Selected Astronomical Catalogues
and Online Data Services
-- and a Few Other Interesting Sites
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.
I again note that Gaia DR2 has been available for about a year by now. It is
worth repeating that 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 not included; Gaia was optimized for point sources. But the positions for
those "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 wherever they are appropriate and
I am in fact not only doing that, but have downloaded Gaia DR2 positions
for all of the NGC/IC objects for which they are available. I am
merging these into the position files, and have finished, for the current
release, the first 3000 NGC objects, all of the IC objects, and all of the
"not-NGC" objects. In most cases, the Gaia DR2 positions are the "best"
available, agreeing well with positions from earlier astrometric lists (e.g.
UCAC, URAT1, 2MASS, SDSS, Pan-STARRS1, etc.), so I have selected the DR2
positions for many of the NGC/IC objects. Some of the NGC/IC's have selected
positions more than an arcsecond away from the Gaia DR2 positions, and some of
the stars in the lists have proper motions that have moved them beyond my one
arcsecond search radius. I will clean these up later, or you may of course
check them yourself. I recommend CDS's
for this -- search catalogue number I/345/gaia2.
As usual, I have benefitted from correspondence with Steve Gottlieb, Courtney
Seligman, and Steve Waldee on several of the NGC/IC objects.
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 200 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, as I mentioned above, 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 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
Brief explanations of the data are also available electronically; the full
introductions with figures, tables, and references are only available in the
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; 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
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 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 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
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
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.
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: 16 May 2019