Some useful astronomical links
Thousand and one catalogs in Strasbourg:
The first attempt at a systematic collection of information
about astronomical objects and query them in an easy way was done at the Centre des Donneés
Astronomiques de Strasbourg (CDS)
(http://cdsweb.u-starsbg.fr/CDS.html). Since 1983 the CDS is embarking in a
project to "collect, homogenize, distribute and preserve [on-line] astronomical
information" (F. Genova, personal communication). The information is not raw
data but metadatabases created from observing logs, catalogs, papers and
The services available at the CDS include:
- Dictionary of Astronomical Nomenclature
- "Information & On-line Data in Astronomy" (Egret & Albrecht 1995)
complementary on-line version
- Star*s pages
- ADS mirror
- Opacity project atomic data
- CFHT documentation
- IUE ULDA (French host)
SIMBAD (Set of
Identifications, Measurements, and Bibliography for Astronomical Data) can
be accessed from the WWW (at the CDS --
http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/simbad.html or at the US node
http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/simbad), via telnet or e-mail. SIMBAD has 5,000
individual user accounts in 55 countries. An IP control password will be
available soon that will allow institutional access to the service. As it is
necessary to have an account, prospective users in the US (charges assumed by
NASA) should send a request to
email@example.com. Others (European charges are
covered by ESO and ESA) should enquire at their libraries or
SIMBAD contains more than 1.5M objects, more
than 4.3M identifiers and more than 95k references from 90 journals (since 1950
for stars and since 1983 for extragalactic objects). The data included in
SIMBAD evolves constantly as the measurements are updated and more references
included daily (in 1994 there were 500 new entries per month).
important characteristic is the cross-identification of the objects. SIMBAD
contains a cross-index to several hundred astronomical catalogs and logs of
It can be queried by name, coordinates or reference
code. SIMBAD is the result of a cooperative effort among several institutions.
The bibliography is compiled by the Institute d'Astrophysique in Paris and the
Bordeaux Observatory; the catalogs by the Observatoire du Midi Pyrenées,
the Paris and Besançon Observatories, Astronomisches Recehen-Institut
(Heidel berg) and Institute for Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences;
correction to the databases are made by the Montpellier Observatory.
the case with NED, SIMBAD can also be used in a client/server mode to retrieve
essential information on objects to be included in other programs.
started with SIMBAD was continued with an impressive collection of browsers and
catalogs, a true Astronomer's
(http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/VizieR) is a collection of around 2400
catalogs (1800 already available on-line) that can be queried either by the
specific entry on it, by author name, by keywords, wavelen gth of interest and
the mission or through a map based on a neural network analysis of the keywords
associated to the catalogs. With Hipparcos on line since May 1997 the use of
VizieR has increased exponentially.
VizieR is a cooperative endeavor among
the CDS, the Astronomical Data Center in the US, Russian Academy of Sciences
Institute for Astronomy (INASAN), National Astronomical Observatory of Japan,
the Beijing Observatory in China and the Indian Inter-University Centre for
Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA). The CDS created a standard that is followed
by these data centers and (most importantly!) by the journals in the
publication, presentation and distribution of the data.
include links to SIMBAD and other external archives.
Aladin is an interactive sky atlas that includes images from the Digitized Sky
Survey, and for some regions (the LMC, SMC and galactic plane for example)
special images with 1" resolution. It also includes a cross identification tool
of the objects in the image. Aladin is only available via and X-term version, a
WWW port is being developed at the moment.
Dictionary of Nomenclature of
The Dictionary of Nomenclature of
Astronomical Objects, an up-to date electronic version of the "Second
reference dictionary of the nomenclature of celestial objects" (Lortet et al.
(http://simbad.u-stasbg.fr/cgi-bin/Dic)is a SIMBAD by-product.
Information & On-line Data in Astronomy
At the CDS there is an
on-line version of the book "Information & On-line Data
in Astronomy" (http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/data-online.html) (Egret &
Albrecht 1995). Each section of the book has links to most of the archives and
centers of interest.
(http://vizier.u-strasbg.fr/starpages.html) a collection of directories,
dictionaries and astronomical databases:
(http://vizier.u-strasbg.fr/starheads.html) list with around 4000
astronomers world wide
(http://vizier.u-strasbg.fr/starworlds.html): lists more than 6000
organizations world wide
- StarBits (
http://vizier.u-strasbg.fr/starbits.html): lists of around 115,000
acronyms and abbreviations .