Last updated 30 March 2008
A few people have been doing some very interesting things with Guide's user-added (.TDF) dataset facility. To see these in action, you can download their files from this Web page. If you've put together something other Guide users might be interested in, please e-mail me . I will either post it here or post a link to your own page, whichever you prefer.
For a full description of how to manipulate .TDF datasets (turning them on and off, adding your own, and so forth), see chapter 19 of your users manual.
Also, some odd bits are listed here that are really at the "beta test" stage... they should move to the "updated software" page, once I make them less user-abusive (or, in some cases, get feedback as to whether they work properly.)
Also, be aware that some of these datasets are on the Guide 6, 7, and 8 CDs. (Basically, as new CDs are made, the datasets available at the time are usually put onto the disks.) Therefore, you may not need to download most of the following files. Run Guide and look under "Extras... Toggle User-Added Datasets." Except in cases where the dataset has been updated, you may be able to just stick with a version provided on the Guide CD.
(20 March 2007, updated 30 March 2008, 21 Aug 2009, 22 Mar 2010) Ability to list/display asteroid occultations for 2007-2011: This is essentially a continuation of the same ability for 2006 and earlier years. If you click here to download the event lists (about 94 KBytes) to your Guide directory, and unZIP it there, you can fire up Guide, go to "Miscellaneous Tables", and see "Asteroid occn's worldwide, 2007" and "Asteroid occn's worldwide, 2008" as listed tables. Similarly, you can click here to get the event list for 2009 (about 48 Kbytes). And, courtesy Guiliano Pinto, you can click here to get the event list in Italian for all three years (about 144 KBytes).
Also, one can now click here to get the event list for 2010 (about 95 Kbytes), and here to get the event list for 2011 (about 84 Kbytes).
As in previous years, the data comes courtesy of Edwin Goffin. The original data, plus PDFs and images showing where the events will occur, can be found at ftp://ftp.ster.kuleuven.ac.be/dist/vvs/asteroids/2007, ftp://ftp.ster.kuleuven.ac.be/dist/vvs/asteroids/2008, ftp://ftp.ster.kuleuven.ac.be/dist/vvs/asteroids/2009, ftp://ftp.ster.kuleuven.ac.be/dist/vvs/asteroids/2010, and ftp://ftp.ster.kuleuven.ac.be/dist/vvs/asteroids/2011. Links are also provided within the table display; you can click on one of them and have the relevant PDF pop up in your Web browser.
(14 June 2005) Globular clusters in M-81: Bertrand Laville has supplied a TDF to allow display of globular clusters and candidate globular clusters in M-81. To make use of it, you should download the data file (about 283 KBytes) to your Guide folder, and save it with the name m81_glob.dat. Then download this file to your Guide folder (about 1 KByte) and unZip it. When you zoom in on M-81, many globulars should appear.
(23 May 2005) Improved globular cluster database: Bertrand Laville has supplied a TDF to allow display of a new and improved list of globular clusters. This list has many positions corrected by remeasured astrometry, some corrections supplied by the indefatiguable Brian Skiff, and a lot of quantities of greater use to visual observers (such as indications of the visual magnitudes of the brighter stars in the object.)
To display these globulars in Guide, click here to download the dataset (about 6 KBytes) and unZIP it in your Guide folder.
(25 April 2005) Display of the Downes & Shaara list of Cataclysmic Variables: John Greaves has supplied a TDF for display of this very useful dataset. Previous versions of the dataset have been in assorted "unfriendly" formats, but you can now click here to get the current data file (about 325 KBytes) in a form Guide can use. You'll also want to click here to download the cv.tdf file (about 1 KByte) needed for Guide to be able to interpret the data. Put both files in your Guide folder, and cataclysmic variables should be displayed.
(4 April 2005) Ability to list/display asteroid occultations for 2006: This is essentially a continuation of the same ability for 2005 and for 2004. If you click here to download the 2005 event list (about 82 KBytes) to your Guide directory, and unZIP it there, you can fire up Guide, go to "Miscellaneous Tables", and see "Asteroid occn's worldwide, 2006" as one of the listed tables.
As in previous years, the data comes courtesy of Edwin Goffin. The original data, plus PDFs and images showing where the events will occur, can be found at ftp://ftp.ster.kuleuven.ac.be/dist/vvs/asteroids/2006.
(8 February 2005) Display of gravitational lenses: Bertrand Laville has provided this dataset of 19 gravitationally-lensed objects, from a list supplied on the AmAstro Yahoo group. Download this file (about 5 KBytes) to your Guide folder, and unZIP it, and the Extras... Toggle User Datasets menu will contain a new "Gravitational Lenses (best of)" dataset.
When you click on one of these objects and ask for "more info", Guide will show a list of all 19 objects; you can sort them by magnitude, RA, dec, etc., and click on any object to recenter on it.
(27 January 2005, updated 24 Mar 2008) Use of the 'current' GCVS (General Catalogue of Variable Stars): Guide currently uses an older version of the General Catalogue of Variable Stars (the one available when the CDs were pressed). The current GCVS includes many corrections, and if you're at all avid about variable stars, you'll want to use it in place of the version currently used by Guide. John Greaves has provided a file that enables display of the current GCVS in Guide.
To do this, you should download the current GCVS (about 6 MBytes) from its home at the Sternberg Astronomical Institute in St. Petersburg. UnZIP it in your Guide folder. Then download this file to your Guide folder (about 1 KByte) and unZIP it. This will enable display of the current GCVS when next you start Guide. Look under Extras... Toggle User Added Datasets, and "Current GCVS" will appear among the entries.
You should also go into Display... Data Shown, and turn variables off in that dialog. This will shut off Guide's built-in variable star data, leaving only the current GCVS variable stars.
(14 January 2005) Deep-sky objects for the Magellanic Clouds: A series of datasets for the Magellanic Clouds has been provided by Bertrand Laville and Mati Morel. You can click here to download them (about 48 KBytes). They write:
"We have compiled a number of datasets of objects for the Magellanic Clouds. These cover clusters and nebulae which have not hitherto been accessible to GUIDE users. Text Definition Files (TDFs) are provided for all datasets, making it a simple matter to display the data via GUIDE8. The datasets are titled as follows :
The datasets were compiled by Mati Morel, Thornton NSW, Australia. TDFs were written by Bertrand Laville, Marseille, France."
Further information can be found in a page on the Astronomical Society of New South Wales Web site.
(14 January 2005) Display of 32 stars within about 3' of Sirius: In general, the areas near bright stars are "forbidden zones" in most catalogs. Those areas are saturated on the survey plates used to make up the GSC, B1.0, Ax.0, and similar catalogues. Tycho-2 did a little better, but still, no stars are shown within about 6' of Sirius.
However, a study was done in hopes of finding a third companion to Sirius (in addition to the well-known white dwarf star). It's been suggested that a long-period companion in a highly eccentric orbit might explain some anomalies in the Sirian system: the white dwarf is the heaviest known, and Chinese and other ancient records independently describe Sirius as being red. The latter might be related to the most recent perisirian (?) approach of the unknown companion. You can read more here and here.
You can also click here to get the data for display in Guide (about 2800 bytes). UnZIPt this file in your Guide directory, and you will see 32 small stars within 3' of Sirius. These could represent interesting observing and/or imaging challenges.
Of course, this still leaves a donut-shaped "dead zone" from 3' to 6' around the star. And the catalogues such as B1.0 and UCAC-2 are far from encyclopedic outside the 6' zone. Another interesting challenge would be to add stars within this zone, either through visual or CCD means.
(1 June 2004) Ability to list/display asteroid occultations for 2005: This is essentially a continuation of the same ability for 2004. If you click here to download the 2005 event list (about 148 KBytes) to your Guide directory, and unZIP it there, you can fire up Guide, go to "Miscellaneous Tables", and see "Asteroid occn's worldwide, 2005" as one of the listed tables.
As in previous years, the data comes courtesy of Edwin Goffin. The original data, plus PDFs and images showing where the events will occur, can be found at ftp://ftp.ster.kuleuven.ac.be/dist/vvs/asteroids/2005.
One can sort the list by various parameters (date/time, region covered, object name, target star name, target star magnitude, and mag drop). Also, one can click on an "event data" item for each event; this brings up a .PDF file from Goffin's site, showing the predicted ground track and a summary of information about the event.
