Stargazing apps such as Star Walk must have a database with a list of celestial objects, their names and details and each of their celestial coordinates.

I am interested to know which database these apps use as I am looking to build my own stargazing app for a computing project.

It would be great if someone could help me with this.


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    $\begingroup$ Related: astronomy.stackexchange.com/a/32885 $\endgroup$ – Mike G Aug 31 '19 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ You could look into Star Walk more to see where they get their list. stellarium.org has a public list + there are many other public lists, including the insanely large GAIA2 list (about 1 billion stars): at cosmos.esa.int/web/gaia -- however, some of the larger catalogs (including GAIA) omit brighter stars, which may be exactly the ones you're looking for. Someone should do a community wiki answer this, but I'm too lazy. Feel free to contact me directly (contact info in profile) as I'm working on similar projects. Also, ad.usno.navy.mil/star/star_cats_rec.shtml $\endgroup$ – user21 Sep 1 '19 at 16:45

The Hipparcos is probably all that's really needed. A lot of them add in portions of the Tycho catalog as well. But even the Hipparcos catalog has more stars than what most armatures will need, and it's generally impractical memory wise to use the whole thing. To really go crazy, a torrent for the NOMAD catalog is available. All of those list only individual stars. For things like galaxies and nebula the NCG catalog should do, but there are also the Index Catalogue, and Hershel Catalogs. The most popular catalog would be the Messier, which has no official distribution sources (that I know of), but databases are available if you search this one for example.

If you don't care about the original sources, Stellarium has their star catalogs on their wiki.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, could you please help me out with how I can read these binary catalogue files, do I need to turn them into a .csv file? $\endgroup$ – SidS Sep 2 '19 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ If you're referring to the Stellarium catalogs, I've never used them so can't be of much help. You should start with the Hipparcos catalog, it's in plain ASCII. If you find you still need the Stellarium ones, the format is described here: stellarium.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Star_Catalogue_Format $\endgroup$ – Greg Miller Sep 2 '19 at 23:18

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