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Astro::App::Satpass2::TUTORIAL - Tutorial on the use of Astro::App::Satpass2


This package was created to provide a flexible way to predict satellite positions, passes, and visibility. Unfortunately, with flexibility comes complexity, more often than not. This document's purpose is to get you up and running, and walk you through some of the things the package can do.

The simplest way to access Astro::App::Satpass2 functionality is through the satpass2 script, and that what this tutorial does.

To get any real use out of this package, you need satellite orbital data. The best source is, but this requires registration, so this tutorial will assume you are not registered and use data from other sources. Most other sources are redistributions of Space Track data, and will not be as up-to-date, but are generally good enough for non-critical computations.


The first thing that needs to be done, of course, is to install Astro::App::Satpass2 itself. The recommended way to do this is normally to use one of the CPAN tools. With cpan, the installation would be simply

 $ cpan
 ... front matter ...
 cpan> install Astro::App::Satpass2
 ... cpan downloads, tests, and installs this package
     and all dependencies ...
 cpan> exit

You could equally well use CPANPLUS (cpanp) or cpanminus (cpanm); the choice is yours. If you are using Active State's ActivePerl, you should use their ppi tool to install distribution Astro-App-Satpass2.

There are several Perl modules that this package considers optional, but which will be used if they are available. Unless stated otherwise, the examples in this tutorial assume that optional module Astro::SpaceTrack is installed, so that you can download satellite orbital data directly into Astro::App::Satpass2.

The author also recommends optional module Date::Manip, but since the latest version of this module only installs under Perl 5.10 and above, this tutorial will not assume it is installed. When it is not, Astro::App::Satpass2 uses a home-grown ISO-8601-ish date parser. All dates specified in the examples will be compatible with both date parsers.

It does not matter whether you install optional modules before or after installing Astro::App::Satpass2; it will use them if it finds them.


There are several possibilities for configuring Astro::App::Satpass2. This tutorial will cover the following:

Configuring from a satpass initialization file

If you already have configured the initialization file for the satpass script packaged in the Astro-satpass distribution, Astro::App::Satpass2 will read this script, making allowances for at least some of the incompatibilities between the two tools.

Since the intent is to remove the satpass compatibility when satpass is retired, you may at some time wish to convert your satpass initialization file to a Astro::App::Satpass2 initialization file. To do this from inside the satpass2 script, simply issue the command

 satpass2> save -changes

The name and location of the saved file depend on your operating system, but will be reported when you issue this command. Once the file is saved, you can display its location using

 satpass2> initfile

The configuration file's location is actually determined using File::HomeDir->my_dist_config( 'Astro-App-Satpass2' ). See the File::HomeDir documentation for details.

Subsequent runs of the satpass2 script will initialize from the new file. This form of the save command just saves changes from the default configuration. If you wish to save all configuration, omit the -changes option.

Be aware that save only saves the configuration of the Astro::App::Satpass2 object and its related helper objects. If your initialization file does other things, like download data and make predictions, these will not be written to the new file, and you must add them back by hand.

Configuring manually

Before you do any predictions, Astro::App::Satpass2 needs to know where you are. The embedded Astro::SpaceTrack object will also need some configuration so it knows how to fetch data from its various sources.

Specifically, you need your latitude, longitude (from Greenwich England), and height above sea level. The height is least critical, and any reasonable guess will probably work.

Latitude and longitude can be specified in either decimal degrees (e.g. 40.5) or degrees, minutes and seconds (e.g. 40d30m0s). South latitude and West longitude are negative.

Height is assumed to be in meters, but you can be specify it in feet by appending 'ft'. For example, '10' specifies 10 meters, as does '10m', but '10ft' specifies 10 feet.

Because it would be painful to specify your position every time you use it, Astro::App::Satpass2 allows a configuration file. The example that follows will end by creating a configuration file and storing the configuration in it.

And here, finally, is the example. We make the egregious assumption that the President of the United States uses this software, so we use the executive mansion as our location.

