Table information for 'arigfh.identified'


Table Description: Matches between the master catalog and the historical catalogs.

This table is available for ADQL queries and through the TAP endpoint.

Resource Description: ARI's "Geschichte des Fixsternhimmels" is an attempt to collect all astrometrically useful observations from before ca. 1970 in a way comparable to what has been done to construct the FK* series of fundamental catalogs. About 7e6 published positions are included. In GAVO's DC, we provide tables of identified and non-identified stars together with the master catalog that objects were identified against.

For a list of all services and tables belonging to this table's resource, see Information on resource 'ARIGFH object catalog'

Citing this table

This table has an associated publication. If you use data from it, it may be appropriate to reference 1989AGAb....2...33W (ADS BibTeX entry for the publication) either in addition to or instead of the service reference.

To cite the table as such, we suggest the following BibTeX entry:

  title={{ARIGFH} object catalog},
  author={Schwan, H. and Demleitner, M. and Wielen, R. and et al},
  howpublished={{VO} resource provided by the {GAVO} Data Center}

Resource Documentation

ARIGFH (ARI's "Geschichte des Fixsternhimmels") was a project running from at least 1990 until the early 2000s at Astronomisches Rechen-Institut Heidelberg (today a part of Zentrum für Astronomie of Heidelberg University). It strived to become the successor to Geschichte des Fixsternhimmels (see below) and succeeded in digitizing roughly 2500 and cross-matching about 1600 historical catalogs but petered out in the early 2000s for various reasons.

What is left is a large set of published positions, many matched against a master catalog, quite a few unresolved. There are also rough catalog descriptions, the raw catalogs in ASCII format, and FORTRAN subroutines (of admittedly varying quality) to parse the raw catalogs.

Some work has been done on bringing the systems of some of those catalogs to the ICRS and do further processing with the aim of producing proper motions of the objects. You are welcome to contact the operators if you are interested in taking up this work. Note that some command of German would certainly help a lot in this case.

Locating Data

Two main entry points might be interesting for the casual user -- for one, the cone search that gives you, for a given object or ICRS position, all observations that were matched to master objects near that position. Note that the first columns from the result tables come from the master catalog, i.e., they are all identical for the same star. The later quantities (e.g., raCat and decCat) give what is in the catalog. Of course, positions and other data are for the equinoxes and epochs specified with each row.

The second entry point for the casual user is katkat, the catalog of catalogs. Look for data for particular epochs, search by titles or authors, or just browse (links for doing that are in the katkat service info). Catalogs that have Teleki numbers have links into ARIGFH leading to the objects identified and not identfied from these tables.

Advanced users will want to directly access the tables.

The Tables

The arigfh schema consists of several tables. The most important one is the arigfh.gfh table, containing almost all published data. In it, positions and proper motions are largely as they were published, i.e., in a wild mixture of equinoxes for a wild mixture of epochs. Also, not all objects have both a usable RA and Dec. Therefore, there is no spatial index on the table. We have indexed RA and Dec separately, though.

The primary way to approach the gfh table (apart from sequential scans, which due to the moderate size of the table should be no big issue) is through catid (the catalog id, formed like tNNNNpNN; see katkat for details) and catan (the ARIGFH-assigned running number within the catalog, as opposed to catcn, the published catalog number).

Within the arigfh.gfh table, there should for most objects be sufficient metadata to at least precess the objects. What ARIGFH actually did to crossmatch the objects was to precess and transform a master catalog (in the arigfh.master table) to the published epoch and equinox and use that to crossmatch the objects.

The result of this matching is in the arigfh.identified table. It connects each identified position from the gfh table via the catid/catan pair to a position in the master catalog (via the masterNo column). These relationships are flattened out in the table. This is the basis for the SCS and web services since it contains ICRS positions as well as the historic observations.

Analoguosly, there is the arigfh.unidenfied table, giving catid and catan for the objects from gfh that could not be matched to the master catalog. Selecting those from the gfh table yields arigfh.nid. There's a simple web frontend for that table at arigfh/q/nidweb/form. Most of what is in there these probably just represents typos, but if you look, you will certainly find all kinds of weird things. Who knows -- maybe you could even find the optical counterpart of a historic GRB...

The FORTRAN subroutines

Where available, the katkat service lets you download the FORTRAN subroutines that were used to parse the data files. To understand them, please refer to to the (German) descriptions or ask the operators for the documents to be translated; of course, all comments in the FORTRAN code are in German, too. On the other hand, those comments are not terribly useful in the first place.

