# How can I validate star names and designations?

While most star names and alphanumeric designations I've seen appear to be pure alphanumeric plus space, I have seen designations with both - and + characters in them too.

Is there a reference or standard anywhere for what characters are valid for designations and star names?

I've had a look around for this information, but I can't find any references which would allow me to write a comprehensive BNF syntax or a regular expression to parse and/or validate star names and designations.

In particular for a project I'm working researching, I would like to know if either a , comma or a | pipe character has or might ever be used in a star name or designation.

• Thanks, the reason I'm interested in , and | in particular is that they are currently used as system, and comment separators respectively, and spot checking "α Centauri", it is represented by the text "Alpha Centauri", so I haven't seen any non ASCII characters used so far. – Mark Booth Mar 22 at 17:15
• @MarkBooth I think this might be a bit of an XY problem in that case. If your data source uses , and | as delimiters already, then there should be no problem, or the data would be unusable. If your data source doesn't, but you want to use them, then you should just write a few lines of code to replace any possible occurence with a corresponding escape sequence. This way your program will not suddenly break if somebody decides to name a star ,|'); DROP TABLE STARS;--  – mlk Mar 22 at 20:10