The Astronomy Nexus

p>I have used data from many sources. The most important are given here. Many of the catalogs were downloaded or used online from NASA's Astronomical Data Center (ADC), at

  1. Images and Data Processing
    I used the shareware program StarStrider togenerate many of the finder charts for the various stars. I also used it to generate the night sky for the otherworldly scene at the beginning of the Encyclopedia. Hmm, you say, that night sky has Sol in it, and doesn't look much like Earth's sky? Right -- StarStrider has the whole Hipparcos database, and lets you see the sky as seen from any point within 3000 light years of the Sun.

    I used the free ray-tracing program POV-Ray to create the foreground (islands + ocean) for the opening scene in the Encyclopedia site.

  2. Stellar Positions, Distances, Apparent Magnitudes, and Spectral Types
    • Gliese, W. + Jahreiss, H.Catalogue of Nearby Stars, 3rd Ed. (1991)
    • Hoffleit, D. et al. Bright Star Catalogue, 5th ed. (1991)
    • European Space Agency, Hipparcos Catalogue (1997)

    All position (right ascension, declination and distance) data were taken from Hipparcos unless otherwise noted. Yale Bright Star (HR) numbers were taken from the Bright Star Catalogue and the Gliese numbers from the Catalogue of Nearby Stars.

    Apparent magnitudes are from Hipparcos, except in the case of close double stars, which Hipparcos sometimes reported as a single star. In these cases, the magnitudes of the various components were taken from the Catalogue of Nearby Stars.

    Spectral types are from Hipparcos, except for two stars (36 Oph and Gliese 666), where the Hipparcos values seemed erroneous. For these two stars the values from Catalogue of Nearby Stars were used instead.

  3. Stellar Composition (Metallicity)
    • Cayrel de Strobel, G. et al.,Catalog of [Fe/H] Determinations (1997)
    • Eggen, O. Astr. J. 115, p 2397 (1995).

    Values from Cayrel de Strobel's catalog were preferred, when available. A metallicity of "Unknown" indicates missing data (unavailable in either catalog).

  4. Double Star Information
    • Worley, C. and Heintz, W. Fourth Catalog of Orbits of Visual Binaries, 1983. This was my preferred source for almost all of the binary orbital data (periods, semimajor axes, and eccentricities).
    • Worley, C. and Douglass, G. The Washington Visual Double Star Catalog, 1996. My main reference for double stars that lacked orbital information, but did have some visual observations (such as angular separations).
    • Batten A. et al., Eighth Orbital Elements of Spectroscopic Binaries, 1989. For a small number of double stars that don't have good visual observations, but whose orbits could be determined spectroscopically.
    • R. Burnham Jr.,Burnham's Celestial Handbook, Revised Ed. 1978. For historical and background information.
    • Duquennoy, A. and Mayor, M. Astron. Astrophys. 248, p 485-524, 1991. For one or two spectroscopic or suspected spectroscopic binaries not described in Batten et al. above.
  5. Age (Chromospheric Ca II spectra) Information
    • Henry, T. + Soderblom, D. Ap. J. 111, p. 439 (1996). Data for southern stars (declinations < 0) similar to the Sun.
    • Soderblom, D. Ap. J. 90, p. 90 (1985). Data for northern stars.

    As with the metallicity data, a value of "Unknown" indicates missing spectroscopic data. Ca II data are, interestingly enough, most complete for highly Sunlike stars, as a result of SETI target selection, and are less complete for stars appreciably brighter or dimmer than the Sun.

  6. Habitability, Biology, and SETI-related Information
    • Dole, S. Habitable Planets for Man (1964)
    • Kasting, J. et al., "Habitable Zones Around Main Sequence Stars", Icarus 101, p. 108-128 (1993).
    • Soderblom, D. "A 'Short List' of SETI Candidates", Icarus 67, 184-186 (1986).
  7. General Stellar Information
    • Schlosser et al., "Challenges of Astronomy". Source for the mass-luminosity law.
    • R. Burnham Jr.,Burnham's Celestial Handbook, Revised Ed. (1978). An astronomical treasure chest, despite its age.
    • Schaefer, B. et al., "Superflares on Normal F8-G8 Main-Sequence Stars", AAS Meeting #193, #22.01 (1999). Reference for superflare star information.

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