I've downloaded hipparcos catalog from the Strasbourg Universe but whilst there is a lot of information, I can't find the names of the stars that the HipID relates to. There is the wikipedia page which lists some but not all the stars, for instance Zosma (54872) is missing from the list and don't fancy searching for each and every star page to find out the missing details such as what the HIP's name is, how far away it is, etc. Is there a downloadable list which lists the HipID, the name, how far away it is, the constellation etc?


2 Answers 2


Most of the stars in the Hipparcos catalogue do not have a common name.

In the main catalogue file you will also find the Henry Draper (HD) number of the star (if it has one) at columns 391-396. You can use this ID to find the name in the Bright Star Catalogue.

The Bright Star Catalogue contains all stars brighter than magnitude 6.5 (naked eye stars) together with the HD number (columns 26-31) and a Name (columns 5-14), which in fact is the Bayer (greek letter - constellation) or Flamsteed (number - constellation) name.

Using both catalogues you can get the Bayer or Flamsteed name from the HIP identifier. I do not know of any catalogue to get the common name.

The distance of the star can of course be found in the Hipparcos catalogue, which is the reason the Hipparcos catalogue exists. Columns 80-86 give the trigonometric parallax $\varpi$ in milliarcseconds. You can get the distance from: $$d=\frac{1}{\varpi}$$ where the distance $d$ is in parsec and the parallax $\varpi$ is in arc seconds. For the Hipparcos catalogue you should divide the parallax by 1000 as the parallax is given in milliarcseconds.

You can get the constellation for any position in the sky from the algorithm and data in http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/Cat?VI/42

  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a link where there is a list of HD to Common Names that isn't on Wikipedia? I accept not all stars will have common names. $\endgroup$ Jan 26, 2015 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ I'm afraid not. I've been thinking about compiling the list myself, but never got around to it. If you are satisfied with only the MOST common names (in English, i.e. not in arabian or greek lettering) then you might consider compiling the list yourself. There are not that many stars that have common names that are used. -- Most constellations will have only a few (one or two) stars whose names are actually used. In the southern hemisphere most constellations will have 0 stars with common names (where the Bayer name is most often used). $\endgroup$
    – Dieudonné
    Jan 27, 2015 at 8:22
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the time and help. I couldn't get the c code to work sadly but don't have need anymore fortunately for that. $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2015 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. I'm trying to do the same, but I have another questions: where can I download the Hipparcos main catalogue? and also, where can I download the Bright Star Catalogue? $\endgroup$
    – VansFannel
    Mar 4 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ You can get many catalogues from Vizier: vizier.cds.unistra.fr/viz-bin/VizieR. E.g. if you search for "Hipparcos" you will get a list of catalogue files. On the left there is a link to "ReadMe and FTP! Click on the FTP tab and you get a list of all the different files in the catalogue. You can click on those files to download them. For the Bright Star Catalogue do the same, but you will have to go through the list to find the one you want (probably cdsarc.cds.unistra.fr/viz-bin/cat/V/50). $\endgroup$
    – Dieudonné
    Mar 6 at 14:49

Stars have lots of names; it would make the catalogue unwieldy to include them all.

If you are interested in particular objects it is reasonably simple to work this out.

You can do a "search by identifier" at CDS SIMBAD. If I put in your identifier - Zosma - it comes up with nothing. Zosma is in fact the arabic name for delta Leo. Anyhow, if I input delta Leo I find that one of its alternate names (in a long list) is HIP 54872 i.e. it is star 54872 in the Hipparcos catalogue.

I can of course do the the other way around by inputting HIP 54872, but I'm afraid the arabic name is not part of the results, not least I guess because not everyone agrees on what they are or what the spelling is for many.

There are ways of automating this process for lists of queries if you wish.

Surely the Hipparcos catalogue gives you the distance (or parallax) to the star!

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the information, was looking for how I can calculate from the raw data rather than looking it up on a website. $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2015 at 20:58

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