Taking Control

Making Almagest work for you

When you open the lid of the control box, this is what you will see (except of course for the time and place information, which should agree with your current time and place):

View of controls

The controls consist of six buttons along the top of the display screen, six knobs below the display, and one further button (the one labelled Go) just below the knobs.

Here is what the buttons do:

Here is what the knobs do:

The knobs are almost self-explanatory.

First get into input-mode, then use the knobs to set the day, the month, the year, the century (useful for historical dates), the hour and the minute.

Then use the 'Shift' button to set the latitude and longitude.

Finally use 'Shift' with the 'Hour' knob (and possibly the 'Minute' knob) to adjust the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), also known as Universal Time (UT). The local time by itself is not enough to determine the configuration of the heavens at a given moment - for example, to tell the height of the sun above the horizon. This is determined by the GMT in conjunction with the latitude and longitude.

If you are uncertain as to how your local time is related to GMT, click here for the GMT at this moment and compare it to the time on your watch.

Finally, the Go button:

When you are satisfied that you have got the time and place information as you want it, press the Go button. The wheels of Almagest will begin to turn, and a few seconds later the planets will be in their correct places, and you will be able to read off their data if so desired.

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