2 Obtaining copies of catalogues

The FITS table format is a popular and widely used format for distributing astronomical catalogues. Several CD-ROMs contain catalogues in this format. Some of the more generally useful ones are:

In particular the four volumes of Selected Astronomical Catalogs are an extremely useful collection of widely used catalogues. Also, the Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg (CDS) and the US Astronomical Data Center now make many of the catalogues in their extensive collections available on-line. Briefly, the CDS and ADC may be contacted as follows.

URL: http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/CDS.html

Anonymous ftp site: cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr, directory: /pub/cats

Electronic mail: question@simbad.u-strasbg.fr

Postal address: Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg, Observatoire de Strasbourg, 11, rue de l’Université, 67000 Strasbourg, France.

URL: http://adc.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Anonymous ftp site: adc.gsfc.nasa.gov, directory: /pub/adc/archives

Electronic mail: request@nssdca.gsfc.nasa.gov

Postal address: World Data Center A for Rockets and Satellites, NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 633, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, USA.

In the case of the CDS catalogues can usually be retrieved as either FITS files or simple text files. It is usually preferable to retrieve the catalogues as text files because they can then be automatically reformatted into CURSA STL format catalogues (see Section 23) which properly interpret their coordinates, thus allowing full use of CURSA’s facilities for manipulating and displaying angles (see Section 6 and Appendix B).

Further details of the CD-ROMs and the data centres may be found in the CURSA ‘home page’ (see page 8 for the URL) and in SUN/162[7], though the latter is now somewhat out of date.

An additional small collection of catalogues which have had their celestial coordinates reformatted to take full advantage of CURSA’s facilities for manipulating and displaying angles (see Section 6 and Appendix B) is available by anonymous ftp. The details are as follows.

Anonymous ftp to: ftp.roe.ac.uk
Directory: /pub/acd/catalogues

Remember to reply anonymous when prompted for a username and to give your e-mail address as the password. Retrieve file 0CONTENTS.LIS for a list of the catalogues available. If you encounter difficulty using ftp then contact your site manager in the first instance. The list of catalogues is also available from the CURSA home page.

CURSA includes a facility which provides some limited access to remote catalogues held on-line at various astronomical data centres and archives around the world. You can select a subset from one of these catalogues and save it as a CURSA Tab-Separated Table (TST) format catalogue which can then be input to the other CURSA applications. This facility is available as part of xcatview (see Section 11) and as application catremote (see Section 25).

In the past Starlink provided the SCAR (Starlink Catalogue Access and Reporting) system for manipulating astronomical catalogues on its VAX/VMS service. SCAR had its own unique format for storing catalogues. It is possible to convert SCAR catalogues to FITS tables and make them accessible to CURSA. If you have any SCAR catalogues (either public catalogues from the standard collection or private catalogues) which you would like converted then please contact me in the first instance (see page 8 for details).