Telescope Data Center

Astronomical Data Sources on the Web

Source Catalogs

2MASS (2 Micron All-Sky Survey)
Basic and more complicated catalog searches at IRSA, the Infrared Survey Archive.
VLA Surveys
FIRST (Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-centimeters) A project designed to produce the radio equivalent of the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey over 10,000 square degrees of the North Galactic Cap.
NVSS (NRAO VLA Sky Survey) This sky survey covering the sky north of -40 deg declination (82% of the celestial sphere) includes 2326 continuum map ``cubes,'' each covering 4 deg X 4 deg and a catalog of discrete sources on these images (about 2 million sources in the entire survey). The source catalog can be browsed online. The data products are available for anonymous ftp.
Hipparchos Catalogs
Includes maps and lists of brightest stars and interesting objects in each constellation.
NASA Extragalactic Database (NED)
Includes a good list of links to other databases
ADC Astronomical Data Center
The ADC acquires, verifies, formats, documents, and distributes files containing astronomical data in computer-readable form and develops and maintains software tools, such as their Catalog Browser to access these data. Some of their data is summarized in the Multiwavelength Milky Way. Here is a better all-sky optical picture I made from the HST Guide Star Catalog, but Axel Mellinger of Central Michigan University has made this spectacular image of the sky from Earth.
Here is the pannable, zoomable image in higher resolution
The world reference database for the identification of astronomical objects. There is a useful User's Guide.
Online catalogs, the French equivalent of the ADC.
W3Browse provides access to the catalogs and astronomical archives of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC). Catalogs include data from all astronomical regimes, but the emphasis of the archive is data from high energy astrophysics satellites.
Updated Zwicky Catalog
Almost 20,000 galaxies, with redshifts and positions good to 2 arcseconds.
WebDA Open Star Cluster Database
Start here.

Observing Aids

U.S. Naval Observatory Data Services
This site has sun and moon positions, rising, and setting times, and a slew of information on positions of solar system bodies and bright stars.
Sky & Telescope's Interactive Sky Chart
A Java web sky browser which simulates "a naked-eye view of the sky from any location on Earth, at any time of day or night, on any date from 1600 to 2400. "
SkyDraw/Mappa del Cielo
This site by Piero Massimino in Italy produces simple maps, using the SAO catalog, for any specific time and place, labelling bright stars with their names and positioning the visual planets.
Your Sky
"...the interactive planetarium of the Web," this site can produce three different views of the sky at a specific time and place.
E-Nature Sky Guide
A weekly guide to what's up, with descriptions of visible planets and constellations.
Java Star Gazer
Mount Wilson Observatory Online Stargazer Map
A Postscript sky map is returned for a specific time and place with stars down to 5th or 6t magnitude, constellations, and moon and planet information.
My Stars Live
On-the-fly (somewhat slowly) generated starmaps at a specific time relative to the present from many locations around the world using a web-enabled version of the MyStars! shareware sky mapping program.
US Naval Observatory Sun and Moon Calculator
Compute the sunrise, sunset, twilight, moonrise, moonset and phase times for most U.S. locations.
"Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment" includes forecasts of aurorae and encounters with near-Earth asteroids.
Time Systems
This U.S. Naval Observatory site explains several time systems of which astronomers should be aware. There is another good explanation with some examples of how the various systems are used in the Chandra Data Archive. The USNO also has tables of time differences.
Observatory Schedules
Links to as many observatory schedules as I could find. Many of them are from the AstroWeb observatory schedule listing, but I tracked down a few myself and included SAO's schedules which are restricted to Center for Astrophysics staff only.

Solar System Data

An on-line system providing access to "highly accurate" ephemerides for solar system objects.
SkyBot: Virtual Observatory Sky Body Tracker
This service from The Institut de Mécanique Céléste et de Calcul des Ephémérides (IMCCE) lists the solar system bodies (asteroids, planets, natural satellites) which are in a field of view of given coordinates and size at a given epoch
Leonid Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign
This annual campaign studies the Leonid meteor shower from as many viewpoints as possible. The website is a good source of information for anyone interested in observing the Leonid meteor shower as well as for data about what meteors are made of and how they work.
IAU: Minor Planet Center
The MPC is responsible for the efficient collection, (computation,) checking and dissemination of astrometric observations and orbits for minor planets and comets, via the Minor Planet Circulars (issued monthly) and the Minor Planet Electronic Circulars (issued as necessary).
NASA PDS Planetary Data System
The Planetary Data System (PDS) archives and distributes digital data from past and present NASA planetary missions, astronomical observations, and laboratory measurements.
PDS Planetary Rings Node
Planetary Atmospheres Node
Small Bodies Node
Comet Science
Mars Atlas
Galileo images
Welcome to the Planets is JPL's selection of the best spacecraft planet pictures.
Comet Hale-Bopp
Life on Mars
CCTV Camera Pros, of all places, has a great set of links to web sites about life on Mars.
JPL's Mars Meteorites site is a good starting point for information on meteorites from Mars. Check out Luann Becker's site about collecting meteorites in Antarctica.
And here is something interesting from April 1, 2004.
Chiron Perihelion Campaign Bulletin Board and Archives
News and information relevant to the impending perihelion approach of Chiron. The files have, for the most part, been contributed by active observers for use by their colleagues. Additional information on Chiron is also available.
Saturn Ring Plane Crossing 1995
Information about the triple ring plane crossings in 1995 and 1996 which provide astronomers with a unique opportunity to observe Saturn's rings and moons.
SDAC Solar Data Analysis Center at NASA Goddard
Solar Eclipse Paths: 1995 - 2000
NASA RP 1301: Annular Solar Eclipse of 10 May 1994
NASA RP 1318: Total Solar Eclipse of 3 November 1994
Views of our Solar System
This is a nice compendium of links to sites with images of solar system objects.

Extra Solar Planets

Extra-solar planets is a good 2001 survey article by M.A.C.Perryman
The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia contains results from Mayor et al. as well as many others.
Other Worlds, Distant Suns contains catalogs of extrasolar planets and nearby stars.
Searching for Extrasolar Planets contains results from the Marcy, Butler, et al. radial velocity searches.

Astrophysical Data

Astrophysics Visualization Archive
A clearing house for astrophysical visualizations and animations at the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History.
AAT Sky Surveys and Catalogues
Access to the COSMOS/UKST Southern Sky Catalogue and other large scale plate surveys.
ADF (Astrophysics Data Facility)
The Astrophysics Data Facility (ADF), located at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center ( GSFC), is responsible for designing, developing, and operating data systems that support the processing, management, archiving, and distribution of NASA mission data.
APS Automatic Plate Scanner Group, University of Minnesota
CXC (Chandra X-Ray Center)
Data from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
ESIS (European Space Information System)
The ESIS project, located at ESRIN, Frascati, Italy is a service to the Astronomical and Space Physics communities to provide access to data of all kinds, including images and spectra from a number of space missions and bibliographic references from all the major Astronomical and Space Physics journals.
HEASARC (High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center)
StarTrax-NGB is a catalog browser.
WebStars: Astrophysics in Cyberspace is a text-oriented browser to Internet astronomical services.
map-oriented or text-oriented guides exist to online services at HEASARC. The XTE Guest Observer Facility is also available.
IPAC (Infrared Processing & Analysis Center)
IRSKY -- An observation planning tool, allows display of IRAS images, overlay of catalogs on the images, and information on the ISO satellite, all useful in planning ISO observations.
XCATSCAN -- A catalog scanning tool, provides interactive queries of the IRAS databases, as well as many other major astronomical catalogs.
NED -- NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database, a directory/access system for literature on extragalactic objects.
ISO (Infrared Space Observatory)
Check out their Science Gallery for interesting spectra as well as pictures. There is also a Java interface to data.
International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE)
Access to IUE data (both NEWSIPS and IUESIPS) is provided through the same WWW and StarView interfaces used for data in the Hubble Data Archive.
MSX IR Astrometric Catalog
This is a composite catalog of IR catalog fluxes with astrometric catalog positions. It could be very useful.
NOAO Data Products Program
One of the best collections of spectra on the web, especially for stars.
This archive of the ROSAT extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) all-sky survey, located in the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester, provides access to data from the all-sky survey made with the Wide Field Camera.
Rosat Results Archive
This catalog contains arcsecond positions and count rates of detected sources from nearly 3000 public ROSAT HRI observations, including more than 7500 firm sources (signal-to-noise ratio > 4).
NSSDC (National Space Science Data Center)
NASA's NSSDC maintains and distributes documentation, indexes and catalogs about the data in its archives, and similar information about important space mission datasets maintained by other institutions. CDROM's can be ordered over the Internet.
Near-Earth Object Program
A table of so-called Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) gives, for the next 100 years, the times and close approach distances along with their associated uncertainties, the minimum possible close approach distances and Earth impact probabilities. Risks are tabulated here.
SDSS (Sloan Digital Sky Survey)
"The goal of the project is to build and operate a dedicated telescope suitable for wide-angle surveys of the sky which will address critical issues in extragalactic astronomy, especially in the field of large-scale structure."
Sloan Digital Sky Survey Archive
Sloan Digital Sky Survey Moving Object Catalog
SSC (SIRTF Science Center)
Data from the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), the last of the Great Observatories.
STScI (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Data from the Hubble Space Telescope. Check out their What's New page for new results. Check out data and results of studying the Hubble Deep Field.
CDS (Centre de Donne'es astronomiques de Strasbourg)
The CDS is a data center dedicated to the collection and worldwide distribution of astronomical data. It is located at the Observatoire de Strasbourg, France. The CDS hosts the SIMBAD astronomical database, the world reference database for the identification of astronomical objects and which has a Hypertext version of the SIMBAD User's Guide . It includes a new feature allowing to select astronomical catalogues by keyword or author's name, among the library of more than 600 catalogues currently available (for a total of about 3 Gigabytes of observational data), and to actually retrieve the corresponding files. The Star*s Family of products, including the databases
Geographical Name Server
This US Geological Survey site returns latitude and longitudes of places in the U.S. There used to be a telnet site at the University of Michigan which did this for the whole world, but it seems to be defunct.
International Astronomy Meetings
This list of astronomy meetings is compiled by Liz Bryson of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. This version of the meeting list has been updated to provide links to those meetings which are providing information electronically. If you find this list useful please send e-mail to
Bob Kurucz's solar spectra at SAO
Several atlases, including some by other people

Telescope Data Center

Last updated 30 December 2011 by
Jessica Mink