Activities at the Astronomical Data Center

Volume 10, Numbers 3 & 4, December 1994
by Nancy Roman
The Astronomical Data Center (ADC) has evolved rapidly during the past year in trying to keep up with current technology. A major effort has involved changing the format of our documents. We have been working closely with the Centre Donnees de Strasburg (CDS) in this activity. The CDS originated a standard form for documents and has written a number of software programs to permit both manipulation and quality control of the catalog files based on this form. They have also written software that can combine the ASCII file and the document to produce a FITS version of the file automatically so that archiving in both forms is not required. Continual interchange of ideas has led to minor changes in the standard document form to improve the product and to meet ADC as well as CDS needs. We are also gradually converting our older catalogs to the new standard.

The ADC is also working to make more extensive use of the World Wide Web (WWW or Web). The brief descriptions of the catalogs for which they exist (some of the older catalogs do not have such descriptions) are now on the Web. We plan to make it possible to search the Web for catalogs of interest using either the ADC keywords or user-defined terms. Catalogs of interest can then be ordered directly from the Web without a separate request to the ARCHIVES account on NSSDC's NDADS.

Another activity underway is the preparation of material for a second ADC CD-ROM. The first one was enthusiastically received, and the ADC has had many requests for a second one. We plan to put the largest of the catalogs most frequently requested on the new CD-ROM. Of major importance are the Durchmusterung catalogs, which were too large for the first CD-ROM. In this way, these large catalogs will be readily available without long ftp transmissions and without requiring extensive storage on a disk.

In cooperation with the CDS, we are now archiving major tables from journals as well as larger catalogs. The ADC is responsible for acquiring and processing such files from North American publications. We have begun discussions with the American Astronomical Society and will archive the files that they produce for their CD-ROM.

Of course, the ADC continues to archive new catalogs. Among the important ones received in the last few months are two supplements to the Position and Proper Motion catalogs, a catalog of new UBV photometric data for more than 25,000 stars, a bibliographic catalog of variable stars, and the Parkes-MIT-NRAO radio survey. We have also archived updated versions of earlier catalogs.

The ADC produces a quarterly electronic newsletter for those interested in keeping up with our activities in greater detail. To be put on the distribution list, send E-mail to and in the body of the message, put the command:

with your real name (not your E-mail address). Previous issues of ADC News are also available by request, using E-mail from listserv. To get a list of the issues that are available, send E-mail to and put the following command in the body of the message:
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Author:Miranda Beall
Curators: Erin Gardner and Miranda Beall
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 21 Nov 1996 [EDG]