(10 November 2003) .TDF and data file to display the Preliminary Amateur Open Cluster Catalogue (PAOCC): This catalog was compiled by members of the Deep Sky Hunters group, and lists assorted asterisms that range from "almost certainly not real clusters" to "definitely open clusters." The .TDF file to display the catalog was provided by Philippe Laurent, and sent to me by Bertrand Laville.
You can click here to download the catalog (about 14 KBytes). It currently contains 670 entries. UnZIP the file in your Guide directory, and look in Extras... Toggle User-Added Datasets for the "DSH catalog". Turn this on, and you will see the various objects from this catalog.
Bertrand Laville notes: "...Many of these DSO are named by three letters ANR, followed by RA and Dec: they have been 'discovered' by members of Ciel Extreme, the French deep sky association, and ANR means "amas non repertories", or "non referenced clusters"... unfortunately, [this catalog] does not give magnitudes; thus, you can only display or not clusters."
(13 June 2003) .TDF and data file to display the ZC Tycho-2 catalogue: Oliver Kloes provided these files; click here to download the ZIPped files (about 240 KBytes).
Guide has supported display of the XZ80P catalog, widely used by occultation observers, for some time now. It's recently been replaced by the XZ80Q catalog; the ZC Tycho-2 catalog is a subset of that catalog. It's sort of an "advance sample" of what could be expected (and is now available) with the full XZ80Q. The data supplied is similar to that for XZ80P.
(4 June 2003) .TDF file to display the 77th Name List of variable stars: John Greaves sent in the following remarks:
Hi all NameList 77 has snuck out. Below is the quick and simple TDF for showing it in Guide. Just copy the file http://www.konkoly.hu/pub/ibvs/5401/5422-t1.txt to your Guide directory, and download this TDF there as well. GOTO TDF will work. To test search for V709 Cep. I did (;) You'll get lil white circles with the variable's name labelled in white, and some simple help info. There ain't much in the original data to display anyroad. No doubt this will be subsumed into to the electronic version of the GCVS in time, but until then, this'll let you plot / double check / chartify / whatever. Cheers John
(16 May 2003) Ability to list/display asteroid occultations for 2004: This is essentially a continuation of the same ability for 2003. If you click here to download the 2004 event list (about 82 KBytes) to your Guide directory, and unZIP it there, you can fire up Guide, go to "Miscellaneous Tables", and see "Asteroid occn's worldwide, 2004" as one of the listed tables.
As in previous years, the data comes courtesy of Edwin Goffin. The original data, plus PDFs and images showing where the events will occur, can be found at ftp://ftp.ster.kuleuven.ac.be/dist/vvs/asteroids/2004.
One can sort the list by various parameters (date/time, region covered, object name, target star name, target star magnitude, and mag drop). Also, one can click on an "event data" item for each event; this brings up a .PDF file from Goffin's site, showing the predicted ground track and a summary of information about the event.
(30 March 2003) Display of areas covered by Henden photometry: Quite a few people are making use of Arne Henden's photometry files. These provide decent photometric calibration stars in assorted areas of the sky. But figuring out which file might cover an area near to one on which you're working has been known to present a challenge.
If you download this file to your Guide directory and unZIP it (about 18 KBytes), and zoom Guide out to a wide enough field of view, you'll see assorted small rectangles indicating the coverage areas. Right-click on one and ask for "more info", and you'll get (along with data as to the covered area, number of stars, etc.) a link directly to the file on the ftp site.
(28 January 2003) New color calibration standard stars: Rich Persico posted the following comments on the Guide user mailing list:
I came across a link that was posted in another group of a list of 688 G2V stars. I am into color CCD imaging and this list of solar type stars is useful for color calibration. If anyone else is interested I have made up TDF and DAT files and put them on my web page. You will probably have to change the second line in the TDF to point to where you store the DAT file or combine the two files. http://mywebpages.comcast.net/rjpersico/misc/g2v.zip Rich Persico
Rich later posted a link to the original source of the data.
Incidentally, a smaller list of twenty "solar-like" stars suitable for color calibration is described and downloadable here.
(18 October 2002) Dataset for occultation stars: When doing predictions of occultations of stars by asteroids, you need the utmost in precision. If the star's position comes from Tycho-2, Guide will show it accurately and at least the star position won't be a problem.
If the star's position comes from a catalog such as GSC or A2.0, then it may have an arcsecond or so of error to it. This is tiny for most purposes, but that much error could throw an occultation path off by thousands of kilometers. In such cases, the star's position usually has to be re-measured, or extracted from the UCAC catalog. You then have the problem of getting it into Guide.
This file lets you do so. UnZIP it in your Guide directory, and you'll have a new user-added dataset of occultation stars, with a few examples provided from past occultations. Edit occ_star.dat, and the format should be apparent. Right-click on the newly-added star, and then on the asteroid doing the occulting. Click on "Extras... Show Eclipse", and Guide will show the occultation path using the correct RA/dec, instead of the inaccurate GSC or A2.0 position.
(5 October 2002) Catalog of galactic novae: John Greaves supplied this dataset, with the following description:
Just about the only compilation of Galactic Novae data is Duerbeck's Reference Catalogue and Atlas, which also has an electronic version, but which stops in 1987. Also, the more useful information in the electronic version is split over two separate data files. I've cobbled together the most useful columns from the two datafiles into one datafile, omitting other bits. It still stops at 1987 though. So, using Namelists 70 - 73, available as IBVSs (do a search under www.konkoly.hu), GCVS data from a list of novae named as variables gleaned from the electronic GCVS by Bill Gray, and online IAUC data, I've updated the thing to be current, with all known Galactic novae to date, which currently stands at N Sgr 2002 No 3 = V4743 Sgr. Download this file and unZIP it in your Guide directory and you are set. The novae are plotted as small grey triangles with grey labels when the field is 5 degrees or less. Naming convention used is 'N Con YYYY', and when there is more than one nova per year, I've used 'N Con YYYY/n' where Con is any constellation IAU mnemonic, YYYY is the year, and n is a number. For example, GOTO TDF for this dataset needs 'n oph 2002' to go to Nova Ophiuchi 2002 and 'n sgr 2002/3' to go to Nova Sagittarii 2002 No 3. (GOTO TDF for this dataset is case insensitive). The purist can feel free to modify any co-ordinate errors that have since been updated, and new novae can be added to the .dat file as information arrives. Be sure to insert new entries in RA order.
(8 September 2002) List of mutual planetary occultations as seen from Earth and other planets: Click here to download the list. UnZIP this in your Guide directory, and look under "Tables... Miscellaneous Tables", and you'll see one called "Mut pln occn's off-Earth". Select this, and you'll get a list of all mutual occultations of planets observable from any other planet, for the years -1000 to +3000.
(30 August 2002) .TDF file to show two million world cities/towns: The second CD-ROM for Guide 8 contains data about the location of roughly two million places in the world, but no way to make any use of the data. However, it is now possible to display them on eclipse/occultation maps.
To do so, download this file (about 6 KBytes) and unZIP it in your Guide directory. When in eclipse/occultation mode, the cities/towns will be shown when you zoom in to a six-degree or smaller field of view.
This assumes that Guide has access to the city/town data, which is on the second CD. For information about how to use the second CD, take a look at page 55 of the Guide user manual. Also, the dataset covers everything but the United States. To get small towns in the US, go to "Extras... Toggle User Datasets" and look for "US Cities".
The main problem with this dataset is that it's too detailed, and there's no way to filter it out. Ideally, we'd have other datasets with the half-million, hundred-thousand, 30000, etc. most important cities and towns, so one could set the level of detail displayed. But we don't have that.
Also, be warned that Guide currently has problems displaying these cities in certain countries straddling the Prime Meridian and the International Date Line. I'll be posting an update to fix these oddities.
(21 August 2002) .TDF file to show "nonexistent" NGC/IC objects: This was originally put together by Jari Suomela. Guide doesn't normally show the many objects listed as "nonexistent" in the NGC/IC Project files. However, if you download this file and unZIP it in your Guide directory, then the Extras... Toggle User Datasets dialog will list "Nonexistent NGC/IC Objects". Turn this on, and the objects will appear as question-mark symbols.
The main use for this is cases where Guide isn't showing a given NGC/IC object. Turn this dataset on, and you can tell if perhaps it's a "nonexistent" object.
(21 August 2002) .TDF file to show ground paths for artificial satellites (and other geographic data): Kevin Fetter posted coordinates for a satellite ground track on the Guide user list, and asked if there would be some way to display the data in Guide. If you click here to download the files, you will see the solution I provided. It can be used to show any dataset of lat/lon points on a Guide chart.