 $ satpass2
 ... front matter displayed ...
 satpass2> # This is a comment, as is any line beginning
 satpass2> # with a hash mark ('#'). Comments and blank
 satpass2> # lines are ignored.
 satpass2> # Enter the name of our location. This is for
 satpass2> # information only, and will be displayed by
 satpass2> # the location command. Command arguments that
 satpass2> # contain spaces need to be quoted.
 satpass2> set location '1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC'
 satpass2> # Set our latitude and longitude.
 satpass2> set latitude 38d53m55.5s longitude -77d2m15.7s
 satpass2> # Set our height above sea level.
 satpass2> set height 54.72ft
 satpass2> # Some of our data sources will try to fetch
 satpass2> # their data from Space Track when we ask for
 satpass2> # it. We are assuming no Space Track username,
 satpass2> # so we tell them to just give us what they have.
 satpass2> spacetrack set direct 1
 satpass2> # Some data sources come either with or without the
 satpass2> # actual name of the spacecraft. We want the name
 satpass2> # if it is available.
 satpass2> spacetrack set with_name 1
 satpass2> # Save our configuration. All we really need to
 satpass2> # save are the changes from the default.
 satpass2> save -changes
 satpass2> # We can now exit. When we restart, we will get
 satpass2> # the configuration we just set up.
 satpass2> exit

Geocoding the address

Looking up a latitude and longitude can be a bit of a pain. If you live in the United States, Astro::App::Satpass2 can geocode your address, and then query the U. S. Geological Survey for your height above sea level.

This requires two more optional modules: Geo::Coder::OSM and Geo::WebService::Elevation::USGS. With these installed, the address entry in the previous example becomes

 satpass2> geocode '1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC USA'

When you issue this command, the geocoded location is displayed, formatted as set commands:

 set location '1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest,
   Washington, District of Columbia USA'
 set latitude 38.8976989
 set longitude -77.036553192281
 set height 18.81

If more than one result is returned, all are displayed but no location is set. If no result is returned, an exception is raised.


The main use of this package is probably predicting when satellites are going to pass over the observer.

Visible Passes

This is the functionality that tells you when you can go out and see a satellite, assuming clear skies and a satellite large enough to be visible. Visible passes require three things to happen:

* The satellite must be above the horizon (of course!),

* The Sun must be shining on the satellite (they do not have lights), and

* The Sun must not be shining where you are (otherwise the sky is too bright to see the satellite).

The example is for the International Space Station, and we will use NASA's predictions of its orbit over the next week as a starting point.

 $ satpass
 ... front matter ...
 satpass2> # Tell the Astro::SpaceTrack object to fetch us
 satpass2> # all the predicted orbital elements from NASA's
 satpass2> # Human Space Flight web site. We include the
 satpass2> # effective date, since the data may include
 satpass2> # planned changes in orbit.
 satpass2> spacetrack spaceflight -all -effective
 satpass2> # Make the default pass prediction, which is for
 satpass2> # seven days starting today at noon.
 satpass2> pass

You may want to print this information and stick it on your refrigerator. Astro::App::Satpass2 has something a bit like Unix output redirection to get your information into a file:

 satpass2> pass >pass.txt

After which you open pass.txt in some simple editor and print it. A word-processing editor will probably not work satisfactorily unless you set the entire document to a mono-space font.

You may want a prediction for some specific date. The following example does a prediction for the night of April 1 2011 (specifically, for one day starting at noon on that day) and saves the output in april_fool.txt.

 satpass2> pass '2011/4/1 12:00:00' +1 >april_fool.txt

Note that the date is quoted because of the space between the date and the time. If you had Date::Manip installed, you could specify the date more flexibly, as (say) '1-Apr-2011 noon'.

Different Viewing Conditions

Astro::App::Satpass2 assumes a few things about viewing conditions where you are. These may or may not be true. If they are not, you can change them.

The settings discussed below are part of your configuration, and can be saved using

 satpass2> save -changes

as discussed above. If you have already saved your configuration you will be asked whether you want to overwrite the old configuration. Any answer beginning with 'y' (case-insensitive) will be considered true. Any other answer will be considered false.

