Simbad Help ⋅
Last modification: January , 2016
1 Different access protocols
The basic access to Simbad are from URL.
Here are some details:
- Web access become the main access to Simbad. It will allow to
query lists of identifiers and coordinates, as well as submit scripts in which
any kind of query can be mixed, along with defining the output format.
- TAP protocol from the Virtual Observatory is available from the URL:
It allows you to build complex queries
which gives you access to a database-like SQL syntax.
- SOAP WebServices (WSQuery), Telnet access and queries by mail are removed. The web interface
has been improved to facilitate queries from large lists, returning the result
in ASCII files. A new scripting language replaces the list query syntax and the
mail query syntax.
- Python library : the external astroquery (
) python package makes queries to SIMBAD using the script capabilities.
- Access from an application:
Web output obtained from an URL (the HTML text) are moving regularly so they are not
aimed to be parsed. If you used Simbad urls in your applications and parsed the HTML
output to extract your information, you will have to adapt your parsing. But we
encourage you to use directly the script output, easier to parse, and stable or the TAP service.
The Simcli packages used by several services will remain available without any
modification but are not evolving anymore, and no support is given.
Please try to avoid this protocol, and change your client.
2 Different forms for specific queries
Basically, everything that Simbad does today will be possible to do with
Simbad4. But not necessarily in the same way. So, a feature not mentionned
below will more or less be the same as in Simbad3.
- Identifier queries are improved by allowing identifier writing with
wildcards (*, ? and [abc]). Users can submit their
own list of identifiers.
- Coordinate queries will include in their output the distance from the centre
of the query to each object. Lists of coordinates can be submitted
- Bibliography queries will allow queries by year range, journals, author names and
words in the title. This concerns only the references in Simbad and is not linked
with ADS. It will also allow to filter the references displayed
with an object.
A dedicated page will allow finding author names phonetically or using wildcards.
Currently it generates some noise, but can be useful.
Queries from a bibcode can also return the list of objects present in the article.
- Object samples: object selection is possible in Simbad4 from
most of the data fields: basic data, measurements and references. There are
about 200 fields available for building selections, using a simple query language
based only on criteria names and value constraints. Knowledge of the database
structure is not required.
A sample query can return the number of selected objects. This is usefull to get
an idea of the result size. It can return the list of objects selected. And finally,
it can return the list of references contained in the objects of the sample.
- Outputs: A dedicated web page allows to define the fields to display, either in
'full object' display mode or in the tabular mode for displaying a list of objects.
Several outputs will be available: HTML formatted output, ASCII output on the web page
or sent as file (with possible compression) and VOTable output in a file.
The defined configuration will be kept at least during one 'session', and longer
if your browser accepts cookies.
3 To search by astronomical object
The Web page Query by identifier allows
to query individual objects designated by any acronym typed in the 'identifier:'
It is also possible to query around the object, by specifying a search radius.
Identifiers can also be queries using wildcard. A whole catalog can be
returned by choosing the corresponding option and typing only the catalog name.
Finaly, a list of identifiers can be submitted. The result can be either in list
format or provide the full object display for each object in the list.
4 To search objects near one particular object
Use the Query by identifier Web page
and choose the option 'around this object' in the option list.
You may also wish to modify the default radius for this
The result is a list of objects, as in a search by coordinates.
5 To search by coordinates
The Web page Query by coordinates allows
to find all objects in a circle by defining the coordinates of the center – not
forgetting to specify the frame to use – and a radius.
A second form on this page allow to submit a file containing coordinates.
6 To search for references
The Query by references web page allows
queries from bibcodes, part of bibcodes or several criteria like journals, year range,
authors and title words. Only references from SIMBAD can be retrieved by this way. For
more complete bibliographic searches, please visit ADS.
With a complete bibcode, you can also get the list of astronomical objects contained
in the paper, and referenced in SIMBAD (check the box 'display objects in the reference')
after the bibcode field.
A secondary page allows you to retrieve an author from a wildcard expression (i.e. JAS*)
7 To search by criteria
The Query by criteria Web page
has a text field allowing to send a query made of constraints on
a large number of data fields contained in Simbad.
Such queries can be rather complex, so another field allows to submit
a file containing a search expression.
The whole list of available criteria is displayed at the bottom of
the web page.
8 To search from lists
Use the Script submission Web page.
A textarea window allows you to test formats and script structure, and to send
short scripts. The other part of this form allows you to send a file containing
a script and get the result, either in the web page (an ASCII output, with no
HTML tags), or in a file.
The Help page
accessible from this web page has all the details about the script commands,
the output format definition and the fields to use for VOTable output.
9 Output control
A dedicated web page gives control over the output format :
Output Options. It defines many
parameters for both full object display and list display.
This page opens always in a separate web page. It is recommended to keep
it on the desktop.
10 Format definition
Formats are currently only available in the
script mode and are described
on its Help page.
Every web page has three ways to provide help:
- The page header may display dedicated or general hot news concerning
- The main navigation bar contains a link to a dedicated help page describing in
more details the features of this page.
- The bottom of the web pages may contain a short summary of the features,
syntactical details, and so on.
Simbad Help ⋅