VizieR FAQ

1. I can't find the catalogue I'm interested in

See the explanations on How to select catalogues... You may also browse through catalogues, looking at the list of the VizieR most popular catalogues, or at the list of recently entered catalogues. Many catalogues give now an access to spectra or time series

2. I get the error message ****Can't interpret center

VizieR understands many ways of specifying the target's equatorial coordinates: sexagesimal hours (RA part) and sexagesimal degrees (Declination part), or decimal degrees in both parts. In order to avoid any ambiguity in the interpretation, the requirements are that:
  • if you enter RA in decimal degrees, be sure it contains a decimal point:
    15 +60     is interpreted as 15h +60°, while
    15.+60     is interpreted as 15°+60°, i.e. 01h +60°
  • if you enter RA in sexagesimal hours, be sure the sign of the declination is present
More details about the various ways to specify the target are described in the Constraint Specifications.

3. Not all columns of the catalogue are displayed in the VizieR Search Page

By default, all existing columns are not presented in the VizieR Search Page; the Adapt Form frame, at the bottom of the page, proposes to display all columns, the default set, or a customized set made of the checked columns only.

4. I have a list of positions, and would like to query several catalogues around these positions

You can submit a file containing your list of targets to VizieR: see the explanations on How to query from a LIST saved in a file. This option is proposed in the Adapt Form frame.

5. I would like to select sources in a catalogue, and find nearby sources in another catalogue

A general cross-correlation by position is in preparation, but it is currently possible to use the result of a query (in tab-separated-values) as the input for another query – see Using a TSV-file as Input file

6. I would like to get the results as a spreadsheet table

Choose the Tab-Separated-Values as the Output layout in the Query Setup part of the pages.

7. I really need to set my own value on the limit of retrieved results

There is a trick to set your limit: specify it in the http location with the -out.max parameter, for instance -out.max=123456. Retrieving this large sample could be very slow – especially if you ask to sort the results – just be prepared to wait when asking very large bunches... And also better choose the ascii table output format (or output for files like VOTable or FITS), the HTML tabular formatting can be very slow for large tables!

8. I would like to install a link to some vizier result from my page

VizieR follows the ASU conventions, and it's (relatively) easy to compose a URL which executes a query on vizier and presents the result in a web page: the HTTP GET or POST method can be used (are equivalent); see the ASU summary to get some details about how to write a working URL.

9. I wanted a copy of a complete catalog, but I got an error like
****Can't allocate space for object 'temp worktable' in database 'tempdb'

Sorry, but VizieR was developed as as query tool, and can't easily generate a huge output which could anyway not be managed by your browser (there is currently a maximum limit of 9999 retrieved records). To get a copy of complete catalogues and tables, it's recommended to use the CDS FTP facility, which can even generate on the fly files in FITS format (for details, see the FTP Facilities at CDS)

10. I asked to sort the result on one column, but the output doesn't look sorted

When no constraint is provided (i.e. neither a target position nor any other qualification was specified), VizieR does not take the sort request into account, because it can eat up a lot of resources. It is possible to force the sorting by specifying any qualification (e.g. 0 .. 24 in the RA box).

11. I need all my positions in a non-standard equinox

Only a few default equinoxes are effectively visible in the VizieR Search Page, and the default equinox depends on the requested catalog.

But VizieR accepts parameters using the ASU conventions, where the equinox is defined by -c.eq=equinox_value. Therefore inserting the argument -c.eq=1997.25 in the initial VizieR call will use 1997.25 as the default equinox for VizieR pages.

12. How exactly are computed the relative positions _r _x _y?

The arc projection is used, i.e. the distances are computed as great circle distances. See the more detailed formulae on this computation.

13. I would like to have my target name listed in a column of the output

This possibility was added in April 2001, see details in How to Query VizieR from a LIST saved in a file

14. VizieR mirrors

The list of the currently existing VizieR installations may be found in the VizieR home page, or in the section Other Installations of VizieR at the bottom of the VizieR Service page.

15. Why can a catalog be located in the Astronomer's Bazaar, and is not found in VizieR?

The Astronomer's Bazaar gives access to all catalogues stored at CDS.home, which can be copied via Anonymous FTP. The catalogues with a standardized documentation are automatically inserted into the VizieR system. Some not-yet-standardized catalogues can be ``standardized'' – drop us a mail at !

16. How to cite the usage of VizieR

The prefered reference for the usage of VizieR is the following paper:
Ochsenbein F., Bauer P., Marcout J., 2000, A&AS 143, 221

last update: 13 Feb 10:18

        this file updated on: 2011-03-31