Examples of the sort of data Guide 6.0 can give you about objects

Last updated 23 Feb 98

Once you've found an object in Guide, you can click on it with the right mouse button. You'll usually just get a short summary of data about it at first: what kind of object it is (galaxy, star, asteroid, etc.), its name, magnitude, rise/set/transit times, altitude/ azimuth, and maybe some catalog numbers. .

However, you'll also see a "more info" button. This is a very powerful button; when you click on it, Guide will gather every scrap of data it can find about that object, sometimes from six or seven catalogs, to tell you everything you would want to know about that object (usually, it must be admitted, more than you would wish to know about it.) The information given about an object depends on what sort of object it is and how bright it is (bright objects usually show up in more catalogs.)

You'll notice that in some cases, somewhat technical terms such as "speckle interferometry" or "Hpmag at maximum (5th percentile)" are used. In Guide, these terms are highlighted and you can click on them to get glossary information. Just about any term that might be even faintly unfamiliar is glossed; it was originally considered quite likely that Guide might be used to educate students utterly unfamiliar with such jargon (which indeed has happened, though it's proven more useful to professional and amateur observers.)

Some examples of the sort of data Guide provides follow.

  • "More info" for Eta Aquilae
  • "More info" for a faint mag 14.4 star
  • "More info" on a typical asteroid, 433 Eros
  • "More info" on a typical galaxy, NGC 3077
  • "More info" on the planet Saturn
  • Eta Aquilae: This is a bright (magnitude 3.9) star, and also a variable, so Guide has a great deal to say about it. As you can see from the example for a magnitude 14.4 star, you can't expect this sort of detail for every star... though this is pretty close to what you can expect for stars brighter than about magnitude 8.

    In this case, Guide is able to give full details from the Hipparcos, Tycho, GSC (Hubble Guide Star Catalog), PPM (Position and Proper Motion catalog), SAO (Smithsonian Astronomical Observatory), HD (Henry Draper), Yale Bright Star catalog, and the GCVS (General Catalog of Variable Stars).

    Comments from the Hipparcos Catalog:
    
    Hipparcos #97804
    RA (J2000.0): 19 52 28.36
    declination +01 00 20.4
    (Above is the computed position for J1991.25)
    magnitude in Johnson V: 3.87
    Magnitude varies by more than .6 magnitudes
    Magnitude derived from Tycho data
    Trigonometric parallax 2.78  0.91 milliarcseconds
    Proper motion in RA: 6.94  1.13 milliarcseconds/year
    Proper motion in dec: -7.30  0.74 milliarcseconds/year
    Mean BT magnitude: 4.829  0.060
    Mean VT magnitude: 3.958  0.040
    Johnson B-V colour: 0.630  0.020
    Johnson B-V source is ground-based observations
    Color index (V-I) in Cousins' system: 0.73  0.02
    Median magnitude in Hipparcos system (Hpmag): 4.0440  0.0690
    Scatter on Hpmag is 0.272 magnitudes
    Hpmag is based on 52 observations
    Hpmag at maximum (5th percentile): 3.78
    Hpmag at minimum (95th percentile): 4.46
    Variability period: 7.18 days
    Periodic variable
    BD +00 4337
    Spectral type F6Ibv SB
    Spectral type is from updated data from after publication of the HIC
    
    Data inferred from the Hipparcos catalog:
    
    Distance: 360  150 parsecs (1170  480 light-years)
    Luminosity: 3000  2500 times that of the sun
    Absolute magnitude: -3.91  0.88
    
    J2000 position at current date (proper motion included):
    Right ascension: 19h52m28.3670s
    Declination: +01 00' 20.391"
    (Above is 7.8 milliarcseconds in RA, 5.1 milliarcseconds in dec)
    J2000 position at current date (proper motion and parallax included):
    Right ascension: 19h52m28.3671s
    Declination: +01 00' 20.391"
    
    Comments from the Hipparcos Variability Annex:
    
    Spectral type: F6Ibv SB
    Periodic variable
    Magnitude at maximum from curve fitting: 3.646
    Magnitude at minimum from curve fitting: 4.465
    Mean period: 7.1778 days
    A light curve exists for this star in Annex A of the full catalog.
    
