17 votes
Accepted

How is the star 'Spica' pronounced?

There is no general accepted pronunciation. Spica is a Latin word and there is no globally uniform pronunciation for Latin. How you pronounce Latin depends on your mother tongue as Latin most often is ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 18.9k
16 votes

Why nobody cares to give the nearest stars better names?

There are a thousand or so stars within 50 light years, most are very dim red dwarfs, and most are unexceptional. If we invent "names" then we would have to learn the names of all the stars. If we ...
James K's user avatar
  • 119k
8 votes
Accepted

How can I calculate the uncertainties in magnitude like the CDS does?

That is because what is measured is a flux and the flux errors are in the DR2 catalogue. Since magnitudes are based on the logarithm of the flux, then there is no straightforward correspondence (...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 149k
8 votes

Looking for star database

Best chance would be the Hipparcos catalogue. The first set of Gaia data will be released Mid-September 2016, but I don't know if it will be more accurate than Hipparcos already. All stars within ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 2,265
8 votes

How can I validate star names and designations?

As far as I know, there is no standard that defines valid characters for a stellar designation. Sometimes people write using Greek letters (e.g. "α Centauri") and there are many odd ...
Anders Sandberg's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Milky Way position on the sky

There is a very nice project called d3-celestial by Olaf Frohn on github. In contains a data file describing the Milky Way as polygons, see here. A demo showing this Milky Way can be found here. And ...
mtewes's user avatar
  • 507
7 votes
Accepted

Difference between J2000, FK5 and ICRS coordinate systems? Which one does the Yale Bright Star Catalog use?

The questions confuses things: J2000 is the epoch / equinox in which the catalogue is in. This defines the reference point in time for Right Ascension and Declination. See e.g. here https://en....
Christian Herenz's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Is there a centralized database of all stars?

The SIMBAD database hosted by the Centre de Donnees Astronomique de Strasbourg is the closest you are likely to find to a centralised database. http://simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/sim-basicIdent=m33&...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 149k
7 votes

Are more stars or more galaxies cataloged, currently, and how has the ratio evolved over time?

There are a few easy points known to the graph of (#galaxies known) / (# stars known) over time: let‘s say 2000 years ago: 5000 stars known, galaxies 1, as this is roughly the number of stars that ...
Grimaldi's user avatar
  • 684
6 votes
Accepted

Can it be assumed that every star in an amateur astrophotograph has been cataloged?

Variable stars might challenge this. A distant Mira type variable or recurrent nova could have been at its minimum when the (for example) Gaia catalogue was being assembled, but appear in an amateur ...
James K's user avatar
  • 119k
5 votes

Why nobody cares to give the nearest stars better names?

Almost without exception, the stars that have proper names are those stars that are visible to the naked eye. The rest require an instrument such as a telescope to be seen. While a proper name may ...
Mick's user avatar
  • 1,410
4 votes

Looking for star database

Okay, so...this was useful info to have for me too, so I went and mined the TGAS database for the info, and linked to it at the bottom of this post. Stellar Classification and potential exoplanets ...
GrasshopperTaji's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Open access table of visible stars with magnitude, coordinates, and possibly color?

The Hipparcos catalogue by van Leeuwen (2007) contains all the information you require, plus estimates of distance from parallax. It is open and free to use for scientific purposes. http://vizier.u-...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes
Accepted

Why nobody cares to give the nearest stars better names?

Thanks to barrycarter I now know that International Astronomical Union is very much aware of the need for better names: Alphanumeric designations are useful for astronomers to officially identify ...
z33k's user avatar
  • 227
4 votes
Accepted

Why does the Simbad page "A.A. Michelson's Jovian Galilean-satellite interferometer" show data for Betelgeuse?

The SIMBAD link might be there just because Osterbrock's 2004 AAS presentation about the interferometer mentioned an observation of Betelgeuse. This would be consistent with the policy stated in ...
Mike G's user avatar
  • 18.6k
4 votes

By type, how far out do we have good star maps?

Only rough numbers can be given and I would base them on the Gaia EDR3 catalogue since you are demanding that distances are known and no other big catalogue will have parallaxes (and hence distances, ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes

How do I intelligently revise the Yale Bright Star Catalog?

My first stop would be to check with Simbad and query for all stars with mag < 3.5. It turns out it lists radial velocity data for nearly every of the returned objects (there's a hand full of ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 18.9k
4 votes
Accepted

Strange spectral types in star catalogs

Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive list of all these peculiarities and their meaning. Spectral classification also is not always unique or unambiguous. "/" denotes stars which could be ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 18.9k
3 votes

Who discovered Wolf 359?

For me, it looks like Max Wolf discovered the movements of the Wolf 359, see the (German) original publication from 1918 "Zwei Sterne mit großer Eigenbewegung in Leo," but he does not ...
B--rian's user avatar
  • 5,616
3 votes

Difference between J2000, FK5 and ICRS coordinate systems? Which one does the Yale Bright Star Catalog use?

FK5 is based on optical observations. ICRS is based on radio data. Radio observations (ironically) are much higher accuracy than optical through the application of long baseline interferometry. Other ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 306
3 votes
Accepted

For stars around 13th magnitude, are their entries in various catalogues usually linked, or does one do this manually?

If you search by position in the CDS Simbad database by position it will give you entries in all three of these catalogues. If you search by name, then it will look for matched objects in these three ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 149k
3 votes
Accepted

How can I convert Bayer/Flamsteed designations to Hipparchos numbers?

As the names and numbers are essentially arbitrary, the Hipparcos designation cannot be calculated from the Bayer or Flamsteed designation. Instead you have to look up the star in a database. There ...
James K's user avatar
  • 119k
3 votes

Is there a complete edition of the Cambridge Catalogue of Radio Sources (esp. 3C) available digitally?

You should use 3CRR. It contains a few sources of large angular diameter that were missed in the original surveys. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Cambridge_Catalogue_of_Radio_Sources#3CRR https:/...
Tony Willis's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Is there a complete edition of the Cambridge Catalogue of Radio Sources (esp. 3C) available digitally?

You can use VizieR to retrieve the whole catalogue (3C and revised 3C). VizieR is an online astronomical catalogue that allows you to access a quite comprehensive list of catalogues (16,929, as of ...
MBR's user avatar
  • 5,488
3 votes

How can I calculate the uncertainties in magnitude like the CDS does?

For Gaia EDR3: Note (G1): Note on magnitude errors: They are obtained with a simple propagation of errors with the formulas ...
Lu_astro's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Is there a website out there where I can find/compare data on stellar parameters for the brightest stars?

As you’ve discovered, there are a lot of different catalogs out there, and many ways to search them. It would help if you could narrow your question a bit - what kind of data are you looking for? ...
Eric Jensen's user avatar
  • 4,864
3 votes
Accepted

Accurate catalogue of the Stars according to Hemisphere

Note that astronomers generally are not concerned with hemispheres, so it is unlikely that you will find a catalog that is only for a specific hemisphere. Catalog generally cover the entire sky. Also, ...
JohnHoltz's user avatar
  • 7,952
3 votes
Accepted

In how far is Hipparcos data still being used?

The Hipparcos results can be used as an earlier epoch to improve the astrometry produced by Gaia. This was the linchpin of data release 1 (DR1), but less important in DR2 and DR3, because the ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 149k

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