The horizon

Astro::App::Satpass2 assumes that you do not have a very good horizon, and that you can not see a satellite until it is at least 20 degrees above the horizon, and therefore does not report passes that do not get at least 20 degrees above the horizon. If you are at the beach you may be able to see to within 5 degrees of the horizon. You can configure Astro::App::Satpass2 to report passes more than 5 degrees above the horizon by

 satpass2> set horizon 5

If you are on the top of a mountain, you may even be able to see a bit over the normal horizon. If you can see 2 degrees over the horizon,

 satpass2> set horizon -2


Astro::App::Satpass2 does not predict visible passes that occur during the day, and it defines day as any time after the start of morning twilight and before the end of evening twilight. These in turn are defined as the point when the upper limb of the Sun passes above or below a given distance below the horizon.

By default, Astro::App::Satpass2 uses civil twilight to decide whether it is day or night. This is defined as the point at which the upper limb of the Sun is 6 degrees below the horizon. For a dimmer satellite, you may want to use nautical twilight (9 degrees below the horizon) or astronomical twilight (12 degrees below the horizon). You can change to nautical twilight using

 satpass2> set twilight nautical

and similarly for astronomical. Or, you can define your own twilight by entering it in degrees, remembering that degrees below the horizon are negative. If you are looking for the International Space Station, you may be able to spot it with the Sun only 3 degrees below the horizon:

 satpass2> set twilight -3

All Passes

If you are interested in communicating with the satellite rather than looking at it, all you care about is whether the satellite is above the horizon, not whether it is day or night or whether the satellite is illuminated by the Sun. In this case you want to

 satpass2> set visible 0

which turns off the latter two checks and reports any pass of the satellite over your location, visible or not. To go back to predicting just visible passes,

 satpass2> set visible 1


I know of no scientific value to these, but they are fun to watch. The Iridium constellation is 66 satellites (plus spares) used for satellite telephone service. The original-design Iridium satellites are triangular prisms, with one main mission antenna leaning out from each face of the prism. The main mission antennae are about the size of a door, flat, and shiny, and because the satellites are maintained in a precise orientation in orbit, it can be predicted when one of these antennae will reflect the Sun to a given position. A bright flare can be brighter than Venus at its brightest, and under good conditions is visible during the day.

Predicting Flares

Predicting flares is a bit like predicting satellite passes - you download the orbital data and predict the flare from the data.

 $ satpass2
 ... front matter ...
 satpass2> # Download the data on Iridium satellites.
 satpass2> spacetrack celestrak iridium
 satpass2> # Predict flares for the next seven days,
 satpass2> # starting today at noon.
 satpass2> flare

This will take a while, because it has to cover all 66 in-service Iridium satellites, 24 hours per day. And this does not include spares, which are usually kept under control, just to prove that they work. If you want them as well,

 satpass2> flare -spare

If you want a copy of all this to stick on your refrigerator door, capture it to a file in the same way you captured the pass data:

 satpass2> flare >flare.txt

If you want to append it to the pass.txt file created for satellite passes,

 satpass2> flare >>pass.txt

just as you would under Unix.

But maybe you are not interested in daylight flares. If not,

 satpass2> flare -noday

If you are also not interested in flares at 4:00 AM,

 satpass2> flare -noam -noday

or equivalently,

 satpass2> flare -pm

The -am, -day, and -pm options select which flares are reported, by time. The -am option selects flares from midnight until the start of morning twilight; -day selects flares from the start of morning twilight to the end of evening twilight, and -pm selects flares from the end of evening twilight until midnight.

The options can be negated by prefixing no to the option name (e.g. -noday). If you specify no options, they are all considered to be asserted. If you specify no asserted options, all unspecified options are considered to be asserted. Otherwise, only explicitly-asserted options are considered to be asserted.

If you do not want flares for a particular part of the day, calculations for that part of the day are not done. This can speed the prediction process.