Edit the file sat_path.tdf, and the process ought to be pretty clear. Lat/lon coordinates are given within the file. If you click on "Extras... Toggle User Datasets", you can turn the dataset on/off.
Of course, to use this dataset, you must first get into the "geographic" mode; the quickest way to do that is to hit the ':' key (to find the nearest solar eclipse and display it). At least right now, there is no way to go into geographic mode independently of an eclipse/occultation/transit.
(7 August 2002, updated 4 June 2003) .TDF file to show open clusters from the Dias et. al. catalog: One area of extreme weakness in Guide is the display of non-NGC/IC open clusters. The problem is that the data for them comes from the Lund catalog. This catalog is elderly and has numerous problems (not very accurate positions, objects that were really globular rather than open clusters, etc.), but it was all we've had to work with until now.
However, a new catalog has been prepared that (based on some quick checks) appears to fix a lot of these problems. You can click here for an abstract about this dataset, and you can click here to download the actual data (about 312 KBytes).
To display the catalog in Guide, you will need to store the clusters.txt in your Guide directory, along with this openclus.zip file (about 2 KBytes). UnZIP this in your Guide directory, and use Extras... Toggle User-Added Datasets, and you will see "Open Clusters (Dias+ 2002)" in the list of available datasets.
The dataset isn't perfect, of course. The most glaring problem is the absence of magnitude data, so you can only turn these clusters "on" or "off" (no "show to magnitude X" options). It should be possible to fix this eventually by adding photometry data from the Lund catalog and/or other sources.
(4 June 2003: this dataset has been updated, and the format changed slightly. The galactic coordinates and proper motions have been dropped, and Trumpler classes added. The .TDF now reflects those changes.)
(25 July 2002) AstroPhysics GTO mount calibration stars: Thomas Wichmann has kindly provided a dataset of calibration stars for the AstroPhysics GTO mounts, as well as the .TDF definition needed to persuade Guide to display the stars. Click here to download the AP_CALIB.ZIP file (about 7 KBytes.)
If you put this file in your Guide directory, you will see "AstroPhysics mount calibration stars" listed in the Extras... Toggle User Datasets dialog. Turn them on, and the calibration stars will be shown with symbols on the Guide chart.
(6 June 2002, updated 16 May 2003) Ability to list/display asteroid occultations for 2003: If you fire up Guide and look under "Tables... Miscellaneous Tables", you'll see lists of asteroid occultations of stars for 2000, 2001, and 2002. Almost all of these come from lists computed by Edwin Goffin, who has released a list of predicted events for 2003. (And has now released a list for 2004.)
Masaki Kouda has taken this list and converted it into the .ETB form used by Guide. If you click here to download the 2003 event list (about 107 KBytes) to your Guide directory, and unZIP it there, you can fire up Guide, go to "Miscellaneous Tables", and see "Asteroid occn worldwide, 2003" as one of the listed tables.
On 16 May 2003, this file was revised a little to include support for some additional languages, ability to sort the list by various parameters (date/time, region covered, object name, target star name, target star magnitude, and mag drop). Also, one can click on an "event data" item for each event; this brings up a .PDF file from Goffin's site, showing the predicted ground track and a summary of information about the event.
(15 May 2002) Ability to display OGLE II variables: John Greaves has sent in the .TDF file needed to display this dataset, with the following comments:
OGLE II Bulge variable data is available via ftp at ftp://bulge.princeton.edu/ogle/ogle2/bulge_dia_variables/plain_text/ Download the *_cat.dat files (numbered 1 to 49 and amounting to 28.5 Mb in total) to a subdirectory called OGLE immediately under the Guide 7/8 directory and save the following TDF to the Guide directory. Position and I mag and scatter on mag are given, plus some indication of variability nature, objects denoted by small yellow circles, and show up at fields of less than five degrees. INCIDENTALLY it should be realised that the primary purpose of the OGLE project is to detect micro-lensing events in the background star filled direction of the Galactic Centre, a programme which by nature ensures the "bonus" detection of variable stars in the same fields of view. That is, detection of variables was not the primary motivation for the experiment, and the data should be viewed within that context.
(14 May 2002) Ability to display the USNO UCAC-1 catalogue: This was actually added long ago, but wasn't documented on this page. Click here for details.
(8 Sep 2003, updated 30 Mar 2010) XZ80Q catalog of occultation stars: This catalog is the successor to the XZ80P catalog, giving more stars with better positions, proper motions, and accuracy. Oliver Kloes has supplied the files needed to get this catalog to display in Guide; he writes:
The XZ80Q Catalogue by Dave Herald contains more than 244,000 stars for lunar occultation observing. This catalogue replaces the XZ80P at occultation work. From the documentation file of the XZ80Q: This revision of the XZ80 catalogue is for the following purposes: * to replace the XZ positions obtained from the Tycho-1 catalogue with positions from the Tycho-2 catalogue; * to identify all other XZ stars contained in the Tycho-2 catalogue, (other than those where the XZ80P position was taken from the Hipparcos catalogue) and replace the position with the Tycho-2 position; * to expand the XZ80 catalogue to include a complete coverage of all ecliptic stars of visual magnitude brighter than 12.00 - using the Tycho-2 catalogue; and * to replace the coordinates all stars in the expanded catalogue with coordinates from the UCAC2 catalogue, where available. [Note: the UCAC2 catalogue does not include stars brighter than about magnitude 10.] * to give a more complete coverage of faint stars for lunar eclipse occultations. In addition, the double star information for use with the XZ catalogue has been completely reworked. You can click here to download the xz80q.zip file (about 35 KBytes). The zipped file contains: xz80q.tdf xznames.not and a sorter.exe, as well as xz80q.idf (Italian version) and sorter.cpp (C++ source code for 'sorter'). The data file of XZ80Q catalogue is available for download at: ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/pub/cats/I/291/xz80q.dat.gz (about 45 MBytes unzipped, 8.7 MBytes compressed). There is documentation for the catalog here. The XZ80Q is sorted by XZ star numbers. For a faster display at GUIDE, you have to resort the xz80q.dat file in RA. To do this, just run 'sorter'. The sorter will create a new file named xz80q_s.dat. This should take only a few seconds. This file will be read by GUIDE. If you don't need the original xz80q.dat for other purposes, you can delete this file after the sorting. GUIDE needs the xz80q.dat only, but I recommend to save the other files of the xz80q package for future references. Please have a look at the XZ Documentation.txt. I want to thank Dave Herald for mailing me the catalogue format in advance and for answering me many questions. Without his help, I would have not been able to provide a tdf for the XZ80Q that fast.
(Note that this was updated 30 Mar 2010, because the XZ80Q is now available through VizieR. But the version of the file on that site was slightly different from the original; the records were now of variable length, which confused sorter. I've updated the xz80q.zip file, provided above, to include a sorter that can handle files with variable-length records.)
(14 May 2002, updated 18 Feb 2003) Ability to display the XZ80P catalogue of lunar occultation target stars: Please note that XZ80P has been rendered obsolete by the new XZ80Q catalogue.
Oliver Kloes has sent in the .TDF file to display this dataset, with the following comments:
The XZ80P Catalog by Dr. Mitsuru Soma contains more than 53,000 stars for lunar occultation observing.The xz80p.tdf-file will display more informations (e.g. double star codes, proper motions and more) than the previous XZ catalog for GUIDE. Dr. Soma has made many corrections of the older XZ94F and XZ80N cataloges and included these in this new version. You can download the catalog at (about 2.4 MB): http://sorry.vse.cz/~ludek/zakryty/pub/xz80p.zip Unzip the file in your GUIDE directory. xz80p is the data file (unzipped about 9.3 MB), don't add any extension to the name. The TDF-file will search for xz80p only. The other file included in the zip-file is xz80p.txt, which has valuable informations about the corrections and more. I recommend to have a look over it. Thanks to Dr. Mitsuru Soma for the permission to add this catalog to GUIDE and to Jan Manek and Ludek Vasta for providing the download link of the catalog. Oliver Kloes Germany
Users of the current Guide 8 software should download this .TDF file to display the XZ80P stars. This version of the TDF file makes use of some recent improvements to the TDF system, resulting in easier-to-read "more info" data and display of the HIP and TYC numbers. However, it won't work with Guide 8 "straight from the CD" (with no updates applied) or with Guides 6 or 7. Users of those versions should instead download the original .TDF file for display of XZ80P.
Be warned that display is a little slow, because the dataset isn't sorted in either RA or dec. The only way Guide can display the data is to read and parse every line in the (pretty big) file.