    Data from the Tycho catalog:
    
    Johnson V magnitude: 3.87
    Parallax 0  3 milliarcseconds
    
    Data from the ACT catalog:
    
    Proper motion in RA: 9.59  8.72 milliarcseconds/year
    Proper motion in dec: -4.4  1.28 milliarcseconds/year
    J2000 position at current date (proper motion included):
    Right ascension: 19h52m28.3686s
    Declination: +01 00' 20.410"
    (Above is 60.2 milliarcseconds in RA, 9.1 milliarcseconds in dec)
    
    Comments from the GSC:
    
    GSC identifier 480 3027
    RA            declination    posn err  magnitude    type
    Exposure start      Exp. Length   Obs. ID     Filter
    
    19h52m28.370s +01 00' 20.41"   0.0"     4.300.91  star
    (Data comes from Tycho Input Catalog)
    
    
    Comments from the PPM catalog:
    
    PPM 168843
    Magnitude: 3.5
    J2000 RA: 19h 52m 28.374s
    J2000 dec: +01 00' 20.37"
    Proper motion in RA:  0.0007 RA seconds/year
    Proper motion in dec: -0.007 arcseconds/year
    J2000 position at epoch:
    Right ascension: 19h52m28.372s
    Declination: +01 00' 20.38"
    Mean position at current epoch:
    Right ascension: 19h52m22.716s
    Declination: +01 00' 02.89"
    Apparent position at current epoch:
    Right ascension: 19h52m21.382s
    Declination: +01 00' 01.94"
    (Above is 20.3 milliarcseconds in RA, 37.2 milliarcseconds in dec)
    Spectral type G0
    DM +00  4337
    AGK +00 2415
       An FK5 (Fundamental Katalog 5) star.
    
    Comments from the SAO catalog:
    
    SAO 125159
    Magnitude: 4.05
    Spectral type G0P
    DM --1 4337
    Right ascension: 19h52m28.305s
    Declination: +01 00' 20.15"
    Proper motion in RA: +0.007 arcseconds/year
    Proper motion in dec: -0.006 arcseconds/year
    Proper motion total: 0.009 arcseconds/year
    
    Comments from the HD catalog:
    
    HD 187929
    BD +00 4337
    Variable star
    Spectral type G0p
    
    Comments from the Bright Star catalog:
    
    Magnitude: 3.90
    Right ascension: 19h52m28.300s
    Declination: +01 00' 20.00"
    Proper motion in RA: +0.007 arcseconds/year
    Proper motion in dec: -0.006 arcseconds/year
    Proper motion total: 0.009 arcseconds/year
    BD --1 4337
    HR (Bright Star) catalog spectrum:   F6Ibv
    HR #7570   SAO #125159   HD #187929
    parallax  +010
    
    Spectrum
       Also classified F6Ib-G4Ib.  UV suggests A0V
    companion.
    Variability
       Discovered by Pigott in 1784.  Delta Cep 3.50 -
    4.30V, 7.176641d.  Period changes.  Variable He 10830
    in emission and absorption.
    
    Comments from the GCVS:
    
    Right ascension: 19h52m28.7s
    Declination: +01 00' 23"
    Cause(s) of variability:
       Delta Cep type
    Maximum magnitude:   3.48
    Minimum magnitude:  4.39
    Magnitudes are visually based
    Period of variability     7.176641
    Spectral type F6IB-G4IB
    

    A faint mag 14.4 star: Unfortunately, Hipparcos only covers about 118,000 of the brightest stars, and Tycho gives somewhat less detailed (and slightly less precise) data for about a million stars, down to about mag 10.5 to 11.5. Below this level, the only source of information is the Hubble Guide Star Catalog (GSC). The GSC doesn't tell you much more than "there's a star here, with the following not-very-well-determined magnitude; it was found on a photographic plate imaged on such-and-such a date." No spectral data, no cross-indexes to other catalogs, no color data, no proper motion data... in short, not much. But it's the best out there for fainter stars.

    Anyway, here's what Guide tells you about a typical faint (mag 14.4) star, with all data coming from the GSC.