The subroutines use some functions that we've not yet published, mainly because they might be embarrassing to the anonymous authors. If you actually intend to use the subroutines, let us know and we will try to cook up a source file that contains all functions used.

While working on the import of the old data, many subroutines needed to be fixed. Most changes fixed spurious line feeds, uninitialized variables, changes in the FORTRAN compiler's way to evaluate string comparisons, etc. Since the original routines are still stored, it would be possible to reconstruct the changes, but since they are unlikely to have introduced additional problems, we do not list changes here.

However, with this experience in mind, it is certain that additional problems connected to changing FORTRAN semantics lurk in the parsing subroutines and thus the data. Bug reports are welcome.

Having said all that, the only thing the subroutines should probably used for is to glean metadata from them. The student assistants who wrote the subroutines were supposed to carefully study the introductions to the catalogs in order to fill out the metadata fields (kennx4/8), and quite a number of them actually did.

Geschichte des Fixsternhimmels

ARIGFH's predecessor or inspiration, "Geschichte des Fixsternhimmels" (Paetsch et al) or GFH, "The history of the stellar sky", is a massive collection of stellar positions from almost all published catalogs for the 18th and 19th centuries.

The endeavor started in 1898 with a memorandum by Friedrich Wilhelm Ristenpart of Heidelberger Sternwarte (with input by Arthur von Auwers, who had suggested a similar project some 20 years before) to the Prussian Academy of Sciences proposing the generation of a "Thesaurus positionum stellarum affixarum". Auwers then applied for funding and got it for fiscal year 1998/99. Ristenpart was appointed director of the project.

The source material of GFH consisted of 442 catalogs with roughly 250000 objects and about a million individual positions. These had to be brought to equinox B1875.0 and crossmatched, all without the help of modern digital computers.

One first result of Ristenpart's activities was the "Fehlerverzeichnis zu den Sternkatalogen des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts" ("Directory of Errors in the Star Catalogs of the 18th and 19th centuries"), published in 1908. When Ristenpart moved to Santiago de Chile, Hans Paetsch took over. Due to Auwer's death, World War I, and problems in the preprint phase, the first volume of GFH, covering 0h in RA on the northern sky, did not appear until 1922.

In the 1920s, work was significantly delayed when temporarily Paetsch was the only person actually working on GFH. Starting 1926, personnel was re-allotted to GFH, such that by 1936 the northen part of GFH was finished.

The publication of the southern part of GFH began in 1937, after Johannes Haas had taken over from Paetsch when the latter had retired in 1929. World War II and the split of the program into a western part in Bonn and a dormant eastern part in Potsdam had brought GFH to a standstill until IAU's executive committee passed a decision noting the importance of the volumes still missing.

The last volume of the original GFH (full catalog set reduced to equinox B1875.0) was published by the East German GFH project in 1966; somewhat earlier, the Bonn group published their last volume in 1958, but they were missing some catalogs that they considered sufficiently covered by the Hamburg Index.

This section is heavily based on 1972S&W....11..224A. The bibliography there lists the following items that are not yet in ADS:


Sorted by DB column index. [Sort alphabetically]

NameTable Head DescriptionUnitUCD
dist Offset Offset between master catalog position at catalog epoch and equinox and the catalog position deg pos.angDistance
masterNo Master# Catalog number in master catalog (arigfh.master) N/A;meta.ref
dcomp Comp Component designation for multiple system, as in the master catalog N/A meta.code.multip
iq Match Qual. Quality of match, quality decreasing with values increasing from 2 N/A meta.code.qual
csort Cat. type Catalog type [Note ct] N/A meta.code
catid Cat. code Catalog designation as in arigfh.katkat N/A meta.ref
catan ARI catno Object number in source catalog, ARI assigned N/A

Columns that are parts of indices are marked like this.


The following services may use the data contained in this table:


VO nerds may sometimes need VOResource XML for this table.


Note ct

The csort column indicates the type of the catalog the row was generated from. The following values are defined:

-1 Meridian circle or similar, only RA observed
-2 Meridian circle or similar, only Dec observed
-3 Meridian circle or similar, obs. in RA and Dec
-10 Photographic catalog
-20 Satellite observations
-70 Surveys of limited precision
-80 Other observational material
-1000 Compilation catalog, Epoch=Equinox
-2000 Compilation catalog on mean epoch
-3000 Other compilation catalog

Copyright and such: