Star Catalogues and Databases

Links to Online Data Sources

AAVSO International Variable Star Database: comprises mainly amateur data collected for over a century, includes RASNZ-VSS archive data, plus data viewers. Always send your results here.

General Catalogue of Variable Stars: The only comprehensive catalogue of variables, often wrong, incomplete or out of date; but always a first port of call and standard reference. GCVS4 is the current catalogue, NSV for unconfirmed VS data, Name Lists for newly entered stars since publication of GCVS IV. Download or use query form, and note the important List of Variability Types.

ASAS (All-Sky Automated Survey): is a vital ongoing survey of southern variables brighter than about V=12.5. Go here to find out what just about any southern variable has been doing for the last five years. Sky coverage is about once every 3 days. A convenient way to find ASAS data on a star is to look it up first in VSX (see above) and select Exterhal Links > ASAS Light Curve in the Detail Sheet. There is an important tutorial on using ASAS data at

Exoplanet Transit Database (ETD)  This site will give predictions of transits visible in your skies at any time and has excellent software tools to help analyse your data. It has become the major clearing house for amateur transit detections, so if you observe a transit post it here.


Following are a serie sof catalogies produced by VSS participants ( largely Mati Morel) that may be of use to you.

O-B5 Stars in Centaurus Updated Catalogue

Updated values for McGruder's O-B5 Stars in Centaurus Catalogue

by Mati Morel, created: 2014.

About forty years ago McGruder (1975) published a catalogue of 417 stars of spectral types O-B5 in Centaurus. Coordinates for B1950, photographic UBV data and spectral types were given. It is now possible to identify all objects with certainty, and to resolve anomalies in the photographic photometry by comparison with high-quality recent data, and to assess its general accuracy. The dataset in updated form now provides accurate BV data for more than 300 stars.

Having contacted Brian Skiff (2014), Lowell Observatory, I am advised that there is no evidence of follow-up to confirm McGruder’s OB stars, and his UBV data proves to be so noisy it is of little value in the professional realm. Consequently the 1975 paper and list have been largely ignored.
As the work done here now provides a reliable sequence of BV photometry for more than 300 stars in southern Centaurus it can be made available for other purposes. Note that Nova Cen 2005 = V1047 Cen appeared in the midst of this same field.
Author Mati Morel Last changed Date 2014-10-26 Filesize 14.29 KB
VSS Eclipsing Binary Database - Readme
Last changed Filesize 2.37 KB
Recovery of 1684 Spectral Types in a Sagittarius Field

Recovery of 1684 Spectral Types in a Sagittarius Field

Edited by Mati Morel, created: 2013. Last Revision: 12 Spet 2013

  • To provide precise J2000 positions for 1684 stars with MK spectral types published by McCuskey (1964).
  • To provide V mags for his stars
  • To provide other identifiers, HD and DM numbers for the stars
1 File:
  • SA158.DAT

The catalogue lists 1684 stars around Selected Area 158 in Sgr. The field covers 25.2 sq°, from (J2000) 18h18.0m to 18h41.0m, and -27°25' to -32°15', with a limiting mag ~12ptg. My work provides other identifiers (HD and DM nos), not part of the original paper. While the list provides much data of a spectral nature, rather than variable stars, nevertheless a number of variable stars did turn up in the course of this work, and will be of interest.

Other Sources

The construction of this catalogue is based on a paper and finder charts published by S.W. McCuskey (1964). GUIDE9 was used to generate on-screen charts for comparison, and to extract precise positions from UCAC3, SPM4, 2MASS and others. Modern photometry (V, B-V) from Tycho-2 was used to confirm identities, while the VizieR page at CDS was used to access other data as required.


McCuskey, S.W. 1964. Astron. J. 69,104

Author Mati Morel Last changed Date 2013-09-25 Filesize 40.05 KB
VSS Eclipsing Binary Database Version:15
Last changed Date 2014-02-03 Filesize 17.02 KB
Lucke-Hodge OB Associations in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Lucke-Hodge OB Associations in the Large Magellanic Cloud (Lucke, 1972)

Edited by Mati Morel, created: 2013.  Last Revision: 2013

  • To provide precise J2000 positions for all stars (~5000) in Lucke's 1972 thesis on LMC OB associations
  • To replace, as much as possible, of Lucke's old photo-graphic mags with updated recent photometry. In effect this sets up 95 BV sequences over the LMC region.>
  • To provide other data (spectral types etc) for many stars
  • To make the dataset capable of being read and displayed by GUIDE9. For this purpose two GUIDE9-specific files are included in the ZIP file, i.e. lh_stars_f.txt, lhob_f.tdf.
4 Files:
  • LHOB_f.TDF
  • LH_NUMORDER.txt lists OB associations in numerical order, as given in the original catalogue (1970). The stars within each association are then listed numerically. The ordering of stars is irregular, not strictly following Right Ascension or another regular system.
  • lh_stars_f.txt Contains the same data, in order of RA.

Other Sources:

My construction of this catalogue used Lucke's 1972 thesis for the finder charts and BV data therein. GUIDE9 was used to generate on-screen charts for comparison, and to extract precise positions from UCAC3, SPM4, 2MASS and others. Modern photometry was downloaded from APASS, and the VizierR page of CDS (Stellar Data Centre) at Strasbourg.

Last changed Date 2013-07-01 Filesize 218.75 KB
Identifying NSV Objects

by Mati Morel

Innes (1914) published a list of 111 variables in UOC20. The majority (77%) have now received GCVS names, while the remainder have NSV designations. The identities of many of these NSV entries are still uncertain, and the work done here provides clarification, using the material (finder charts and descriptive notes) published by Innes, together with modern sources.

Author Mati Morel Last changed Date 2012-11-11 Filesize 16.38 MB
Deep Sky Objects in the Magellanic Clouds

Edited by Mati Morel.

As a follow-up to my reworking of the Shapley-Lindsay (SL) catalogue of LMC star clusters, a similar plan of attack has been used for the star clusters of the SMC. The number of catalogued objects here is only a fraction of that in the LMC, so it was fairly straightforward to work through all 220 clusters identified by Hodge & Wright (1977) in their atlas of the SMC.

Lindsay Catalogue of SMC clusters

Four catalogues of SMC clusters were used by Hodge and Wright in compiling their SMC atlas, with Eric Lindsay's 1958 catalogue being the longest, with 116 entries. I have given Lindsay's compilation priority status, and kept his clusters in correct numerical order, even though the precise J2000 positions are not always strictly in order of increasing RA. Entries from other catalogues (K, WG and HW) are inserted in the most appropriate positions, according to RA.

Compared to the LMC, identification problems were rare, and the Hodge-Wright atlas was found to be very reliable, displaying the positions of clusters with commendable accuracy. Nevertheless, Lindsay's published catalogue was consulted to be sure no vital information was missed.

Curiously, while the Lindsay catalogue gives diameters in arcmin for each cluster, the values given are generally far too large, up to 79 arcmin. It is clear that some other scale is meant, perhaps an absolute diameter in parsecs? The BSDL diameter data has been inserted instead.

Last changed Date 2012-07-30 Filesize 47.07 KB
Barnards and Schoenbergs Merged Catalogues of Dark Nebulae

Merged Lists Of Dark Nebulae - Barnard(1927) & Schoenberg(1964)

Edited by Mati Morel, created: 2008. Last Revision: 2012

  • To put Schoenberg's catalogue into computer readable form.
  • To combine Schoenberg's catalogue with Barnard's, for ease of comparison.
  • To provide J2000 coordinates for all entries.
2 Files:
Last changed Date 2012-07-30 Filesize 152.5 KB
Updated Sanduleak Catalogue of Supergiants in the LMC

Database for N.Sanduleak's LMC Supergiants. Zones -65° TO -72°

Edited by Mati Morel, created: 1999. Latest Revision: 2008


To provide improved astrometric positions, UBV photometry and cross-references to GSC ids., all updated from the original catalogue published by Sanduleak in 1970.

2 Files:
Last changed Date 2012-07-30 Filesize 109.4 KB
Catalogue of Stars in the Reed low-absorption areas of Puppis

Database for Stars in MW 245 (Reed). Positions added by M. Morel

Edited by Mati Morel, created: 1990.  Last Revision: 2012


To provide B1950 positions (not hitherto known), MK spectral types, and BV photometry (photographic) for 1487 stars in Puppis

3 Files:
Last changed Date 2012-07-30 Filesize 102.58 KB
Catalogues of Stars and Nebulosity in the SMC
Last changed Filesize 12.61 KB
Directory of Comparison Stars from IBVS 1-5000

Edited by Mati Morel

Version 1

In 1994 the first tentative attempt was made to compile a list of comparison stars for variable stars, as reported in certain issues of the IBVS (Morel 1994). In many reports on variable stars where UBV photometry been performed the authors have specified which comparison and check stars were used, and their adopted magnitudes, usually tied to the standard Johnson-Morgan UBV system. To facilitate access to this useful data I compiled a Directory of Comparison Stars Cited in IBVS, commencing with IBVS No. 2081, the earliest one in my  set at that time.

The first version tended to concentrate on fainter stars, below 6.00V, for which the IBVS data was likely to be new. Data was compiled by examining each issue of IBVS , initially numbers 2081-4039.  V and B-V values were retrieved, and matched with standard catalogue identifiers (HD, SAO, DM etc). Positions were provided for each comparison star, for B1950.  In some instances, where IBVS published a sequence of many stars, or a sequence with faint stars below the limit of the Guide Star Catalogue, positions were not readily available, and the table entry merely refers to the entire sequence.

Number of records: 520.

Version 1 was made available to the astronomical community in two formats : ASCII text file, and spreadsheet (Lotus 1-2-3), on diskette upon request.

Version 2

In 2001, at the suggestion of Dr. Andras Holl, the Directory was expanded to cover many missed issues of IBVS, especially numbers 1-2080. The table format was retained, but the number of records was now almost double, and covered IBVS issues 1 - 4209. The complete table of comparison stars can be found on IBVS CD-ROM II as a text file (auxiliary table 4067-t1.txt, to IBVS 4067).

Number of records: 1025.

Version 3 (IBVS4)

In Jan. 2003, upon request, it was agreed to update the Directory again. Firstly, all of the numbers of IBVS 4210-5000 were searched for data. Secondly it was decided to check and amend all positions from epoch B1950 to J2000. This was done using Guide 8 (TM) software. The retrieval of higher precision coordinates was greatly facilitated, as well as retrieving other catalogue numbers. This process also allowed easy checking of IBVS data against data from the Hipparcos/Tycho mission.  Any discepancies found were investigated closely and resolved satisfactorily, in most cases.The working name for Version 3 is IBVS4.

Number of records: 1322.

Last changed Date 2012-07-30 Filesize 108.77 KB
Humphreys Catalogue of 71 OB Associations

OB Associations Database

Edited by Mati Morel, created: 1997. Last Revised: 2012


To provide a listing of 71 galactic OB associations, and about 1000 confirmed member stars, according to the work done by R.M. Humphreys in 1978.

2 Files:
Last changed Date 2012-08-15 Filesize 28.49 KB
Sharov Catalogue of Photometric Sequences

Sharov Catalogue of Photometric Sequences

Edited by Mati Morel, created: 2006. Last Revised: 2012


To update the original Russian publication, with J2000 positions, and to substitute English words and terms for the Russian. Some errors are corrected.

2 Files:
  • Sharov_1.TXT
  • Sharov_2.TXT
Last changed Date 2012-07-30 Filesize 35.61 KB
Catalogue of R136 Cluster stars in the LMC

Catalogue of R136 Cluster stars in the LMC

Edited by Mati Morel, created: 2010.


The media interest in the R136 stars in the Tarantula Nebula sparked me into action to find precise positions for its components.

1 File:
  • R136_001.PDF
Last changed Date 2012-07-30 Filesize 763.34 KB
Andrews-Morel Photometric Catalogue Around M42
The Atlas is a computer-readable version of David Andrews’ monumental Atlas of the Orion Nebula region (Armagh Observatory, 1981), updated by Mati Morel for VSS in 2011. It comprises corrected coordinates updated to epoch J2000.0, and BV magnitudes of 16398 stars in a region of 21.5 square degrees centred on M42 down to V~17. Download the ZIP file, which contains the database in a format for loading into Guide8 (and 9): Andrews.dat and Andrews.tdf, and two Readme files. The Andrews catalogue omitted the dense H II regions around M42; however Morel has covered this by including the Parenago catalogue, also designed to run on Guide8: Parenago.dat and Parenago.tdf. The two DAT files can be run simultaneously if desired.
Last changed Date 2012-07-29 Filesize 325.39 KB
GCVS stars catalog for MaximDL V5
For users of MaximDL/CCD V5 this file replaces the Stars.csv file found in the /Program files/Diffraction Limited/MaximDL V5 folder on Windows machines. Rename your original file to stars.old and just copy the new file into the folder. The original file contained just 78 bright stars but the replacement contains those bright stars plus the entire GCVS catalog plus 140 transiting exoplanets. Using the catalog for a goto has the added benefit of putting the target star's name into the FITS header of your images.
Last changed Date 2012-07-29 Filesize 1.52 MB

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