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I am looking for a formal explanation of the following star database format:

Akamar,f|S|A3,02:58:15.696|-44.6,-40:18:16.97|19.0,3.2,2000,0
Menkar,f|S|M2,3:02:16.8|-11.81,4:05:24|-78.76,2.54,2000,0
Mirfak,f|S|F5,03:24:19.37|24.11,49:51:40.25|-26.01,1.8,2000,0
Aldebaran,f|S|K5,4:35:55.2|62.78,16:30:35|-189.36,0.87,2000,0
Rigel,f|S|B8,5:14:32.3|1.87,-8:12:06|-0.56,0.18,2000,0

I know most of the values, but can anyone send me a link to the formal description?

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It looks like XEphem's format of databases as described in the manual's file format description. Does the filename end in .edb ? That is a common extension for these sort of files. Assuming it is, then the format breaks down as (taking the first line for example):

  • A name (Akamar)
  • A "type designation" for the sort of object, in this case f for fixed (as opposed to orbital elements or a bound satellite)
  • A subfield for the fixed type indicating it's a Star
  • The spectral type of the star (A3)
  • Right ascension (RA) and proper motion in RA (02:58:15.696 and -44.6 milliarcsec/year)
  • Declination and proper motion in Dec (-40:18:16.97 and 19.0 milliarcsec/year)
  • Magnitude (brightness) of the object (3.2)
  • Reference epoch for the proper motions (2000.0)
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  • $\begingroup$ perfect answer! I had seen it once but forgotten to bookmark it. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Aendie Sep 4 '19 at 10:21

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