    Comments from the GSC:
    
    GSC identifier 625 1316
    RA            declination    posn err  magnitude    type
    Exposure start      Exp. Length   Obs. ID     Filter
    
    01h45m13.123s +10 16' 54.37"   0.3"    14.390.40  star
    17 DEC 82  03:52 UT     20 min   ST 346       PAL-V1
    

    Information on asteroid 433 Eros: In most cases, Guide can tell you quite a bit about any asteroid (it has good orbital data for about 25,000 of them.) It can at least give you name, number, orbital data, position, and so forth. In the case of 433 Eros, it can tell you a bit about its rotation period (5.27 hours), who discovered it when and where, and it can give you some idea as to how well-determined the orbit is (this data comes courtesy of the Lowell Observatory's ASTORB database.) The asteroid also has a well-determined diameter. (If it didn't, Guide would compute one based on the assumption that the asteroid reflected 4% of its light, and show you an "assumed asteroid diameter".)

    433 Eros  mag 11.9
    Period of orbit       1.76 years (643.3 days)
    Perihelion distance   1.13 AU
    Aphelion distance     1.78 AU
    Orbital elements:
       Semimajor axis           1.4583257 AU
       Eccentricity             0.2230256
       Inclination of orbit    10.8307964 degrees
       Argument of perihelion  178.6416804 degrees
       Long. ascending node    304.4350693 degrees
       Mean anomaly             28.9699454 degrees
       Epoch of elements   JD 2450850.5 ( 6 Feb 1998  0:00)
    Right ascension: 15h02m38.250s
    Declination: -37 33' 59.86"
    Mean position at current epoch:
    Right ascension: 15h02m31.194s
    Declination: -37 33' 33.91"
    Apparent position at current epoch:
    Right ascension: 15h02m31.623s
    Declination: -37 33' 21.43"
    Dist from home planet:  0.59238099 AU (88,618,935 km)
    Heliocentric position:  lon -178.22285  lat -9.15012
    Heliocentric radius 1.24363 AU
    81.16% illuminated
    Elongation from Sun 100.63 degrees (morning sky)
    Speed of apparent motion: 1.365'/hour at position angle 139.1
    Preliminary designation: 1898 DQ
    Discovery date:    1898 Aug 13
    Discoverer's name: Witt, G.
    Discovered at:     Berlin
    Assumed asteroid diameter 38.6 km
    Rotation period   5.270 hours
    (Very secure result;  a pole position has been reported.)
    Absolute magnitude: 11.16
    Slope parameter: 0.46
    Color index (B-V): 0.90
    Orbital arc: 38058 days
    2910 observations made to determine orbit
    Current ephemeris uncertainty (CEU) on 31 01 1998:
     1.8E-02 arcseconds, changing by 2.0E-04 arcseconds/day
    Next peak CEU: 4.1E-02 arcsec,  on 05 05 1998
    Maximum CEU in next ten years: 4.6E-02 arcsec,  on 06 04 2005
    

    "More info" on a typical galaxy, NGC 3077: For this galaxy, Guide is able to extract data from the Principal Galaxy Catalog (PGC) first. This is the foundation of Guide's galaxy information, with details on over 100,000 galaxies. No matter what galaxy you click on, you would get PGC data for it.

    Beyond that point, though, things will vary a bit. You will only get NGC data if the galaxy is actually in the NGC, and that only covers a few thousand galaxies. This particular object is in the NGC, RC3 (Third Reference Catalog), SAC (Saguaro Astronomy Club) 6.0 database, UGC (Uppsala General Catalog), and MCG (Morphological Catalog of Galaxies), so Guide can tell you a lot about it!

    Right ascension: 10h03m21.06s
    Declination: +68 44' 02.3"
    
    Remarks from the PGC (Principal Galaxy Catalog):
    PGC 029146
    Coordinates have been determined to be accurate
    Galactic longitude: 141.897
    Galactic latitude: 41.662
    Supergalactic longitude: 41.509
    Supergalactic latitude: .835
    Position angle: 45.000 degrees
    Effective surface brightness: 21.486  .490 (magnitudes per square arcsecond)
    Total B magnitude: 10.464  .278
    Far infrared magnitude: 10.243
    Heliocentric galaxy RV from neutral hydrogen: 13.972  5.955 km/s
    Heliocentric galaxy RV from optical observations: -17.437  38.766 km/s
    Galaxy RV relative to the Local Group: 170.935 km/second
    Galaxy RV relative to the GSR: 119.563 km/second
    Galaxy RV corrected for Virgo infall: 249.314 km/second
    Galaxy RV relative to the 3K background: 102.058 km/sec
    Major axis: 5.3211.005 arcminutes
    Alternate names:
    Alternate names:
    NGC    3077    UGC    5398    MCG 12-10- 17
    CGCG 333- 13   IRAS09592+6858
    