(20 March 2002) Ability to list/display mutual Jovian satellite events for 2002-2003: John Greaves has sent in the .ETB (event table) file needed to show the upcoming mutual eclipses/occulations of Galilean satellites (about 48 KBytes). Load this file into your Guide directory, click on "Tables... Miscellaneous Tables", and look for the "Jupiter Mutual Sat. Events 2002-03" line.
The Sun and Earth cross the plane of Jupiter's equator (and the Galilean satellites) about once every six years (exactly twice every Jovian year, corresponding to the Jovian spring and autumnal solstices.) For a year or so around each crossing, you can see Jupiter's satellites eclipse and occult one another. Load up this .ETB table in Guide, and you'll see a list of the events. Click on one, and Guide will show you that event. (Keeping in mind that you'll have to zoom in very far to see the actual eclipse/occultation.)
(20 March 2002) Ability to show "Galactic Dark Clouds": John Greaves has sent in the .TDF file needed to display 'galactic dark clouds' in Guide (about 1 KByte), along with this note:
A catalogue of Galactic Dust Clouds now exists at ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/cats/J/A+A/383/631 The submitted TDF plots these objects to size as grey ellipses based upon the major and minor axes in the catalogue. Dimensions, extinction ratio of the cloud relative to the background extinction value and, where available, opacity values are given, plus cross IDs and some notes such as distance in parsecs etc. Each ellipse is also centred on a small grey + symbol to make it easier to click on help for a particular object.
Download the aforementioned .TDF, and the catalog data file from the above ftp site (about 842 KBytes), and you should be all set to display these objects.
(12 March 2002) Ability to show the page layout of the new Uranometria atlas: For some time, it has been possible to show the page layouts of several atlases, including the original Uranometria. However, the new version of this atlas (described here) has a very different page layout. To show it, you should download this file (about 4 KBytes) to your Guide directory.
If you are using a reasonably current version of Guide 8.0, then the dataset will pop up automatically in "Extras... Toggle User Datasets" as "New Uranometria 2000 pages". If you are using Guide 7.0, or simply don't want to update to the current version right now, you should download this file (about 1 KByte). Do so, and the dataset will appear in "Extras... Toggle User Datasets".
(12 March 2002) Ability to show the 'Tycho Double Star Catalog' (TDSC): John Greaves writes:
Hiya Bill There's a new cat come out. It's a bit obscure, and of no real observational use, as it consists primarily of double stars with less than one arcsec separation. However, a quick look shows that it seriously improves on position, proper motion, separation and PA, and magnitudes for a lot of WDS stars, whilst containing stars not necessarily in the CCDM. (A lot are brand new discoveries, but may well be subsumed in to the WDS at a later edition). Whatever, I'll attach the dataset readme from the CDS and my tdf. Cheers John
To display this in Guide, you need to download the TDSC.TDF file (about 2 KBytes) to your Guide directory, plus the actual catalogue data from CdS (about 4.9 MBytes) . Decompress the catalogue in the Guide directory, and you should be in business.
(24 November 2001) Display of M-31 Globular Clusters: Denis Boucher writes:
Bill, I have produced a TDF file of globular clusters found in M31. Many can be seen with a 10 inch scope. If it is useable feel free to post it. Denis Boucher
You can click here to download the data and .TDF files for display of globulars in M-31 (about 25 KBytes.)
(23 November 2001) Display of WDS "Double Star Observing Lists": Oliver Kloes has provided a .TDF that allows one to show customized lists of double stars in Guide, with the lists generated by the USNO:
From the United States Naval Observatory, serious double star observers can request their own double star list with observer-defined specifications. Go to: http://ad.usno.navy.mil/wds/wds_request.html After reading the instructions, enter at the "Observing List Maker" your parameters (Limits in RA and DEC, separation limits and more). Your personal double star list will be calculated by USNO and send to you via email as a file named "obslist.out". Copy this file and unZIP this DSOL.ZIP file in the GUIDE directory. At "User datasets" you will find your personal list under "Double Star Observing List". The data of this list is from "The Washington Double Star Catalog" by Brian D. Mason, Gary L. Wycoff, and William I. Hartkopf of the Astrometry Department, U.S. Naval Observatory. Thanks for their kind permission, to add this feature to GUIDE.
(30 October 2001, updated 24 Apr 2002) Display of Arne Henden's photometry files: Arne Henden of the USNO has prepared a series of files giving high-quality V magnitudes and B-V colors (and sometimes other colors), for a long series of regions. You can click here for the ftp directory of these sequences, download one or more, then display them in Guide.
On 24 Apr 2002, a new version was posted to allow display of these stars in a user-selected photometric band. They will also appear in color if you've selected "colored stars" in the Star Display dialog.
To display them in Guide, you'll need to download this HENDEN.ZIP file (about 1 KByte). You'll then need to edit HENDEN.TDF to reflect the actual names of the file(s) you've downloaded. By default, it's set up to show three of the sequences: v1157sgr.txt, ac_cas.txt, and ac_mon.txt. More can be added by repeating the examples for the last two. All of the files will appear in the "Toggle User Datasets" dialog under "Arne Henden standards"; that is, Guide will behave exactly as if they were one big dataset, rather than a slew of little ones.
A while back, a database was posted that contained all the Henden sequences in one big file (about 5.2 MBytes, decompressed to about 26 MBytes). However, that file is no longer available, which is somewhat inconvenient; one has to locate a suitable file from the many Henden provides, then download it. (This dataset can help in the "finding" process, at least.) But being able to simply download one big file would be convenient. If anyone finds such a creature, please let me know!
(10 August 2001) Display of Shakhbazian compact galaxy clusters: Based on files supplied by Owen Brazell, this allows you to show data from the Shakhbazian catalogue in two different ways: either by showing the groups themselves as single objects, or by showing the individual objects within a given group. The actual data and some documentation can be found at either of the following sites:
Data for showing clusters as single objects: ftp://adc.gsfc.nasa.gov/pub/adc/archives/catalogs/7/7089B ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/pub/cats/VII/89B Data for showing individual objects within clusters: ftp://adc.gsfc.nasa.gov/pub/adc/archives/catalogs/7/7196 ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/pub/cats/VII/196
To display the data in Guide, you would need to download data for each alternative from one of the above sites. The naming of datasets gets a little complicated, to avoid collision with other datasets you may already have installed. The second (individual object) dataset comes split into northern and southern sections, and Guide assumes filenames of SHKNORTH.DAT and SHKSOUTH.DAT. The first dataset is assumed to have the filename SHAKH.DAT. In addition to these, you'll need to click here to download the file required to show Shakhbazian objects in Guide (about 4 KBytes).
(10 August 2001) Display of Herbig-Haro objects: Based on files supplied by Owen Brazell, this allows you to show data from the "General Catalogue of Herbig-Haro Objects". The actual data and some documentation can be found at either of the following sites:
To display the data in Guide, you'll have to rename the data file to HHCAT.DAT and download this file (about 83 KBytes) into your Guide directory, and unZIP it. (The file is large because it also contains "notes" data for the Herbig-Haro catalogue.)
(24 June 2001) Outlines for Barnard Dark Nebulae (BDN) objects: Bertrand Laville has used Guide's overlay system to put together outlines of most of the prominent BDN objects. Normally, Guide shows these as squares, or at best rectangles, with no hint of the real shape.
You can click here to download an overlay showing all the currently-available BDN outlines (about 7 KBytes.) You'll then have to go into "Overlays... Toggle Overlays" to turn it on, and set the range of fields of view at which the data will be shown.
Alternatively, you can click here to download the outlines as a set of separate overlays. This is very important in editing these outlines; Bertrand currently stores these as 59 separate .UOV files (several contain more than one BDN object).
Bertrand also pointed out that Guide's "Go To... Nebula... BDN" function is not always on-target. That was because I'd mis-entered some of the coordinates in Guide's list of BDN; however, you can click here to download an accurate list of BDNs (about 17 KBytes), which will fix Guide's errors.
(24 June 2001) Sky Commander alignment stars: Bill Anderson has provided the files needed to display the 39 stars the Sky Commander can use for alignment. Click here to download the Sky Commander alignment stars (2235 bytes), and unZIP the file in your Guide directory. The Sky Commander stars will be displayed by default. Also, when you click for 'more info' on an SC alignment star, you'll get the full list of alignment stars.
With this addition, Guide now shows alignment stars for four scope systems. The others are the Sky Sensor 2000, the JMI-III, and the LX-200.
