to obtain the data corresponding to an astronomical
object. The syntax of an identifier is detailed in
this chapter .
query around an object, with a radius definition
to obtain all objects within a given radius around
the given object (default radius: 10 arcmin.).
partial identifiers using wildcards:
'?' = one char
'*' = any number of chars, including none
'[c1-c2]' = all chars between char 'c1' and char 'c2'
'[^c1-c2]' = all chars not between char 'c1' and char 'c2'
If an identifier contains a wildcard character (i.e. '**'), these characters must be
escaped by a backslash (\) to avoid them to be interpreted as a wildcard.
Example: \*\* *AB
If the identifier begins with a wildchar, especially '?' or '*', then the query
can be quite long.
a whole catalogue to get all objects in a catalogue.
Such queries are limited in size. Too large catalogs
will be displayed only partly.
The second part of the form allows to query a list of identifiers stored in
a file. The file can contain the following lines:
an identifier Only one identifier should be written on each line
#comment A comment line beginning with a sharp char ('#') will not
:comment A comment line beginning with a colon char (':') will be
displayed in the result file at its place.
empty lines are allowed and are not processed in any way
Query results can be displayed as a list (list display),
or each object can be completely displayed (full display).
If the Query around this object checkbox is activated, each identifier
query is turned into a coordinate query, taking the identifier position as the center
and using the given radius. In this case, only a list display is provided
for each identifier in the file, whatever the position of the
list display/full display radio button is.
The second form on this page allows to submit a local file containing a list
of identifiers. The result can be obtained on the web page, but if it may
be large, it is recommended to get it in ASCII format in a file (see the
Output Options page for this).
1 Object identifiers: how to type them
The syntax of an identifier is made of two parts:
the abbreviated catalogue name, followed by
the identifier description, which acan be a number, letters,
coordinates or any combination of several such fields.
It is a safe practice to have the catalogue name followed by a space. It can
be avoided if the first identifier field begins with a sign, like in a
BD number (e.g. BD+08 1432. It can generally be avoided for most
identifiers, the parsing of identifiers being quite flexible.
Catalogue names are case insensitive.
Examples: HD 187642orHD187642 M 31orm31 BD+8 4236orBD +8 4236orBD +08 4236
Altair, α Aquilae, and RR Lyrae are listed as: NAME ALTAIR,
* ALF AQL and
V* RR LYR
where NAME, *, and V* are the catalogue names.
Many catalog acronyms, defining lists in articles, were designed from the first letters of the three first authors of the paper followed by the publication year.
These acronyms are written between brackets (i.e. [VV2003c] for
Veron-Cetty+Veron, 2003). Such identifiers can be written without the brackets.
They will be automatically added by the software.
Several common usages in designations – which can be sometimes far from
the right syntax – are processed by the sesame module. It
offers an efficient management of the possible
variations in the naming of astronomical objects in SIMBAD and the
info database of nomenclature of celestial objects helps to
find any allowed designation (see Egret, 1992 and 1993).
The Dictionary of Nomenclature
A list of the catalogue names, abbreviations, or
acronyms used (including cluster nomenclature) is available
in the Second Reference Dictionary of the Nomenclature
of Celestial Objects outside the Solar System (Lortet et al., 1994).
This Dictionary is available on-line, at URL
Object names such as Vega and Altair, but also Barnard's star or
Crab Nebula, are stored in the database in a specific catalog
called NAME, while star names in constellations, such as alpha Lyrae,
are stored as catalogue *, and variable stars (R Aquarii)
in the catalogue VAR.
You generally can simply type the name
(Vega, Altair, or alf Lyrae):
the identifier preprocessing module (sesame) will make the
In case of problem, please send a mail at ,
the special hotline account managed by the CDS team.
Naming astronomical objects within SIMBAD: a few hints
SIMBAD is not case-sensitive at this level: ALF AQL or
alf Aql are, for instance, both accepted.
should be abbreviated as three letters: alf, bet, for
α and β, but also mu.nu. and
pi. (with a dot), for µ, ν and π.
The complete list is given in appendix-A.
constellation names should be
abbreviated with the usual three letters: alf Boo,
del Sct, FG Sge, NOVA Her 1991.
The complete list is given in appendix-B.
Component letters should be typed as upper case letter (which may be
separated with a space): HD 48915B or HD 48915 B. This
applies also to Supernovae as SN 1987A or SN 1987 A .
Extra solar planets:
Extra solar planets are designated with a lowercase letter after the
identifier (i.e. HD 2638b).
If searching an acronym or a identifier syntax in the
nomenclature dictionary doesn't help, and your identifier
is not accepted by SIMBAD, or simply not
found, try this: enter the coordinates of the object; if the object
exists in SIMBAD under a different name, you still have a chance to find it.
If you have the reference of the paper in which your object is mentionned,
you can find the reference through the Bibliography query page, and from the
paper the list objects it contains from the same page (bibcode and
checking display objects in the reference).
You can query identifiers using wildcards for defining a generic pattern.
Wildcard definitions allow to define string patterns that are
checked against actual strings.
Wildcard elements are :
? represents one character, and exactly one
* represents any string, even an empty one
[abc] represents exatly one chararcter among the given list.
Here: a, b or c
[A-Z] represents one character in the defined range. Here: A to Z
[^at-z] represents one char not in the given list. Here: any char
except 'a' and 't' to 'z'.
An arbitrary string containing at least one char can be represented
hd *1 retrieve all objects in the HD catalog ending with 1
hd *[abc] retrieve all objects in the HD catalog ending with a,b or c
hd 123? retrieve the hd numbers from hd 1230 to hd 1239
Such queries can be quite long (a few minutes), mainly because the DBMS
doesn't always make use of indices when querying through patterns.
It can be useful when doing such queries which return list of objects
driven by an acronym query to impose a particular catalog in the display:
on the Output Options , select on the identifier line,
from catalog list => and write one (or more) catalog names in the
2 To search all objects around one object
It may be useful to search all objects, in the database,
around a given object. This is done by typing an identifier
and selecting around this object.
The result is the list of objects, including the queried one, located
within the given radius and sorted by increasing distance to the
From the result of an object, the same form to query around is available on the top right.
Simbad Help ⋅