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3 Astronomical catalogues in the data centers

3.1 Current contents

The growth of the collection of astronomical catalogues managed by data centers is illustrated by Table 2: the current set of available catalogues is now around 3 000, with an annual increase about 15%. Note that the entity designated as a "catalogue'' can represent a table of about 100 entries (e.g.the list of galactic globular clusters), as well as a multimillion source catalogue (e.g.the USNO-A2.0).

In Table 2, the catalogues are grouped according to categories which were defined in the 70's, when the bulk of astronomical studies were dealing with the properties of stars in the optical wavelength domain. Rather than defining regularly a new classification scheme following the evolution of the discipline, it was decided, in agreement with the other data centers, to assign designations to electronic tables according to the published paper, and to reserve the assignment in the "traditional'' categories to somewhat important catalogues or compilations. Simultaneously, it was decided to assign keywords to each catalogue, in order to allow easy retrieval of catalogues with similar contents and purposes.

Note that, if most of the catalogues contain data related to the observation of astronomical sources, other types of data are also available, generally grouped in the "Miscellaneous'' (VI) category: catalogues of atomic data like wavelength tables or results of the Opacity Project, tabulated results of stellar evolution models, ephemeris elements, etc.

3.2 Usage of astronomical catalogues


Table 3: Yearly traffic on the CDS catalogue ftp server (internal and mirror traffic excluded)
Period Files Gbytes Nodes
1993 Jan.-1993 Dec. 6106 1.5 458
1994 Jan.-1994 Dec. 23696 6.1 1599
1995 Jan.-1995 Dec. 57314 11.4 4022
1996 Jan.-1996 Dec. 71300 19.8 4953
1996 Oct.-1997 Sep. 143000 43.5 6279
1997 Oct.-1998 Sep. 308840 74.5 9780
1998 Oct.-1999 Sep. 538407 77.1 10146

One of the main goals of the CDS is to promote the usage of the reliable astronomical catalogues to the astronomical community. The "Catalogue Service'' has been one of the major CDS services since the beginning of the CDS activity, and used to distribute catalogues on magnetic tapes and floppies; the service has been implemented on the network as a FTP server in March 1992, generating immediately a large increase in the number of distributed files. The FTP activity is still increasing at a high rate, as can be inferred from Table 3: the current traffic is equivalent to a copy of the whole collection every month.

It is also interesting to quote those catalogues which are the most frequently copied from the CDS archives, summarized in Table 4 for the last two years: not surprisingly, surveys, and what Jaschek ([1989]), in his Sect. 5.2, designates as General Compilation Catalogues, are among the most popular catalogues. It is also interesting to note the large number of copies of the GSC catalogue (about 300 Mbytes): it was copied by over 500 nodes in the last 12 months, which is 4 times more than in the previous year; this could indicate that catalogues of this size can be quite easily managed on small computers nowadays.


Table 4: Catalogues which have been the most frequently copied
Number of Nodes Catalogue designation and short title
1999 (1998)  
879 (750) (I/239) Hipparcos & Tycho Catalogues
502 (123) (I/220) The HST Guide Star Catalog, V1.1 (Lasker+ 1992)
293 (165) (VI/87) Planetary Ephemerides (Chapront+ 1996)
284 (241) (I/131A) SAO Star Catalog J2000 (SAO Staff 1966; USNO, ADC 1990)
248 (60) (I/197) Tycho Input Catalogue, Revised version (Egret+ 1992)
203 (221) (VII/118) NGC 2000.0
195 (162) (V/50) Bright Star Catalogue, 5th Revised Ed. (Hoffleit+, 1991)
173 (145) (VI/80) Opacities from the Opacity Project (Seaton+, 1995)
169 (134) (I/246) The ACT Reference Catalog (Urban+ 1997)
126 (142) (V/70A) Nearby Stars, Preliminary 3rd Version (Gliese+ 1991)
124 (120) (VI/81) Planetary Solutions VSOP87 (Bretagnon+, 1988)
112 (73) (VII/207) Quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei (8th Ed.) (Veron+ 1998)
102 (134) (II/214A) Combined General Catalogue of Variable Stars (Kholopov+ 1998)
101 (76) (VII/155) Third Reference Cat. of Bright Galaxies (RC3) (de Vaucouleurs+ 1991)
100 (75) (VI/79) Lunar Solution ELP 2000-82B (Chapront-Touze+, 1988)
99 (153) (VI/69) Atomic Spectral Line List (Hirata+ 1995)
97 (149) (V/95) SKY2000 - Master Star Catalog (Myers+ 1997)
90 (118) (I/196) Hipparcos Input Catalogue, Version 2 (Turon+ 1993)

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