Selected Astronomical Catalogues
and Online Data Services
-- and a Few Other Interesting Sites
During my work on collecting data for the NGC/IC objects, and in pulling
together a catalogue of galaxies with just the data essential for amateur
astronomers, I adopted the photometric systems we developed thirty years ago
for the Third Reference Catalogue of Bright Galaxies. While those
systems remain useful and -- within their statistical errors -- accurate, RC3
itself remained moderately difficult to access for two reasons: 1) 6000 or so
of its galaxies had positions with precisions of only six seconds of time and
one arcminute; and 2) searching for a specific name was more difficult than it
should have been due to the unusual formatting of the names.
I have addressed both of these issues with a new version of RC3 which I have
called "RC3.10.0". Follow that link for
the details, along with notes about the many other additions and changes that
I've made in the catalogue. Several things are worth noting here:
- All of the galaxies listed in RC3 now have positions with precisions of
0.1 seconds of time and 1 arcsecond. The positional accuracy is on the order
of ±2 arcseconds for all galaxies with updated positions, and
±5-7 arcseconds for others, particularly in the southern sky.
- The format of the catalogue is unchanged, so if you have an RC3 reader,
it should still work.
- There are no additional galaxies, but ...
- ... several plate defects and four Galactic objects (two planetary
nebulae, a diffuse nebula, and a star) have been removed. There are now
23,001 galaxies listed in RC3.10.
Stay safe and well!
NGC/IC, SGC, and SEGC
During my recent work on RC3 (see above), I have used my
NGC/IC position files to update the
RC3 positions for the included NGC and IC objects. This has led to some work
on the NGC and IC themselves, so I have updated all those files, too. Because
much of that work, and that on SGC and
SEGC has remained "fresh" from my
previous webpage update, I've left the introductory remarks below unchanged.
Skip them if you've already read them.
Previously in this space, I mentioned that I had finally, after 40-odd years,
pretty much completed my work on the identification and positions of the NGC
and IC objects. All that can be found in the
NGC/IC section of this web site.
That has details and suggestions for accessing the data.
Now that the basic NGC/IC identification phase is pretty well done, I have
turned my attention to collecting other data for these objects. I have
started with galaxies as those are not only the most numerous deep sky
objects, but they are the objects which I have specifically catalogued and
studied during my career as a professional astronomer.
So, over the past six months or so, I have reassessed the two basic galaxy
catalogues that I have had a hand in:
The Southern Galaxy Catalogue (SGC) with
Gerard and Antoinette de Vaucouleurs, and
The South-Equatorial Galaxy Catalogue (SEGC)
with Brian Skiff. Most of this work has involved collecting and
transforming the V magnitudes and B-V colors to the general systems of the
Third Reference Catalogue of Bright Galaxies
Along the way, I have reduced the diameters in both southern catalogues to the
RC3 system; have "uncoded" the coded types given in SGC; added position angles
to the SGC entries; and collected V-band magnitudes, B-V color indices, and
redshifts for almost all the galaxies in both catalogues. I have also
simplified the format into a single line for each galaxy, hopefully making the
lists easier to read or to import into
databases. There is more to be done with that particular aspect of the data
presentation, but that will see light in a later release. In the meantime,
all the data are available through the links above, and are ready to use.
The updates to these two catalogues give basic data for about 8500 southern
galaxies, and -- further -- ways to reduce similar data for tens of thousands
of other fainter and smaller southern galaxies. The next obvious steps are 1)
to merge the southern data into the NGC/IC lists, and 2) to begin work on the
northern equivalent of these southern files. This will eventually result in a
complete presentation of visual data for all of the old catalogue entries.
In the meantime,
Steve Gottlieb, and
Seligman have collected data for most of the NGC and IC objects. I'm
pleased to be able to point you to their NGC/IC pages for other views of the
As usual, I have benefitted from correspondence with Steve and Courtney, as
well as Yann Pothier, Steve Waldee, Brian Skiff, and Sue French, on several
of the NGC/IC objects. I'm pleased to thank them once again for their help.
UBVRI Photometry of Galaxies, Globular Clusters, and Stars
In a previous release, I presented the results of my photomtery observing
runs at McDonald Observatory. The data consist of large-aperture photometry
for 239 nearby galaxies, 18 Galactic globular clusters, more than 550 stars, a
few miscellaneous objects, and a new set of secondary standard stars, all in
the Johnson/Cousins (UBV)J(RI)C system.
