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Session 91 - Working Group on Astronomical Software.
Oral session, Wednesday, January 17
Salon del Rey North, Hilton

[91.03] A new research tool to retrieve data from astronomical catalogues and tables

F. Ochsenbein, F. Genova, D. Egret, I. Bourekeb, R. Sadat (CDS, Strasbourg), S. G. Ansari, E. Simonsen (ESA/ESRIN, Italy)

The CDS (Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg) has collected, with the collaboration of other astronomical data centers, in particular the ADC, a very large set of of electronic catalogues and tables dealing with all parts of astronomy; this set continues to grow at a high rate (20 new catalogues per month), mainly due to the electronic tables prepared at CDS for the Aamp;A journals, and to the AAS CD-ROM data. These electronic tables also represent the input material for the improvement of the Simbad database.

A large effort of rationalisation and standardisation in the documentation of the electronic tables was conducted in the last two years at CDS, such that each catalogue, generally represented by a set of tabular data, is completely described in terms of overview description, referencing, and details about the structure, units, and contents of each column of each table. Such descriptions, which follow a well-defined standard, can also be used in programs and allow for instance a stream conversion of the tabular files into FITS format during the FTP copy process, and can be viewed at the "Astronomer's Bazaar" at

The new service which is proposed for searching inside any of the catalogues (by position or name of an object and/or catalogue field) is essentially a result of merging a part of the ESIS project (European Space Information System) of the European Space Agency with the CDS set of documented catalogues which will be homogeneously loaded into a DBMS and made available through a WWW interface. Examples, illustrations and figures about this new service will be presented, and its role in the framework of the world-wide access to the astronomical data will be discussed.

The exact URL and name of this new service will be publicly announced in early January 1996.

Program listing for Wednesday