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Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. Ser. 138, 327-343

The Hipparcos transit data: What, why and how?[*]

C.F. Quist - L. Lindegren

Send offprint request: C.F. Quist

Lund Observatory, Box 43, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden

Received March 5; accepted May 4, 1999


The Hipparcos Transit Data are a collection of partially reduced, fully calibrated observations of (mostly) double and multiple stars obtained with the ESA Hipparcos astrometry satellite. The data are publicly available, as part of the CD-ROM set distributed with the Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues (ESA SP-1200, 1997), for about a third of the Hipparcos Catalogue entries including all confirmed or suspected non-single stars. The Transit Data consist of signal modulation parameters derived from the individual transits of the targets across the Hipparcos focal grid. The Transit Data permit re-reduction of the satellite data for individual objects, using arbitrarily complex object models in which time-variable photometric as well as geometric characteristics may be taken into account. We describe the structure and contents of the Transit Data files and give examples of how the data can be used. Some of the applications use standard astronomical software: Difmap or AIPS for aperture synthesis imaging, and GaussFit for detailed model fitting. Fortran code converting the data into formats suitable for these application programs has been made public in order to encourage and facilitate the use of Hipparcos Transit Data.

Key words: methods: data analysis -- space vehicles -- techniques: image processing -- catalogs -- astrometry -- binaries: general

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