McDonald UBVRI photometry, 1982-1988
has the details and the data.
I've had requests to combine the tables of positions and final magnitudes,
particularly of the stars. I have done this, and those tables are now
available. Again, the directory cited above
has the details and the new tables.
Extragalactic Catalogues Maintained by Harold G. Corwin, Jr.
The copies of
The Third Reference Catalogue of Bright
Galaxies, by G. de Vaucouleurs, A. de Vaucouleurs,
H.G. Corwin, R.J. Buta, G. Paturel, and P. Fouqué
A Catalogue of Rich Clusters of Galaxies
, by G.O. Abell, H.G. Corwin, and R.P. Olowin,
A Southern Galaxy Catalogue
by H.G. Corwin, A. de Vaucouleurs, and G. de Vaucouleurs,
found here are corrected (and for RC3 and SGC, updated) versions of the
published catalogues. Though all three have been available as printed and
bound books, the electronic versions here are preferred for reference as all
known errata occuring in the printed versions have been corrected. Please let
me know if you find any further errors.
I have also made available in this release an updated version 2.0 of SGC with
more accurate, more precise J2000 positions; full galaxy types; diameters
reduced to the systems of RC3; V magnitudes and B-V colors, also on the RC3
systems; and redshifts. Details are in the
Southern Galaxy Catalogue pages.
Similarly, as noted above, an updated version of RC3 is now available
in the RC3 section of this web site.
Brief explanations of the data are available here; the full introductions with
figures, tables, and references are only available in the printed versions.
Also, as noted above, an enhanced version (2.0) of
A South-Equatorial Galaxy Catalogue
by Harold G. Corwin, Jr. and Brian A. Skiff
is now available. This, like the previous versions, has accurate positions,
diameters, position angles, and de Vaucouleurs revised Hubble-Sandage (VRHS)
types for 3333 single or multiple galaxies in the south-equatorial declination
zones between +3 degrees and -21 degrees. In addition, version 2.0 has
J2000.0 positions, the diameters reduced to the RC3 system; V magnitudes and
B-V colors, also on the RC3 systems; and redshifts.
All of these catalogues are freely accessible; my coauthors and I ask only
for a reference and/or an acknowledgment if you use data from them.
Links to Useful Astronomical Web Sites
Most of these Web sites are devoted to astronomical cataloguing and data
NED -- NASA/IPAC
Virtual Observatory on the Web
The NASA Astrophysics
MAST -- The Space Telescope Science
Institute HST Data Archive
The Canadian Astronomy
The ESO/ST-ECF Science Archive
Brian Skiff's FTP directory at
Lowell Observatory with hundreds of files of useful data
Steve Gottlieb's NGC/IC web pages
Steinicke's Home Page, with links to his historical work
on the observations leading to the Dreyer's NGC and IC
Steinicke's biographical information for the NGC/IC
Celestial Atlas featuring images and notes for many
celestial objects, including the
NGC and IC objects
Seligman's list of refrences and links to NGC/IC observer biographies
and published papers
Steve Waldee's astronomy web pages
The NGC/IC Project
The Webb Deep Sky Society
Links to Classical Music Web Sites
The Source for Classical Music is a clearing house for
virtually all of the distributors of recorded classical music in the
USA. I use their service frequently; it is fast and reliable. If
there are problems (I've had just two in the past decade), their
customer service reps will fix them quickly. They do downloads as
well as physical media, and have begun a streaming service as well.
They also have agreements with many record companies to make deleted
issues available as on-demand CD-Rs.
Fanfare -- The Magazine for
Serious Record Collectors. If you have any interest at all
in listening to classical (or even jazz) recordings, this magazine is
for you. Published every two months, it is packed with reviews of
most of the classical music recordings released in the US. The
reviewers write knowledgeable and interesting reviews, and there is
an on-line archive of the magazine's reviews and feature articles
since it began publication in 1977.
Brian Society promotes the music of the 20th century English
composer and critic Havergal Brian. I must confess that I find his
orchestral music fascinating and frustrating all at once.
