Astronomy

Databases

Get a snapshot of PPM catalog stars on your meridian from here

Browse the Messier catalog by name or by ra

Browse the Yale Bright Star Catalog (revised) by index

Browse the NGC New General Catalog with IC, j2000.0 (revised) by type

try type=OC, Gx, DS, TS, ast, Kt, P, N, etc, more to follow....

Or, select type for NGC viewer


My Astrophotography


IAU Constellation guide


How-to details

When I changed webhosts to www.geohost.ca, I got PHP and MySQL support into the bargain. My first database usage was the very small airsick bag collection. This current usage is a step up. The linked page gives you access to a star catalog containing nearly 470,000 records. The point? To see how this stuff works.

To develop and test this stuff, I have created a development environment on my home computer (Windows XP Home) by installing Apache Web Server, PHP, and MySQL. I use Macromedia Homesite 5 for writing HTML and PHP scripts, and Visual Source Safe for revision control.

I downloaded from heasarc ftp://legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov/heasarc/dbase/dump/ the PPM catalog in an ASCII file, with a header describing the layout followed by a data section. I created the table ppm in my test database, using the description of the data layout in the header. I then loaded the file into wordpad and saved without the header, and then used the mysql command line command interpreter to load from local file to populate the table:

mysql> load data local infile 'c:\temp\hearsarc_ppm.tdat' into table ppm fields delimited by '|';

I then wrote a couple of HTML link pages, this one from the main page and the longitude setting page that follows, and developed a PHP script to determine GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), GST (Greenwich Sidereal Time), and LST (local sidereal time, depends on longitude), and then display star records whose RA (right ascension) is close to current LST, within an arcminute of upper transit (local latitude determines the souternmost stars "visible").

I browsed a lot of the mySQL documentation and a few other places on the web to determine how to upload the local test.ppm table to the web-side database host. The following method works:

I used mysqldump to capture the table data into a create and insert script that is saved to a known place on the hard drive. A path can be specified.

mysqldump test.ppm > test_ppm.sql

I then used mysql to upload the resulting file to the web.

mysql --host=myhost --port=#### --user=myname -p mydatabasename < test_ppm.sql

The -p option specifies the command should ask for the user password. I entered the name, and then waited a very long time (some 8 hours) to upload the data.