Friday, January 11, 2013

Astronomical Catalogues

An image of the Pleides, M45, star cluster in the Constellation Taurus.

Since the time of the Ancients Greeks, any number of authorities have compiled catalogues of stars and celestial objects.

Ptolemy, the great classical authority, in his Almagest, had listed 48 Constellations, and 1,022 stars.  Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille (1713-1762), a French Deacon Astronomer explored the Southern Hemisphere (tip of Africa in 1750) and catalogued some 10,000 stars while adding 14 new Constellations, and 42 nebulae – published in 1763, after his death.  Giuseppe Piazzi (1746-1826) was an Italian Theatine who discovered the very first Asteroid, 1 Ceres (1801), now a dwarf planet with Pluto.  At the same time, he oversaw a major catalogue, the Palermo Catalogue, with 7,646 stars.  Friedrich Bessel (1784-1846), a German, is justly famous for first demonstrating stellar parallax – this in 1838 with 61 Cygni.  He also mapped 50,000 stars.

In other words, the compilations of catalogues of celestial objects has been an important aspect of the field.  I present here a few current Astronomical catalogues for your consideration:

This is a link to the USGS Gazeteer of Planetary Names which catalogues the IAU's list of names of planets, moons, and surface features in our solar system:

Here is a complete list of all of the named asteroids:

Here is a rather robust star catalogue, the SAO catalog, which includes over 250,000 entries:

This catalog focuses on only those stars brighter than a magnitude of 6.5, which still includes over 9,000 entries:

This is a link to the great Messier Catalog of deep space "comet-like" objects, mostly nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters:

Here is a link to the New General Catalog that supplemented the Messier list and added a great number more such objects:

This is a catalogue of planets outside our solar system:

Live well!

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