Different Flare Visibility

Flare brightness is measured in magnitude, a system used by astronomers to measure the brightness of stars. This system goes back a couple thousand years, and originally classified the brightest stars as first magnitude, the less-bright stars as second magnitude, and so on. The system has been formalized to a logarithmic scale in which a brightness difference of five magnitudes represents a light intensity difference of a factor of 100. Brighter stars may have negative magnitudes (Sirius is about -1.4).

Obviously a flare that would be fairly bright at night might be completely invisible during the day, so day and night have separate settings to control the minimum reportable brightness. Astro::App::Satpass2 uses the flare_mag_day setting to determine the dimmest reportable flare during the day; this defaults to -6. The dimmest reportable flare at night is determined by the flare_mag_night setting, which defaults to 0.

In order to duplicate (fairly closely) the Iridium flares reported by, you will want to tweak Astro::App::Satpass2's settings a bit:

 satpass2> set twilight -1.8 flare_mag_night -1

seems to come fairly close.


There are other customizations of the output that you may want.


If you want to display your location, just issue the

 satpass2> location

command. The output of this can be directed to a file, just as the output of any other command. For a nice list of passes and flares for your refrigerator door, you can do something like this:

 satpass2> location >this_week.txt
 satpass2> spacetrack spaceflight -all -effective
 satpass2> pass >>this_week.txt
 satpass2> spacetrack celestrak iridium
 satpass2> flare -pm >>this_week.txt
 satpass2> exit

Date and Time Format

By default, date and time are displayed in an ISO-8601-ish format. If you want something friendlier, you can specify a strftime (3) format independently for the date and the time. These settings can be saved to your initialization file just like any other setting.

The date and time format settings belong to the formatter object, which is a separate subsystem all to itself. So:

 satpass2> # Display the date as weekday day-month-year
 satpass2> formatter date_format '%a %d-%b-%Y'
 satpass2> # Display the time as 1-12 AM or PM
 satpass2> formatter time_format '%I:%M:%S %p'
 satpass2> # Save the configuration, overwriting any previous one
 satpass2> save -changes -overwrite

The Julian Calendar

No, there were no satellites in orbit when the last known holdout (Romania) adopted the Gregorian calendar. But the Sun and Moon have been rising and setting much longer than satellites have.

If you install DateTime::Calendar::Christian and properly configure satpass2, you will be able to both parse and display dates in both the Gregorian and Julian calendars.

Parsing Julian Calendar Dates

The primary date parser is Date::Manip, which does not support Julian dates. But if you use the ISO8601 parser, you can configure it to parse a date as either Julian or Gregorian, depending on the date itself.

What you have to do, in general, is use date parser Astro::App::Satpass2::ParseTime::ISO8601, and set its back_end attribute to 'DateTime::Calendar::Christian'. You must, of course have this module installed, and you can shorten the setting to just 'Christian'. You should see the documentation for full details, but with the satpass2 script the configuration would look something like this:

 satpass2> # Configure the ISO8601 parser, with back end
 satpass2> set time_parser ISO8601,back_end=Christian

The DateTime::Calendar::Christian module takes, as one of the arguments to new(), a reform date, which defaults to the date it was first adopted in Italy, on October 15 1582 (Gregorian). If you want something different you can append it to the value of back_end and quote the whole value. The quotes must be either escaped or surrounded with outer quotes to protect them from the command parser. For example, to set the UK reform date, use

 satpass2> set time_parser "ISO8601,back_end='Christian,reform_date=uk'"

Formatting Julian Calendar Dates

Here, you need to use the DateTime date formatter, which will be the default if the DateTime module is installed. Since DateTime is a prerequisite for DateTime::Calendar::Christian, installing this will make the proper date formatter the default. But before you can actually get Julian output dates, you need to configure the time formatter to use this class. Because the date formatter is managed by the formatter object, the satpass2 commands to configure it are

 satpass2> # Configure the time formatter and reform date
 satpass2> formatter time_formatter \
 > DateTime::Strftime,back_end=Christian

A non-default reform date is specified the same way as for the parser, and the two reform dates need not be the same.