(19 June 2001) ICRF (International Celestial Reference Frame) objects: This one requires a bit of explaining... Many people assume that the celestial system of coordinates is defined by saying that "celestial north" runs along the axis of the earth's rotation as of a particular date. In truth, the precision with which we need to define the celestial coordinate system is well past the point where using the earth's rotation would be accurate enough to do us much good. Today, most coordinates are referenced to the ICRF, or International Celestial Reference Frame.
Previous systems such as the FK4 and FK5 defined reference frames according to star positions. In each case, a few thousand stars were measured as precisely as the technology of the day allowed, and then the resulting catalog was used as the definition. The ICRF instead uses a set of radio sources, measured via VLBI. Most of these have had their positions measured to better than a milliarcsecond.
You can download the catalog here, and also download this file to enable display of the catalog in Guide. I created this because, in some cases, it can be very useful to compare the (almost "perfectly" accurate) positions from the ICRF catalog to positions from another, less-accurate catalog; it is a good test of accuracy. (One can also use Hipparcos stars, and to a lesser extent Tycho stars. But these don't go to very faint magnitudes.)
(5 June 2001) List of Pluto and Charon occultation targets: Richard Kowalski pointed out, on the Minor Planet Mailing List, that there is a Web site listing occultations by Pluto and Charon for the next few years. This list also includes updated positions for the target stars, as measured by FASTT; these positions can be assumed to be probably more precise than even Tycho-2.
I got the data and put it into a form usable in Guide. To see it, click here to download the file (about 3 KBytes) and unZIP it in your Guide directory. Go to "Tables... Miscellaneous Tables", and load up "Pluto and Charon occultations". You'll see the list of events, and can click on one to cause Guide to reset to the event date and location.
To actually see the accurate position measured by FASTT, go to "Extras... Toggle User-Added Datasets", and click on "Distant occultations", and turn that dataset On. A symbol will appear that indicates the FASTT position for the star.
Right-click on the symbol, right-click on Pluto (or Charon), and then use "Extras... Show Eclipse/Occultation", and Guide will generate a chart of the event. (Be aware that a majority of the events are close appulses, and will probably not be "for-real" occultations.) Be sure you have "high precision" set for planetary accuracy (in the Data Shown menu).
(5 June 2001) Dunlop 100 catalog of southern deep-sky objects: This dataset comes courtesy of Giuliano Pinto, who noted the article "James Dunlop: Messier of the Southern Sky", in the June 2001 issue of Sky & Telescope (pp. 112-115). This article gave a list of the top 100 objects from Dunlop's list, and Giuliano has entered that list and created a user-added dataset to display it; click here to download the Dunlop data (both Italian and English versions) (about 7 KBytes.)
(19 November 2000) Sky Sensor 2000 PC alignment stars: Jacques Michelet sent in this list of the 35 stars that can be used to align the Sky Sensor 2000 PC. It was downloaded from a Sky Sensor 2000 PC v2.05. Click here to download the dataset (about 1 KByte). UnZIP it in your Guide directory, and the SS2000 alignment stars will be shown marked with a symbol.
(25 August 2000) NEOCP (and Horizons and NEODyS) ephemerides: Matt Dawson suggested on the Guide user mailing list that it would be helpful to have some means of importing the Minor Planet Center's NEOCP (Near-Earth Object Confirmation Page) data into Guide. (This was later expanded to include ephemerides from the Minor Planet Ephemeris service, the NEODyS ephemeris service, and the JPL Horizons ephemeris service.)
To display any of these ephemerides in Guide, you should first download this file and unZIP it into your Guide directory (about 3 KBytes). Then visit one of the above links and get the ephemeris (or ephemerides) for the object(s) in which you are interested, and save the resulting page as a text file (not as HTML.)
If you edit NEOCP.TDF, you'll see that it defaults to assuming your NEOCP file will be called CONFIRME.TXT, with similar defaults for the other services. Obviously, if you've used a different name or put it in a different directory, you'll have to modify that line in NEOCP.TDF.
Having done this, you can now start up Guide, go to "Extras... Toggle User Datasets", and turn either "NEOCP Objects", "MPC Minor Planet Ephemeris", "NEODyS Ephemeris", or "Horizons (JPL) Ephemeris" on. The positions given in the ephemeris file will appear as symbols on-screen, labelled with the ephemeris time (unfortunately, there's no way to hook the object name in there as well.)
Click on 'more info', and you'll get the full data from the file, along with a "click here to set the time/date/position given in the ephemeris".
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP: All of these ephemeris services offer assorted "optional" formats (for example, HH MM.MM vs. HH MM SS). Be careful to accept the default format. Otherwise, Guide will get horribly confused when it looks for, say, RA seconds and instead finds fragments of RA minutes, and the remaining columns are all offset from where it expected to find them.
(5 August 2000) Almagest Star Catalog: Click here for a thorough description of this dataset. (There is an Italian version of this description as well.) You can click here for the Almagest Star Catalog data files (about 50 KBytes).
This dataset was provided by Eduardo Vila-Echagüe. It is a very complete rendition of the first known star catalog, compiled by Claudius Ptolemaeus sometime around 150 AD. The documentation for this dataset gives an excellent account of the history and properties of this catalog. If you download the dataset and unZIP it in your Guide directory, the Almagest stars should appear in Guide as circled stars.
(25 July 2000) RASS (ROSAT All-Sky Survey) (X-ray sources): (Updated 20 Apr 2005) John Greaves has put together display of the RASS catalog as a user-added dataset.
The RASS catalog comes in four parts: RASS-FSC ("faint source catalog"), RASS-BSC ("bright-source catalog"), and RASS-PSC. Click here to download .TDFs for all three (about 2 KBytes). All three datasets are available as (multi-megabyte, compressed) downloads from CDS:
ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/cats/IX/30 for the PSC
(download the file 2rxp.dat to your Guide folder);
ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/cats/IX/29 for the FSC (download the file rass_fsc.dat to your Guide folder);
ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/cats/IX/10A for the BSC (download the file 1rxs.dat to your Guide folder)
Download one or more of the above catalogs, use John's .TDF file, and you should be able to display them in Guide.
(19 June 2000) Extragalactic variables: John Greaves has put together display of extragalactic variables, as a user-added dataset. Click here for details. As John points out, most of these variables are not going to at all easy to find, except perhaps for those in the Magellanic Clouds. Still, they do crop up from time to time.
(13 June 2000) Japanese constellation labels, lines: Masaki Kouda has sent in overlays for display of these features. Click here to download the file (about 7 KBytes.) By default, these overlays will be turned off; if you go into "Overlays", "Toggle Overlays", you can turn them on.
The labels will not be displayed correctly on a US or European version of Windows. But the lines work nicely on any system.
(4 June 2000, updated 7 July 2005) Extrasolar planetary systems: This file was sent by Oliver Kloes, along with the following note. Click here to download the dataset (about 29 KBytes).
Hi Bill, I have written a data set of "Planetary Systems" which shows all the stars with planets discovered until today. The data set includes: "explanet.dat", "explanet.not" and "explanet.tdf". The data file of stars follows the list of Alexander J. Willman's "Known Planetary Systems" http://www.princeton.edu/~willman/planetary_systems Many thanks to Alexander for his kind permission to use his data collection. Additional Information are from "The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia" by Jean Schneider: http://www.obspm.fr/encycl/encycl.html "Geneva Extrasolar Planet Search" http://obswww.unige.ch/~udry/planet/planet.html "SFSU Extrasolar Planet Search" http://www.physics.sfsu.edu/~gmarcy/planetsearch/planetsearch.html If there are new discoveries, I will make updates of the explanet-files and will mail them to you. If a update is available, GUIDE-users should always update ALL explanet-files, because some changes in the TDF-file could be possible. Regards, Oliver Kloes Germany
Also, Giuliano Pinto has provided Italian-language versions of the files. (These are included in the above .ZIP file, and Guide will switch to them automatically when you run in Italian.)
(30 May 2000) Color calibration standard stars: This file was sent by Thomas Wichmann, along with the following note. Click here to download the dataset (about 2 KBytes).
Dear Mr. Gray - This is a little dataset containing sun-like stars that can be used as a color-calibration standard for astronomical images. This list was published by Kelly, Berry, Grafton and Shaw in their excellent article on "True-Color CCD Imaging" in Sky&Telescope 96, 142-147 (December 1998). It appears that the list was compiled by Brian Skiff at Lowell Observatory. I frequently use these stars to calibrate my CCD images - maybe it will be of use to other people as well. Thomas Wichmann
A similar dataset with 680 stars is described and downloadable from here.
