Wednesday, August 11, 2010

NSTARS

Stars that are designated as being 'nearby' are usually those within 25 parsecs of the Sun. In 1998 a project was begun at Northern Arizona University, called NSTARS. It used a nomenclature that seems currently in vogue (converting the position in the sky to a nine character identifier), but to me it seemed too cumbersome for general use beyond the scientific community. Their website has been down for a few years for a "redesign", and there's no word when it will be back, if at all.

But I kept a copy before it disappeared. And now I'm pleased to release my unofficial update of the NSTARS catalogue, entitled the Near Star Catalogue. With it, I propose a new nomenclature for nearby stars that I hope will be adopted. I will blog about that next time.

I acknowledge the hard work done by the NSTARS team to compile the original database. Thank you also to the folks at SIMBAD, the RECONS team, Dr. Carolin Liefke of the University of Hamburg (see her NEXXUS database), and to Ken Slatten, whose corrections to the original NSTARS database had been passed on to me. If you're out there, Ken, please send me a mail!

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