# News

# Developers

**Java**

**New interfaces and interactions**

**Unix/Linux**

**XML Webservices**

**jQuery**

**Miscellaneous**

**VO Partner's corner**

# Outreach, education

**Useful links**

**This is an old revision of the document!**

**Author : François Ochsenbein - Read before any use of available Java classes**

Class able to deal with scientific units and make the appropriate conversions. This class is an application of the “Adopted Standards for Astronomical Catalogues” (http://vizier.u-strasbg.fr/doc/catstd.htx). It is tightly related to the class Converter which can define non-standard conversions.

Basically, a unit consists in a value associated to a unit symbol which is itself related to the SI (Système International). Most of the unit symbols in use in astronomy are included, but it is possible to add the definition of new units with their equivalence via the addSymbol(java.lang.String, java.lang.String, java.lang.String) method.

The class can also deal with units expressed in log scale like **[km/s]** equivalent to log(km/s), or in mag scale which is defined as -2.5log. Values may be transformed between the linear and log scales with the **log**, **mag** and **dexp** methods; conversions may also be performed via the **convert** methods.

The operations on units include the basic operations **plus**, **minus**, **mult**, **div** and **power** and the square root **sqrt**. Addition or multiplications on physical values would however better use the **sum** or **prod** methods, which take care of converting the log scales. To illustrate the differences, assuming that u1 and u2 have the same content of 5mag, the operation u1.add(u2) gives the result 10mag, while u1.sum(u2) gives a value around 4.25mag corresponding to the brightness of a source merging the two brightnesses.

For repetitive operations, like working on values from a table, it is suggested to use the **setValue** method which assigns the value but keeps the unit symbol and definition.

The numbers with their associated unit are edited as a single word (without embedded blanks); the SI equivalent may be edited with the **toStringInSI** method. The numbers in their edited form use an exponential notation mx10+n; the classical form mE+n is also correctly interpreted. Values in sexagesimal notation are also interpreted correctly in **setValue** provided their associated unit is “h:m:s” (time) or “d:m:s” (angle) — note that the quotes ” around the unit symbol are required!

An example of a program reading data all with the same km/s unit could be:

Unit aUnit = new Unit("km/s") ; while (true) { aUnit.setValue(stdin.readLine()) ; System.out.println("Complete Value: " + aUnit); System.out.println(" SI Equivalent: " + aUnit.toStringInSI()); System.out.println(" Unit Meaning: " + aUnit.explainUnit()); }

The recursive (BNF) definition of a **Unit** is as follows:

Full_Unit = factor Complex_unit Complex_Unit = single_Unit | single_Unit OP single_Unit | "log[" single_Unit OP single_Unit "]" | "mag[" single_Unit OP single_Unit "]" single_Unit = extended_UnitSymbol | extended_UnitSymbol power extended_UnitSymbol = UnitSymbol | Magnitude_Prefix UnitSymbol | "(" Full_Unit ")" power = Number | +Number | -Number OP = . | /

Thanks for acknowledging the CDS developer’s resources (libraries, source code, etc.)

© Université de Strasbourg/CNRS

• Contact