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SIMBAD Astronomical Database

SIMBAD contains information for:

  • about 2,000,000 stars;
  • about 1,500,000 nonstellar objects (galaxies, planetary nebulae, clusters, novae and supernovae, etc.).

The only astronomical objects specifically excluded from SIMBAD are solar system bodies.

For each object, the following data are included when available:

  • basic data:
    • stars: object types, coordinates, proper motion, radial velocities, parallaxes, spectral type, magnitudes and fluxes for several wavelengths and notes;
      Coordinates are stored in the ICRS system.
    • galaxies: object types, coordinates, redshifts, integrated magnitudes and fluxes for several wavelengths, morphological type, and dimension;
  • cross identifications of stars and galaxies from more than 7000 source catalogues and tables, either completely or partially included in the data base. A complete list of the nomenclature used is available as the Second Reference Dictionary of the Nomenclature of Celestial Objects outside the Solar System (Lortet et al., 1994).
  • observational data (also called measurements), for about thirty different data types.
  • general bibliography for the object, including references to all published papers from the journals regularly scanned (currently about 80 titles), and access to abstracts for a few recent periodicals (A&A, ApJ, AJ, PASP). Articles are scanned in their entirety, and references to all objects mentioned are included in the bibliography. A link is provided to the ADS services as well as the journal sites.

SIMBAD offers the following functionalities:

  • Query by identifiers and around identifiers
  • Query by coordinates, specifying the radius and the equinox
  • Query by bibcode and partial bibcode
  • Sampling with a set of physical criteria
  • Query by lists of objects, coordinates or bibcodes
  • Display charts for list of objects resulting from coordinates query

Moreover, the interface provides links with many other data services :

  • Links to the other CDS services: Tables in VizieR, giving access to the whole catalogued data, links to Aladin images, surveys and observatory logs.
  • Through the coordinates in basic data, you can query around an object, using a provided radius.
  • Identifiers are linked to the nomenclature dictionary, providing full description of original list, and, when available, offering direct access to the corresponding catalogue in the CDS catalogue service (VizieR and Bazaar)
  • Every bibcode is a link to the underlying bibliographic information, either at CDS, at ADS, or at the journal site when available. Links to the full text of paper are available in most cases.
    For articles containing tables stored at CDS, the reference provides also a link to the table or catalogue.
  • A link to the Heasarc database (NASA/GSFC) is proposed when an object has identifiers in high energy catalogues.
  • IUE measurements contain an anchor which points to the spectra stored in the INES database.
  • The maps produced by coordinate queries are cliquable and return the object information from SIMBAD.


September 13, 2010


restricted resource Resource is restricted to current Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff. Use Off Campus Sign In if not on the campus network.
licensed for Virginia Tech alumni access Resource is licensed for Virginia Tech alumni access. Use Alumni Library Portal Sign In to access.
freely accessible database Freely accessible database, available to anyone without restriction
mobile interface Mobile interface available, see description for link.
Screencast tutorial available Screencast tutorial available, icon linked to list.
Contents in summon Contents of this database are in Summon.
get VText Resource provides Get VText links to access full text.
gold open access - publishing Resource provides open access publishing opportunities and open access publications.
get VText Resource provides self archiving opportunities and open access documents.


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