The DateTime strftime formatter also supports, as a special case, format pattern '%{calendar_name}', which renders as either 'Julian' or 'Gregorian' as appropriate. Given

 satpass2> formatter time_format \
 > '%{year_with_era}-%m-%d %{calendar_name}'

The date of the assassination of Julius Caesar would be displayed as

 '44BC-03-15 Julian'

In point of fact, the way the %{calendar_name} machinery works is that if the back end provides the is_julian() method, you get 'Julian' if that method returns a true value, and 'Gregorian' if it does not. If the back end does not provide the is_julian() method, whatever follows 'DateTime::Calendar::' in the back end's class name is used. If the back end does not begin with 'DateTime::Calendar::', 'Gregorian' is used.

Formatting Julian calendar dates in Astro::App::Satpass2::FormatTime::DateTime::Cldr is unsupported, because DateTime::Calendar::Christian lacks the format_cldr() method. You may find that it works, because this module patches in format_cldr() when it loads DateTime::Calendar::Christian if it finds that that method does not already exist. But you may find that it does not work, because the patch messes with the internals of DateTime::Calendar::Christian, and those might change without warning. Caveat coder.


This section covers things that are beyond just getting the application up and running.

Time Zones

By default, times are reported in your local zone. Summer time/daylight saving time is accounted for (unless the underlying Perl is broken), even when predictions cross the boundary between standard and summer time. But you may want some other zone. There are two cases here, depending on what optional modules you have installed.

Without any optional modules, the only supported zone other than your default local zone is GMT. You can get GMT output by

 satpass2> formatter gmt 1

The default ISO-8601-ish time parser does not have a corresponding setting, but does allow you to append a 'Z' to the time to specify GMT.

The default formatter object also has a tz setting, but this is unsupported because it relies on the TZ environment variable, and the author has no control over whether your OS' POSIX code supports this. You can try it with something like

 satpass2> formatter tz MST7MDT

(for Mountain time). If it works, fine. If not, you can make it work by installing DateTime and DateTime::TimeZone. Doing this also gives you the Olson database zone names (e.g. America/New_York) if you prefer these.

Similarly, if you install the optional Date::Manip module, you can set a default input zone other than your own by something like

 satpass2> time_parser tz MST7MDT

The time_parser and formatter time zones are set separately not only so that you can make them different, but because the author can not guarantee that the underlying modules will accept the same settings.

Command Macros

A command macro is simply a named set of Astro::App::Satpass2 commands, somewhat like a bash shell function. A command macro is executed by giving its name, so in essence command macros are ways of creating new commands.

The definition of a macro is simply the list of commands it issues. Each command is a single argument, and therefore probably needs to be quoted. When the command to be issued itself contains quotes, you either use a different style (single versus double quotes) or you escape the quote mark with a back slash ('\'). A simple macro definition would be something like

 satpass2> macro defined hi 'echo "Hello world!"'

When a command macro is executed it can be passed arguments. The details of how these work will be deferred for the sake of getting on with the tutorial, but a case of interest is the fact that "$@" (the quotes being part of the syntax) expands to all the arguments passed to the macro.

Multiple Locations

What this topic actually describes is a way to have multiple locations on tap, so that if you are going to be at point 'A' from Monday through Wednesday, and point 'B' Thursday and Friday you can easily switch between them.

The first thing our hypothetical user needs is a command macro to set the location to his or her home location. The definition comes from our first example:

 satpass2> macro define home \
 > "set location '1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC'" \
 > "set latitude 38d53m55.5s longitude -77d2m15.7s" \
 > "set height 54.72ft"

Normally, this would all have to go on the same line, but Astro::App::Satpass2 recognizes an end-of-line back slash as a continuation mark, so all four lines above are parsed as though they are the same line. Astro::App::Satpass2 changes the prompt for a continuation line, just to keep you on your toes.