(10 May 2000) Southern H-II regions: Raymond Bruton provided this data, basically a southern version of the Sharpless catalogue of H-II regions. You can click here to download the data and the file to display it in Guide (about 5 KBytes). The data can also be accessed from the CDS site, and is described in detail in the ReadMe file.
(11 April 2000) Ability to show the Landolt photometric standard stars: This is a combination of data provided by Brian Skiff (improved positions), Arne Henden (photometry), and David Wu (original versions and some of the extra data). You can click here to download the data (about 72 KBytes). Put it into your Guide directory and decompress it, and all four datasets should appear in Guide.
The Landolt data provides photometry (V, B-V, V-R, V-I, U-R) data for selected areas around the celestial equator. The idea is that, no matter when you are observing, at least some of these "standard" stars will be visible to you.
(26 February 2000, updated 25 July 2002) Ability to show the CCDM (Catalogue of Components of Doubles and Multiples): John Greaves pointed the original version of this catalogue out to me. It does not contain nearly as many double/multiple systems as the Washington Double Star catalogue, but its data is of much higher quality. Accurate positions (to within a few arcseconds) are given for most stars, and can be derived easily for the rest. (The latest version of the WDS also has arcsecond-level coordinates for most stars, but only for one component in each system.)
If you have Guide 8, you already have the original version of the CCDM; it's provided on the second CD-ROM. Click on "Extras... Toggle User Datasets", and the CCDM should be listed (assuming you've either installed it to the hard drive, or have the second CD-ROM in the drive.)
If you have Guide 7 or earlier, or would simply like to make use of the latest version (which includes more doubles and corrects some errors), you should click here to download the files needed to show the new CCDM in Guide. You will also need to download the actual data file:
To get the CCDM to display properly in Guide, it first has to be "processed" using the CONVERT program (part of the above ZIP file.) This is necessary because CCDM is in a very bizarre format. Actual RA/dec data is not always given, and CONVERT has to derive some of it from separation and position angle data.
You'll have to put the main CCDM file, all 10 031 374 bytes of it, into your Guide directory, with the name CCDM.DAT. Also, unZIP CCDM_NEW.ZIP in your Guide directory, and run CONVERT. It should take a few seconds to complete its task (it gives a progress report while running).
The result is a new file, CCDM2.DAT, with properly formatted RA/dec data for almost all the double stars. Now you can run Guide, and this new CCDM2.DAT will be used when you've toggled CCDM on in "toggle user datasets". You can then delete CCDM.DAT if you wish; Guide will have no use for it.
(16 January 2000, updated 27 July 2001) Ability to show 'Galactic Wolf-Rayet Stars': Both the original and updated files for this dataset came from Oliver Kloes. Click here to download the data and files needed to display the data in Guide (about 49 KBytes). Following is the e-mail from Oliver accompanying the updated version:
Hi Bill, Here are some additional notes for GUIDE-users for your "extra" page: The Wolf Rayet.zip file replaces the old tdf-data set of the "6th Catalogue of Galactic Wolf-Rayet Stars (van der Hucht + 1981) with the new version called "7th Catalogue of Galactic Wolf-Rayet stars (van der Hucht, 2001). The data of the new catalog provides improved coordinates, spectral types, and bv photometry of known WR stars and adds 71 new WR stars to the previous WR catalog. All necessary files are included in Wolf_Ray.zip. Please replace ALL old versions of the files! This time the data set for "WR stars of Planetary Nebula" is added to zip-file as a seperate tdf-file. This data is still from the "6th Catalogue". The files of the "New Catalogue of Wolf-Rayet Galaxies and High-Excitation Extra-Galactic HII Regions (Schärer+ 1999)" haven't changed, there is no update available at this time. Regards + clear skies, Oliver
(16 January 2000, updated 7 Dec 2001) Ability to show the 'Cool Galactic Carbon Star' (CGCS) catalogue: Files are available to enable display of the second, and now third, editions of the CGCS. Here's the e-mail I received from John Greaves, describing the second edition:
Dear Bill I've noted on very recent AAVSO alerts etc that a new red variable has been discovered in Puppis which does not occur anywhere in Guide. Some people have apparently identified it with CGCS 1825, however. So, find at the end of this a TDF for the 2nd edition of Stephenson's Cool Galactic Carbon Stars (ZIPped size about 1K). The data are available via: ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/pub/cats/III/156/carbon.dat ftp://adc.gsfc.nasa.gov/pub/adc/archives/catalogs/3/3156 People can go directly to this new star via GOTO - TDF Object - [double click on catalogue] - 1825 POINTS re Catalog:- (i) the data is to epoch B1900, but I think Guide sorts the current RA and Dec out okay. (Note: it does) (ii) The original data file is not very well documented, that is why some of the data isn't explained fully, cos it's not documented in the first place. Remarks flag column positions appear not to be strictly obeyed, nor their meanings explained! (iii) The notes.dat file is not amenable to .not format (short of manipulation away default format), but notes file is pointed to where relevant, so folk can read it with an ascii reader. (iv) There are about 5800 objects altogether. I've tested it a fair bit and there should be no problems with it as it stands, so I'd still like to remain email anonymous, please! Cheers John John Greaves, UK
On 7 December 2001, I received an updated version from John for the newly-released third edition of the CGCS, with the following comments:
Hi Bill and Mike There's a third edition of the carbon star catalogue out, it lives at the CDS ftp under eventual subdirectory III/227. The data file is called catalog.dat, which will have to be renamed, as nigh on all CDS files are called catalog.dat nowadays. I use cgcs.dat. It's got a thousand more objects than the old one. I've accordingly done a little tdf of it, primarily a re-jiggling of the 2nd ed one, although it should be noted that the third edition is formatted differently, and positions are now reported to 2000 instead of the previous 1900! Probably not much use, even to variable star folks, mind. Anyway, it is attached, use of ignore it at your leisure
(6 January 2000) Ability to show files of MPC observations: This should be of great use to people doing asteroid astrometry. The MPC (Minor Planet Center) distributes asteroid observations in, and expects them to be submitted in, a particular "report" format in which each measurement consumes an 80-character line. Programs such as Charon produce reports in this format, and programs such as Find_Orb expect to receive data in this format.
If you've gathered some data in this format, it's now possible to plot your observations on-screen in Guide, using this file (about 2KBytes). By default, it will show some 'example' observations (from the same example file used by Find_Orb); you can right-click on any observation and get information about it.
Of course, the 'example' file will be of little use to you; but you can edit MPC_OBS.TDF to change the 'file' line to point to your set of observations.
(29 December 1999) New IMO limiting magnitude fields: About a year ago, data for IMO fields were posted on this site. Those data have been revised, and Jost Jahn (webmaster at jostjahn dot de) has again put them into a form usable by Guide. You can click here to get the new IMO field data.
As before, the data consist of a "user-added dataset" that puts a symbol at the center of each field, on which you can click to get information about that field; and a separate overlay that outlines the actual polygon making up the field.
(19 December 1999) .TDF file to show the USNO Zodiacal Zone Catalogue (ZC): There are several versions of the ZC on the Web. The catalogue is not quite obsolete; people doing lunar occultations still find it helpful from time to time. In any case, getting Guide to read it is a simple enough task.
You can click here to download ZC.TDF and the ZC 'notes' data (about 10K), which will let you display the ZC as distributed by CdS (about 1859 KBytes). This is the full catalog of 44435 stars. You'll also be able to display the ZC as provided by ILOC, a commonly-used subset 3539 stars going down to about mag 9. (You will have to visit one or both of the above sites and download their version of the ZC.)
I set up Guide to handle the first (CdS) version, then realized that this version lacks ZC numbers. The ILOC version does have ZC numbers, and displays them on the chart. It also allows you to use "Go To... .TDF object", select "Zodiacal Zone Catalogue (ILOC)", and to enter a ZC number to find a ZC star.
Also, Masaki Kouda (fp6m-kud at asahi-net dot or dot jp) has provided a file of 'notes' for the ILOC version, by using the double star and variable star data and putting them in Guide's .NOT format.
(6 October 1999) .TDF file and data to show the Catalogue of Southern Dark Clouds (SDC): Guide has always shown dark nebulae from the LDN (Lynd's Dark Nebulae) catalog. Unfortunately, the LDN does not cover much of the southern hemisphere. Mikkel Steine mentioned that he was using the SDC catalogue in his own astronomy application, and I realized that this would help in Guide as well.
