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.
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 ñ 0.91 milliarcseconds Proper motion in RA: 6.94 ñ 1.13 milliarcseconds/year Proper motion in dec: -7.30 ñ 0.74 milliarcseconds/year Mean BT magnitude: 4.829 ñ 0.060 Mean VT magnitude: 3.958 ñ 0.040 Johnson B-V colour: 0.630 ñ 0.020 Johnson B-V source is ground-based observations Color index (V-I) in Cousins' system: 0.73 ñ 0.02 Median magnitude in Hipparcos system (Hpmag): 4.0440 ñ 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 ñ 150 parsecs (1170 ñ 480 light-years) Luminosity: 3000 ñ 2500 times that of the sun Absolute magnitude: -3.91 ñ 0.88 J2000 position at current date (proper motion included): Right ascension: 19h52m28.3670s Declination: +01 00' 20.391" (Above is ñ7.8 milliarcseconds in RA, ñ5.1 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 ñ 3 milliarcseconds Data from the ACT catalog: Proper motion in RA: 9.59 ñ 8.72 milliarcseconds/year Proper motion in dec: -4.4 ñ 1.28 milliarcseconds/year J2000 position at current date (proper motion included): Right ascension: 19h52m28.3686s Declination: +01 00' 20.410" (Above is ñ60.2 milliarcseconds in RA, ñ9.1 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" 4.30ñ0.91 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 ñ20.3 milliarcseconds in RA, ñ37.2 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" 14.39ñ0.40 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 ñ .490 (magnitudes per square arcsecond) Total B magnitude: 10.464 ñ .278 Far infrared magnitude: 10.243 Heliocentric galaxy RV from neutral hydrogen: 13.972 ñ 5.955 km/s Heliocentric galaxy RV from optical observations: -17.437 ñ 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: 5.321ñ1.005 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 ñ 4 km/sec Galaxy RV from optical observations: -16 ñ 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 ñ.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