Now we need another place to visit -- say, the residence of the Prime Minister of Canada:

 satpass2> macro define sussex_drive \
 > "set location '24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON'" \
 > "set latitude 45.444348 longitude -75.693934" \
 > "set height 50m"

Now, to switch locations to the Prime Minister's residence, just say

 satpass2> sussex_drive
 satpass2> # and to confirm it,
 satpass2> location
 Location: 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON
           Latitude 45.4443, longitude -75.6939, height 50 m

And to return home, just say

 satpass2> home

Of course, these are really only useful if they are in your initialization file. And they can be, with the usual incantation:

 satpass2> save -changes -overwrite

Temporary Settings

As you recall from the section on IRIDIUM FLARES, if you are trying to imitate the results from Heavens Above you have to tweak the default settings a bit. These settings stay tweaked until you put them back to their original values. If you always want the tweaks when you do Iridium flare predictions, you can put them into a command macro along with the flare prediction. Values of settings can be localized to a macro (among other things), so that the old values are restored when the macro exits. The example could be defined as a command macro like this:

 satpass2> macro define iridium_flare \
 > 'localize twilight flare_mag_night' \
 > 'set twilight -1.8 flare_mag_night -1' \
 > 'flare "$@"'

Note the use of single quotes rather than double quotes to enclose the flare command. In double quotes, or outside quotes altogether, the $ is magical, and introduces something to be interpolated into the command. Exactly what is interpolated depends on what follows the $. The $@ is replaced by the arguments of the command macro (or whatever), but we do not want this to happen until the command macro is expanded. Enclosing the $@ in double quotes ensures that macro arguments containing spaces remain single arguments; without the double quotes they would become multiple arguments.

So if you say

 satpass2> iridium_flare -noam 'today 12:00' +3

The twilight and flare_mag_night settings will be changed, the flare prediction will be run, and the old twilight and flare_mag_night settings will be restored. Because the macro arguments get passed to the flare command, the prediction will be for the three days starting at noon today, and will exclude flares occurring between midnight and the beginning of morning twilight.

Note that only attributes of the Astro::App::Satpass2 object (those set with a set command) can be localized; attributes of helper objects can not be. But you can localize the entire helper object. For example, for a temporary change to the Astro::SpaceTrack object,

 satpass2> localize spacetrack

inside the appropriate scope. Yes, you can localize outside a command macro (or any other localization scope, such as inside a source file or a begin-end block), but it does no good to do so, because the old value is not restored until you exit, and what good is that?

Reporting Position

By default, anything that reports a satellite position does it in elevation, azimuth and range. You may want some other units, such as right ascension and declination.

Deciding what to display is the job of the formatter helper object. Normally this is an Astro::App::Satpass2::Format::Template, and for the full story you should see the documentation to that class.

But there are a number of prepackaged coordinate sets:

 az_rng --------- azimuth (with bearing) and range
 azel ----------- elevation and azimuth (with bearing)
 azel_rng ------- elevation, azimuth (with bearing) and range
 equatorial ----- right ascension and declination
 equatorial_rng - right ascension, declination and range

By default, you get azel_rng, but you can get any of the others via the local_coord() method of the formatter object. For example, if you want right ascension, declination and range, just

 satpass2> formatter local_coord equatorial_rng

User-defined Position Coordinates

Astro::App::Satpass2::Format::Template defines these local coordinates in terms of Template-Toolkit templates, so you can add definitions, or change the existing definitions, in the same way that you would change one of the reporting templates, using that formatter's template() method. For example, to make azel report azimuth first,

 satpass2> formatter template azel <<'EOD'
 > [% data.azimuth( bearing = 2 ) %]
 >     [%= data.elevation %]
 > EOD

See the Astro::App::Satpass2::FormatValue documentation for what format effectors are available. Inside the template, the data object will contain the data you want to format.


Code Macros

In addition to Command Macros, a macro can be defined using Perl code. This allows one to add new functionality to Astro::App::Satpass2, over and above that provided by interactive methods.