If you download this file (about 22 KBytes) and unZIP it in your Guide directory, display of the SDC will be provided. They are shown as rectangles at the width and height given in the catalogue. Unfortunately, there is no actual shape data given in the catalogue, or even a position angle, so the objects will appear as horizontal rectangles in all cases. The SDC gives data for 1011 dark nebulae south of declination -33. Almost all of them are on the galactic equator.
(14 September 1999, updated 22 September 1999) .TDF file and data for 100 prominent double stars: You can click here to download this dataset (about 19 KBytes). The dataset was sent in by Stephen O'Leary. His comments follow:
I attach a first version of a TDF of double stars that I have been preparing for my own use with Guide. You might want to offer it to other users. The catalogue lists the 100 stars from the Astronomical League's double star observing list, plus a small number (well, three, actually) which I added from my own observations. I intend to add at least 100 more, almost all of them binary stars. This will take at least another month to complete. The criterion throughout has been that the stars are suitable for observing with a good small telescope (say up to 4"). There is no symbol used, because I have matched the labels up closely with the stars as shown in Guide. (This is unlike, for example, the WDS .tdf file.)
On 22 September 1999, Steve sent in an updated version, with one error corrected, more accurate combined magnitudes, and ADS (Aitken Double Star) numbers added.
As you'll see when you click for "more info" on one of these objects, the following sites were used in compiling this dataset:
Astronomical League's double star list Michael R. Feltz's constellations site Richard Dibon-Smith's orbital pages
(6 August 1999) .TDF file and data for the Virgo Cluster Catalogue (VCC): Thomas O'Hara (thomasohara at yahoo.com) has sent in this data file for the Virgo Cluster Catalogue; it originally came from Dr Bruno Binggeli of the Astronomical Institute of Basel. The catalogue lists 2096 galaxies in the direction of the Virgo Cluster. (Not all are actually in the cluster; some are background objects, some are undetermined, and one is a foreground object.) You can click here to download the data and .TDF file (about 36 KBytes).
The VCC is one of the (many) catalogues used in compiling the Principal Galaxy Catalogue (PGC), the basis for "built-in" galaxy display in Guide. The result is that if you turn both datasets on at the same time, each VCC object will have a PGC object "sitting on top of it". If you right-click on such a pair, you'll get one at random; clicking "next" will get you the object as described in the other catalogue. This should not be a big problem; in fact, it does offer the advantage of letting you get data from either catalogue, as desired.
(12 July 1999) Dataset of alignment stars for the JMI-III encoder system: Steve O'Leary has provided this list of the thirty alignment stars used by the JMI-III. You can click here to download the JMI-III alignment star data (about 2 KBytes), and unZIP it to your Guide directory. It will appear under "Extras... Toggle User Datasets", as "JMI-III setup stars."
(10 July 1999, updated again 30 Apr 2001) Updated data for quasars, AGNs, BL Lacertae objects: Eric-Sven Vesting, of the Astro-Shop in Hamburg, Germany, has suggested that the data for active galaxies in Guide should be updated using newly-available data. This will certainly be done the next time a batch of Guide CD-ROMs are pressed; but in the meantime, Eric has provided the file you need to display these new catalogues in Guide.
At the time, the 8th edition of this catalog was the latest available; you can still download the 8th edition from this ftp directory, and you can click here to download the file needed to display the 8th edition. However, the 9th edition was released in March 2000, and the 10th edition in April 2001. It's best to use the 10th edition; it contains more than twice the number of quasars as the 8th edition, plus corrections and improvements to existing data. You can click here to download the 10th edition via ftp from the CDS site in France, or click here to download it from the ADC site. After doing that, you'll still need to click here to download the file needed to display the 10th edition in Guide.
It's of mostly historical interest now, but you can download the 9th edition from this ftp directory, and you can click here to download the file needed to display the 9th edition in Guide.
The actual catalogue data (for both editions) is compressed using GZip (a fairly standard UNIX compression format); your browser will probably decompress it automatically, but you should check to make sure this happens. It may be necessary on some computers to manually decompress the files. All the files should be decompressed in the Guide directory.
When you run Guide and click on "Extras... Toggle User Datasets", you will see three new datasets: "Quasars (New)", "BL Lac (New)", and "Active Galactic Nuclei (New)". (The '(New') is needed, since datasets with the same names using older data are already on the Guide CD-ROM!)
The objects are shown with a symbol of a circle surrounded by lines running up, down, left, and right:
| --o-- |
This symbol was borrowed from the Millennium Star Atlas.
(9 June 1999) File to enable display of some "notes" data for the New Suspected Variables Supplement (NSVS): On 26 May 1999, John Greaves supplied a file to allow display of the NSVS data (click here for details about this dataset). Today, he provided a file of "notes" for the same dataset. The idea is that, when you click for "more info" for an NSVS star, you get some extra data such as cross-references, colors, double star components, and so forth. To get all this, you'll have to click here to download the "NSVS notes" file (about 60 KBytes) and unZIP it in your Guide directory.
(26 May 1999) File to enable display of the New Suspected Variables Supplement (NSVS) data: The NSVS is an extension to the original NSV. That catalogue, already on the Guide CDs, contained 14,812 suspected variable stars. The NSVS picks up on this, starting with #15000 and providing data for 11,206 more suspected variable stars. The data can be found at ftp://ftp.sai.msu.su/pub/groups/cluster/gcvs/gcvs/nsvsup/nsvs.zip (about 635 KBytes) or you can get it at ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/pub/cats/II/219/ .
It can be displayed in Guide if you click here to download the .TDF file for NSVS display. This file was provided by John Greaves, a Guide user in the UK. I've extended it a bit to display the full details (chart references, HD spectral types, and so on) given in the data.
(Updated 9 Jun 2000) File to enable display of the Sloan Astrometric Calibration Region (ACR) data: The Sloan ACR data consists of highly accurate astrometry and photometry for sixteen regions on the celestial equator. Each region is about 7.6 degrees wide and 3.2 degrees wide, and is complete to about R magnitude 17.2 (V magnitude 17.7). You can access the data from this Web site; you can also click here to get the README file for the data. It can be very useful in calibrating your astrometry; click here for details on use of ACR in Charon.
Jim Roe has provided a file for displaying ACR data as a user-added dataset in Guide, and I've made some modifications to it. You can click here to download the .TDF file (about 1 KByte) needed for this.
Because the data is broken into sixteen regions in the sky, it is also broken into sixteen files, REGIONA.DAT, REGIONB.DAT, ... REGIONP.DAT. Download any or all of them into your Guide directory, along with the above .TDF file, and Guide will show these stars.
(20 May 1999) File to enable display of German cities in German: Guide users in Germany have noticed that, on eclipse charts, their country is labelled with French place names, such as "Francfort-sur-Main" and "Hambourg". The reason for this is a simple one. I got the data from a French Web site; it is the only really good source of worldwide place names I have seen.
Eric-Sven Vesting, who distributes Guide from the Astro-Shop in Hamburg, suggested that I could find better data at this Web site. I downloaded the file and reformatted it so Guide would correctly interpret it. If you download this file (about 60 KBytes) and unZIP it in your Guide directory, then run Guide in German, then the city names will change correctly. (Also, you will see many more cities in Germany.)
(11 Mar 1999, updated 8 July 2001) File to enable display of LX-200 alignment and reference stars: This was originally prompted by a question from Ove Christensen, who wanted to show the 33 stars the LX-200 can use for alignment, and the 250 stars that can be used for "realignment" to get higher precision. Ove provided the list of 250 stars, and I wrote the .TDF file needed to display them. In July 2001, Bob Elliott supplied an updated list with some positional fixes. You can click here to download the files needed (about 6 KBytes). It will appear as two datasets, one of 250 stars (the 'reference' stars, used in high-precision pointing) and one of 33 stars (the 'alignment' subset used for the initial alignment procedure).
File to enable display of full names of constellations: Normally, Guide only labels constellations with the three-letter IAU abbreviation. You can, however, download this file (under 1KByte) and unZIP it in your Guide directory to get full names to display, as a user-added dataset. When you click on one of these labels, you'll get a little description of the constellation ("Ursa Major, Large Bear, UMa, Ursae Majoris").
You'll probably also want to go into Overlays and click on "Overlays... Toggle Overlays", and turn off "Constell Labels". Otherwise, you can get (for example) an "UMa" right next to an "Ursa Major".
