the command line.

Xplanet now draws multiple bodies. By using a configuration file, you can specify things like marker or arc files for each planet. Doing that on the command line would be a pain.


How do you show multiple bodies? I want to see the moon when I draw the earth.

Xplanet draws multiple bodies by default. Multiple bodies are not drawn if the -projection option is used. If you only see one body in the image, then it means there aren't any other bodies (that xplanet knows about) in the field of view.

The moon orbits at 60 earth radii. You won't often see it in the field of view if the earth is drawn at any appreciable size.

You can modify the magnify parameter in the configuration file to make the earth and moon bigger so that they do fall in the same field of view more often. It won't be accurate, but it might be what you want. See this image in the gallery for an example.


I used the -starmap option but I don't see any stars.

You probably have a small field of view, and there just aren't any stars that fall inside your image. By default, xplanet places the observer at 1000 planetary radii.

Try this:

  xplanet -num_times 1 -label -radius 10 -range 1000 
  

Notice the "fov" line in the label. Decrease the range, and the field of view will get larger and you will start to see stars and other planets in the image. You won't see much until the fov gets to be a few tens of degrees.

Another thing you can do is set the "magnify" option inside the configuration file. See the "multiple bodies" question above - it's really the same question as this one. You might want to use a magnify value of 100 or more to see a lot of stars.


I don't see Saturn's rings.

Saturn's rings are in the plane of its equator. If the observer is at latitude 0, you won't see anything.

Try this:

  xplanet -body saturn -latitude 25
  

The rings are not drawn if the -projection option is used. Rings for the other planets are not implemented.


How can I get xplanet to work with KDE?

From Jeremy Sonander <Jeremy at saros dot com>:
     - Right click on the backdrop, and select "Configure desktop"
     - Select Background
     - Go to the Wallpaper tab and select no wallpaper
     - Go to the Background tab and select Background Program from the Mode tab
     - Click Setup
     - There should already be an Xplanet entry. Select this and click Modify
     - The Command and Preview Command should be
         xplanet --num_times 1 --geometry %xx%y --latitude 20 --output %f.png && mv %f.png %f


How can I get xplanet to work with Gnome?

Modify the following script to suit your preferences:
#!/bin/bash

# Add this script to System->Preferences->Sessions->Startup Programs (GNOME 2)
# or Startup Applications (GNOME 3)

# how long to sleep between drawings, in seconds
sleep=120

# screen size
geometry=1680x1050

# where to keep the desktop image
prefix=${HOME}/Pictures/xplanet.${geometry}
if [ ! -d $prefix ]; then mkdir -p $prefix; fi
logFile=${prefix}/xplanet.log

# location of the xplanet binary
xplanetBin=${HOME}/local/xplanet-1.3.0/bin/xplanet

# your desired command line arguments
xplanetArgs="-body major -random -range 20 -label -labelpos -10+30"

### You don't need to change anything below here

# GNOME 2 and 3 set the background differently
GNOME_VERSION=$(gnome-session --version | cut -d' ' -f2 | cut -d. -f1)

# Alternate between two filenames
currentIndex=0
thisFile=xplanet.${currentIndex}.png

nextTime=$(date +%s)

while true; do

    sleep 1  

    thisTime=$(date +%s)

    if [ $thisTime -lt $nextTime ]; then continue; fi

# check to see if we're still logged in
    loggedIn=$(ps U $USER | grep gnome-session|grep -v grep)
    if [ -z "$loggedIn" ]; then
	echo "exiting at $(date)" >> $logFile
	exit
    fi

    if [ $GNOME_VERSION -eq 2 ]; then
        # GNOME 2
	currentBackground=$(basename $(gconftool -g /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename))
    else
        # GNOME 3
	currentBackground=$(basename $(gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri | sed "s/^\([\"']\)\(.*\)\1\$/\2/g")) # strip the trailing quote
    fi

# Set the name of the output file to be different than the current background
    if [ $currentBackground == $thisFile ]; then
	currentIndex=$((1-$currentIndex))
    fi
    thisFile=xplanet.${currentIndex}.png
    outputFile=${prefix}/${thisFile}

# Remove the current background once the new background has been set
    rmFile=${prefix}/${currentBackground}

# The xplanet command
    ${xplanetBin} ${xplanetArgs} -num_times 1 -output $outputFile -geometry $geometry >> $logFile
    
    if [ $GNOME_VERSION -eq 2 ]; then
        # GNOME 2
	gconftool -t str -s /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename $outputFile
    else
        # GNOME 3
	gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri file://${outputFile}
    fi

# Now get rid of the previous background
    if [ -e $rmFile ]; then 
	sleep 1
	/bin/rm $rmFile
    fi

    nextTime=$((nextTime+sleep))

done
In GNOME 2, select System -> Preferences -> Sessions from the desktop menubar and choose the Startup Programs tab. Browse to where you saved the above script and select it. Click Add. Remove this entry if you don't want XPlanet backgrounds any more. In GNOME 3, choose "Startup Applications" from the gear wheel in the upper right corner and add this script.

Where can I get higher resolution cloud maps?

You can subscribe to high resolution cloud maps at http://xplanetclouds.com.


Why are the top and bottom of the cloud maps a reflection of the area below/above them?

The cloud maps are generated from geostationary satellite images. These satellites cannot see to the poles, so I had to do something to fill in the unobserved area.


How can I get Xplanet to draw an image once and exit?

The default behavior is to run indefinitely. Use -num_times 1 to draw once and exit.


The -animate option doesn't work any more. Will it be back in a future version?

No. Getting this to work on multiple platforms was difficult. It generated a lot of complaints and I didn't like it much anyway. If you want this capability, Celestia is a much better OpenGL planet viewer than Xplanet ever was.