Selected Astronomical Catalogues
and Online Data Services
-- and a Few Other Interesting Sites

UBVRI Photometry of Galaxies, Globular Clusters, and Stars

It's been nearly 30 years since my last observing run at McDonald Observatory in west Texas, so I thought it time that I "published" the data. These 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 mentioned last time that I have had a couple of requests for "clean" lists of the NGC and IC objects. These do not include superposed or nearby stars or galaxies, but they do have the questionable identifications listed. Only NGC/IC has the details and links you'll need to see and download these.

Gaia DR2 has been released. This has proper motions and parallaxes for 1.3 billion of the included 1.7 billion objects, so accurate J2000.0 positions are now available for most objects outside the Solar System brighter than about magnitude 21. Positions for large, nearby, relatively diffuse things like low-surface-brightness galaxies, emission or reflection nebulae, and so forth are, of course, not included. But the positions for "point" sources that are there are accurate on the sub-milliarcsecond level at the mean observation epoch of 2015.5; at J2000.0, the standard errors are on the order of 0.4 to 10 mas. Photometry is available for most these, too. The DR2 reprocessing has led to roughly 500 million more objects being included -- the current total is about 1.7 billion objects -- but a "few" objects that appear in DR1 are not in DR2. As I continue checking the NGC and IC objects, I will use Gaia DR2 positions whenever they are appropriate and available.

Aside from that, I've made some progress in checking questionable cases and am currently working through IC1 again. This current release is complete through IC 950.

Here are some notes from previous releases of these files.

Brian Skiff and I have now selected accurate positions for all of the NGC and IC objects. These are in the current versions of my NGC/IC position and notes files available here, as are positions and notes for about 130 non-stellar objects (or objects thought to be non-stellar) that were known before the NGC was published, but not included in it.

There are still many checks to be done, and a full comparison with the original positions also remains. Finally, I am committed to providing data (particularly magnitudes and diameters) for all of the objects, too. So, check back now and then for updates. I'll announce them on the "amastro" mailing list as they become available, so you could check there as well.

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 versions of the published catalogues. Though all three are available as printed and bound books, the electronic versions 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.

    Brief explanations of the data are also available electronically; the full introductions with figures, tables, and references are only available in the printed versions.

    A final version (1.4.3) of

  • A South-Equatorial Galaxy Catalogue by Harold G. Corwin, Jr. and Brian A. Skiff.
  • is also available. This 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. The data were gleaned from POSS1 103a-O copy plates, then checked against the UKST IIIa-J portion of the DSS. The corrected position angles and VRHS types are published here in full for the first time. Notes on the individual objects are also available. SEGC provides a finding list for galaxies generally larger than about 1.8 arcmin at the 25.0 B-mag arcsec^-2 in the south-equatorial zone between the southern limit of the CGCG and UGC, and the northern limit of ESO-B, ESO-LV, and SGC. It provides a somewhat shallower coverage of this part of the sky than MCG.

    All of these catalogues are freely accessible; I and my coauthors ask only 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 distribution.
  • NED -- NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database
  • SkyView, a Virtual Observatory on the Web
  • The NASA Astrophysics Data System
  • MAST -- The Space Telescope Science Institute HST Data Archive
  • The Canadian Astronomy Data Centre
  • The ESO/ST-ECF Science Archive Facility
  • Wolfgang Steinicke's Home Page, with links to his historical work on the observations leading to the Dreyer's NGC and IC
  • Wolfgang Steinicke's biographical information for the NGC/IC observers
  • Courtney Seligman's Celestial Atlas featuring images and notes for many celestial objects, including the NGC and IC objects
  • Courtney Seligman's list of refrences and links to NGC/IC observer biographies and published papers
  • The NGC/IC Project
  • The Webb Deep Sky Society
  • Creative Commons
  • Miscellaneous Files

  • Links to Classical Music Web Sites

  • ArkivMusic -- 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 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.
  • The Havergal 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 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 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 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.
  • The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is our orchestra. While perhaps not quite in the top rank of orchestras in the world, the BPO is very close, 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 (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.
  • 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 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.

  • Contact


    Note that I have closed my gmail account. Please use the above email address instead. Thanks!


    The previous version of this site was made possible by the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion 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.

    NED maintains 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: 16 September 2018