Code macros are currently unsupported, though it might be better to call them experimental. The real situation is that I have been looking for ways to plug bits of code into the system, and handling them like macros seemed to be the best way. So I knocked something together along those lines, and played with it. Further experience may show that the interface or the implementation was ill-chosen, or even that there is something deeply flawed about the whole idea. The bottom line is that if you want this to become supported, you should tell me what you like or do not like about it.

In order to implement code macros, a number of previously-private methods of Astro::App::Satpass2 have been exposed. The names of these begin with a double underscore (__), and these are documented as unsupported. These will not go away even if code macros do, but their calling sequences may change. On the other hand, if code macros become fully supported, these will too.

A code macro is simply a Perl subroutine which is called by Astro::App::Satpass2 more or less as though it were an interactive method. In the following discussion, some words are used with particular meanings:


means that the code macro will not work unless this is done;


means that the code macro will work without doing this, but you might not like the results;


means that the code macro will work without doing this, but you might want the functionality described.

Now, Perl subroutines do not live in a vacuum. They in fact live in Perl modules; that is, .pm files defining a package whose name reflects the path name of the file. A module that defines a code macro can be installed like a normal Perl module, but can also live in the lib/ directory in the user's Astro::App::Satpass2 configuration directory (which is the default for $satpass2->macro( load => ... )), or anywhere if you specify the location via the lib option (e.g. $satpass2->macro( load => { lib => something }, ...).

In addition to the things that go into making a Perl module, a module that provides code macros:

must be a subclass of Astro::App::Satpass2;
must import __arguments() from Astro::App::Satpass2::Utils.

In order to work as a code macro, a subroutine:

must have the Verb() attribute

Subroutine attributes are declared after the name (and signature if any) and a colon.

The contents of the parentheses that follow the attribute name will be split on white space and used as Getopt::Long option specifications should these be needed to process the subroutine's arguments.

may have the Configure() attribute

If this attribute is present, the contents of the parentheses will be used to configure the Getopt::Long object prior to processing the subroutine's arguments.

must call __arguments() to unpack @_

This subroutine is imported from Astro::App::Satpass2::Utils. See this documentation for details of its use.

should report warnings and exceptions properly

In order to have warnings and exceptions be handled consistently with the rest of Astro::App::Satpass2, $self->whinge() should be called instead of warn or Carp::carp(), $self->wail() should be called instead of die or Carp::croak() >, and $self->weep() instead of Carp::confess() >.

must return human-readable results

This almost goes without saying, since it is the string returned by the subroutine which will be displayed.

The arguments passed to your code macro will be, in order, the invoking Astro::App::Satpass2 object, a reference to the hash generated by parsing the arguments, and the non-option arguments, in order.

Your package may define a code macro named after_load(). If this is defined, it will be called as soon as the package has been successfully loaded. The arguments will be those of the macro load itself.

You should be aware that the first argument to your code macro subroutine is the Astro::App::Satpass2 object that called it. This is not reblessed into the package that contains the code macro, so it is not an invocant in the usual sense. This has several implications, including:

If you want to call your code macro from inside Perl code, you must call it as

 $satpass2->dispatch( your_code_macro => ... );

and capture any output that is returned. Note that you can still specify options either command-line style or as a hash reference in the second argument to dispatch().

You should be cautious about calling dispatch() inside your code macro, except perhaps as return $self->dispatch( ... ). If you call it internally, you probably need to be sure you concatenate the output of your calls, and return that.

A number of methods of Astro::App::Satpass2 may be useful in your code macro, and in fact were exposed for the use of code macros. These include:


This can be used to obtain bodies from the observing list or the sky, optionally filtered. See especially the bodies and sky options.


This can be used to pass the raw data generated by your code macro to a Template-Toolkit template. It returns the resultant text.


This can be used to parse angle arguments. The return is (usually) the angle in degrees.


This can be used to parse distance arguments. The return is the distance in kilometers.


This can be used to parse time arguments. The return is a Perl time.


Thomas R. Wyant, III wyant at cpan dot org


Copyright (C) 2011-2018 by Thomas R. Wyant, III

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl 5.10.0. For more details, see the full text of the licenses in the directory LICENSES.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but without any warranty; without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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