Tonally-based and superbly orchestrated, his music is nevertheless
among the more difficult that I have tried to get a grip on. Brian's
works overflow with ideas, and often burst through the usual formal
constraints of symphonic music. The disconcerting result is that I
am often lost among the trees while trying to make out the overall
patterns of his wonderful forests of sound.
The Ralph Vaughan Williams
Society. I have no such problems with Ralph Vaughan
Williams's music; I have loved it unconditionally since I first heard
his 5th Symphony in the early 1960s. (Coincidentally, the 5th
Symphony was first performed the year I was born; it is just my age.)
I had seen this Society mentioned in several of the music magazines I
subscribe to, and had wondered at its intent. Vaughan Williams,
after all, is -- along with Sir Edward Elgar -- the composer most
responsible for the renaissance of English music in the first half of
the 20th century. Many of his works are are among the greatest of
that century, and are recorded frequently, so why does this Society
exist? As it happens, Vaughan Williams's well-known music is just a
small portion of his considerable output over his long composing
career (the early 1890s until his death in 1958). The RVW Society
promotes performances and recordings of Vaughan Williams's
lesser-known music -- some never performed before -- and has issued
more than thirty (so far!) recordings on its own "Albion" label.
"Vaughan Williams," by the way, is an unhyphenated double last name;
others like it (e.g. "Maxwell Davies") are relatively common in Great
Britain. And "Ralph", as is also common in the UK, is pronounced
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
is our orchestra. While perhaps not quite in the top rank of
orchestras in the world, the BPO is just down the road from us, and
we are lucky to be living in a city that supports it. They have many
recordings available, most with their long-time conductor JoAnn
Falletta, that demonstrate their versatility. In my opinion, almost
all of the recordings are worth adding to your collection. Buying
the recordings directly from
the BPO makes a contribution to the orchestra as well as
providing you with a fine CD.
Links to Railroading Web Sites
Amtrak -- the National Railroad
Passenger Corporation provides intercity passenger train
service in the US. We are fortunate to have an Amtrak station within
a few miles of our home, so we travel by train when we can.
The Rail Passengers Association
(RPA) (formerly NARP -- the National Association of Railroad
Passengers) is a primary voice in Washington, DC speaking on behalf
of train and rail commuter passengers. NARP has some considerable
clout in helping to keep Amtrak going.
ESPA -- the
Empire State Passengers Association has moved its main web
presence to Facebook. Just as NARP is an organization devoted to
promoting rail travel across the United States, so is ESPA "working
for better rail passenger service and public transportation in New
York State." In principle, ESPA promotes transportation initiatives
across the entire state, but it seems to be primarily focused on
Upstate issues affecting passenger travel outside the New York City
area, which is a region unto itself!
Southern Pacific Historical &
Technical Society is "... dedicated to preserving and
disseminating the historical record of the Southern Pacific Railroad
and its affiliates." The Southern Pacific was "my" childhood railroad
in California, and I renewed my attachment to it during my twenty
years there between 1991 and 2011. SPH&TS publishes "SP Trainline"
four times a year. Yes, the magazine is a nostalgia trip for me,
with a strong focus on the railroad itself. But the "Espee" is also
an important element in the history of the western United States.
"Trainline" often provides that broader context.
Model Railroading is a glimpse
inside the mind of an atypical model railroader. I call myself
"atypical" because I have no layout where I can actually run my
trains, and no large space where I can even contemplate building such
a layout. Nevertheless, I have a lot of HO rolling stock, almost all
modeled from Southern Pacific prototypes (see above) or from Amtrak
prototypes (also see above). Once in a while, I will report on my
model railroading activity in this space. At the moment, this
directory has before and after photos of an HO model of a single
Amtrak passenger car that I've recently modified, as well as a link
to a photo of the prototype.
The previous version of this site was made possible by the
and Analysis Center, which is operated by the
Laboratory and the
California Institute of Technology, under
contract with the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration. I am pleased to acknowledge their
support prior to my retirement in July 2011.
that earlier version of this site which will serve as an archival
snapshot of the catalogues as they existed when I loaded them into NED.
I use GoDaddy for hosting and
domain services. They offer far more than I need, but what I do need from
them is easy to use and reliable.
Latest update: 12 June 2020