    Remarks from the RC3 (Third Reference Catalog):
    J2000 dec: +68 44 02
    Galactic longitude: 141.90
    Galactic latitude: 41.66
    Supergalactic longitude: 41.85
    Supergalactic latitude: .83
    Galaxy RV from neutral hydrogen: 14  4 km/sec
    Galaxy RV from optical observations: -16  32 km/sec
    Mean galaxy RV corrected to GSR: 120 km/s
    Mean galaxy RV corrected to 3K background: 102 km/s
    
    Remarks from the NGC2000 Catalog:
    J2000 RA: 10h03.3m
    J2000 dec: +68 44'
    cB, cL, mbM, R with ray
    
    NGC 3077: considerably bright, considerably large, much
    brighter middle, round with ray
    
    NGC 3077
    
    Comments from SAC (Saguaro Astronomy Club) 6.0 database:
    J2000 RA: 10 03.3
    J2000 dec: +68 44
    cB,cL,mbM,R w ray
    PA 45,M81 group,dust streamers tending to radial direction
    H I 286
     angular diameter 6.0'X4.
    Surface brightness 13.1
    
    Comments from the UGC (Uppsala General Catalog):
    
    MCG +12-00-017
    Best visible on POSS field 0685
    Size on blue POSS: 6.0 x 4.5 arcminutes
    Position angle: 45 degrees
    Hubble class: IRR
    Photographic magnitude: 10.7
    Right ascension: 10h03m23.s
    Declination: +68 43' 28"
    Radial velocity:  -158 km/sec
    Hubble class: IRR
    Position angle:  45 degrees
    Size on blue POSS:   6.0 ' x  4.5 '
    
    Comments from the MCG (Morphological Catalog of Galaxies):
    
    Total magnitude: 10.7
    Magnitude is accurate to .1 mag
    Major axis,  inner part: 1.70 arcminutes
    Minor axis,  inner part: 1.20 arcminutes
    Surface brightness (1=brightest, 6=dimmest): 1
    Major axis,  outer part: 3.40 arcminutes
    Minor axis,  outer part: 2.80 arcminutes
    Surface brightness, 1st outer region (1=brightest, 6=dimmest): 5
    Size on blue POSS: 6.00 x 4.5 arcminutes
    Size on red POSS: 6.50 x 5.0 arcminutes
    (POSS sizes are uncertain)
    Position angle: 45 degrees
    Right ascension: 10h03m23.s
    Declination: +68 43' 28"
    NGC 3077
    Magnitude: 10.7
    Surface brightness, inner part
       (1=very bright, 6=barely visible): 1
    Minor axis,  inner part:   1.20 arcminutes
    Major axis,  inner part:   1.70 arcminutes
    Surface brightness, 1st outer region
       (1=very bright, 6=barely visible): 5
    

    "More Info" on the planet Saturn: For planets, you'll almost always get the same data: a position expressed in several coordinate systems (all carefully glossed), and a magnitude and distance, plus some physical data to help in observing it (how far away it is from the sun, its current apparent diameter, and its central meridian and tilt... which can be pretty helpful in finding features on Mars and Jupiter, for example.) Finally, you get some textbook data on things such as radius, mass, and so forth.

    Saturn  mag 0.7
    Right ascension: 01h08m26.789s
    Declination: +04 46' 23.07"
    Mean position at current epoch:
    Right ascension: 01h08m21.034s
    Declination: +04 45' 47.59"
    Apparent position at current epoch:
    Right ascension: 01h08m19.878s
    Declination: +04 45' 37.11"
    Dist from home planet:  10.05915872 AU (1,504,828,719 km)
    Heliocentric position:  lon 21.66246  lat -2.48390
    Heliocentric radius 9.35169 AU
    99.87% illuminated
    Elongation from Sun  42.36 degrees (evening sky)
    16.45 arcseconds angular diameter
    Position angle of the north pole: 2.61 degrees
    Tilt of north pole toward home planet: -10.69 degrees
    Central meridian: 136.7
    
    Radius:             60000 km (9.4 times that of the earth)
    Mass:               5.685E+26 kilograms (95 times that of the earth)
    Density:            .70 gm/cc
    Period of rotation: 10.5 hours
    Escape velocity:    36 km/second
    Surface gravity:    125% that of earth