Unfortunately, the names stay in English, even when you change languages. The only way around this, at present, is to edit CONSTELL.TDF and change the file extension given on the first line:
Change the extension to .NAC (Russian), .NAD (German), .NAI (Italian), or .NAS (Spanish). (Constellation names aren't available in other languages yet.)
File to enable display of Brian Skiff's LONEOS data in Guide: Brian Skiff has provided a set of full-sky photometric calibration stars, assembled from a variety of sources. He has been updating this almost constantly; as of 12 Dec 1999, it contained about 29500 stars, and you can be fairly confident of finding some stars conveniently near any given field. You can get the latest version of this dataset (about 2 MBytes in the first link, to an ASCII file; about 500 KBytes in the second link, to a compressed version) at:
To use it in Guide, download the above dataset to your Guide directory. Then download and unZIP this file. The LONEOS data will be shown as a user-added dataset.
10 Apr 1999 update for LONEOS: Brian Skiff made a few changes, for the reasons described in the following e-mail:
Arne Henden has pointed out that some folks have been using my large photometric file as though the stars were high-weight standards. This is at least partly my fault, in naming the file 'loneos.stds', even though I have always noted in describing the file that the stars are nothing like bona-fide standards. It is intended that the data be used for "pretty good" calibration of wide-field images/photos or for local recalibration of stars in large surveys. In hopes of helping this, I have added a disclaimer/warning at the top of the file and changed its name. Yet more new fields have been added in the past week as well. It is copied out to the Lowell ftp area at: ftp://ftp.lowell.edu/pub/bas/starcats/loneos.phot (2Mb uncompressed) ftp://ftp.lowell.edu/pub/bas/starcats/loneos.phot.gz (500Kb compressed) A small bibliographic reference file is at: ftp://ftp.lowell.edu/pub/bas/starcats/loneos.ref The current version of the file (8 April 1999) contains 21600 stars mostly between mag. 12 and 18, with a median value close to V=14.0. \Brian
The LONEOS.TDF file on this page has been updated to reflect the new filename, and to show the "disclaimer/warning" in the 'more info' section for each star.
Italian-language versions of the user-added dataset (.TDF) files: Giuliano Pinto (giuliano dot pinto at tiscalinet dot it) has provided the Italian-language files necessary for most of the datasets on this page. To get this feature, click here to download this file (about 17 KBytes) and unZIP it in your Guide directory.
German-language versions of the user-added dataset (.TDF) files: Jost Jahn (webmaster at jostjahn dot de) has provided the German-language files needed for the datasets on this page. (Without the files, the data shown when you click on an object or click for "more info" will remain in English.) To get this feature, you'll have to download and unZIP this file (about 18 KBytes) in your Guide directory.
IMO limiting magnitude fields: (These files have been replaced by updated data.) The IMO (International Meteor Organization) has developed a simple way to determine the limiting magnitude at a given site. They needed this to make sense of reports of meteor counts from their observers. The method was to define a set of 20 "standard" fields, each a triangle or quadrilateral of bright stars. You count how many stars you can see in that region, and can then look up your corresponding limiting magnitude.
The fields are spread out in right ascension, so you can get a magnitude limit at any time of the year with a field near your zenith. The fields are definitely northern-hemisphere specific. If anyone wants to take a shot at creating a southern-hemisphere version, I and the IMO would certainly be all ears (I'd do it myself, but I don't really know southern skies at all well.)
Jost Jahn (webmaster at jostjahn dot de) has provided the files needed to display these polygons and the information about them. To do so, you'll have to download and unZIP this file (about 6 KBytes) in your Guide directory.
Because of limitations in what overlays and user-added datasets can do, Jost had to use one of each. The polygons are shown in an overlay file; you'll have to go into "Overlays... Toggle Overlays" to turn IMOFIELD.UOV on or off. And the text for each field (such as "IMO field 14") comes from a user-added dataset; you'll have to go into "Extras... Toggle User-Added Datasets" to turn the "IMO Limiting Magnitude Fields" off or on.
Clicking on those labels and asking for "more info" will give you all the data needed to turn a "number of stars seen in polygon" into a limiting magnitude.
Display a catalog of pulsars: Alfredo Caronia asked if it would be possible to have Guide display a catalog of pulsar data. I searched the FTP site of the Astronomical Data Center (ADC) and found a catalog of 558 pulsars, and wrote the .TDF file needed to display it. You can click here to download the file (about 72 KBytes). The catalog gives an immense amount of data about each pulsar.
One minor warning, though: to get it to work, I had to modify Guide to handle extremely long lines, and to read an RA that was in decimal degrees instead of in some sort of hours/minutes/seconds format. So to use the pulsar dataset, you need to have the 29 July 98 version or later. Click on "About Guide" to find out which you have. If it predates 29 July, click here to get the latest software and you'll then be able to make use of this dataset.
Display of meteor shower radiants: Andrew Gerasimenko, a Guide user in Russia, provided a data file with the RA/decs of meteor shower radiants, plus some comments about each shower. If you download and unZIP this file (about 2 KBytes) to your Guide directory, you will have a new "Meteors" dataset in your list of user-added datasets.
Display of the Bennett catalog: This dataset was provided by Fraser Farrell. You can click here to download BENNETT.ZIP (about 3 KBytes). Following is the note he sent with the catalog:
G'day Bill, Another list of fuzzies worth adding to Guide. This was compiled by the late Jack Bennett (South Africa) as a southern analogue of the Messier list. Jack was an experienced comet hunter and deepsky observer who compiled his list for the same reason Messier did the "M's". All these objects superficially resemble comets when seen at low magnification. Note that some objects appear in both lists. This version was recently obtained from Auke Slotegraaf's "Deepsky Observers Companion" (http://members.xoom.com/auke/index.html) site - an excellent resource for those who view the More Scenic Half of the sky : Printed copies of the Bennett Catalogue have been circulating for many years; so I guess it can be considered "public domain". Bill Bradfield tells me that Jack Bennett distributed it at cost as an aid to other observers. I've found it to be a good list for budding deepsky observers. cheers, Fraser Farrell
...And, perhaps, also for northerners visiting the Southern Hemisphere.
MPG, a utility for showing data about minor planets: Maroti Tamas (MAROTTA at euromsx dot gemse dot fr), a Guide user in Hungary, has written "MPG" (Minor Planet Guide), a shareware program to display data concerning asteroids. It can use the precomputed orbital data from the Guide CD-ROM. Click here to download the unregistered version of this software.
User-added datasets on Earth maps: One of the big improvements in Guide 6.0 was the ability to add your own datasets to the charts. A few people have mentioned that, for one reason or another, they'd like to show lat/lon datasets on charts of the Earth.
To address that need, the current software supports a new is geo keyword in the .TDF file. If that keyword appears, the dataset will be shown only in the geographic mode. (Also, the "RA" will be interpreted as "longitude".) As an example, if you download and unZIP this file , you'll see triangles displaying (very roughly!) the geographic distribution of Guide users. (Click here for a screen shot of the feature.) The USERS.TDF file should indicate just how this addition works.
A note about the USERS.DAT file, by the way. The distribution within the US is near-perfect; I found a data file that allowed me to convert the ZIP codes (five-digit postal codes) to latitude/longitude values. After adding a small random offset to the result to make sure all users in one post code didn't overlap, I was able to get a nearly exact lat/lon for each US Guide user with a small program.
Things were not so easy in the rest of the world (which is where about half of Guide's users are). I just tried to make sure the users were evenly distributed within their country; if the address stated that a user lives in Italy, for example, a lat/lon was generated at random within Italy. So you can see that there are, for example, about a dozen users in Brazil, but you can't really tell how they're distributed within Brazil. A few "outliers" (the two users in Réunion, the single users in Antarctica, Tahiti, Iran, and so on) were added by hand.
Display of MPC stations on Earth maps: (Updated 11 Mar 1999) Robert Orso has e-mailed files to show the positions of Minor Planet Center (MPC) astrometric observatories. He did this by using a list from the MPC Web site and processing it to convert the data to lat/lon values. Then he used the data in the preceding section on showing lat/lon datasets on Earth charts to tell Guide how this data was to be displayed. If you download and unZIP this file (about 33 KBytes), you will have a new user-added dataset titled "Observatories"; toggling this dataset On will allow you to see them, when in Eclipse mode.
On 11 Mar 1999, this file was updated so that, if you're running a current version of Guide 7.0, you can click on stations and get "more info" about them. (Admittedly, the "info" is of a very limited nature. The file gives nothing but observatory code, lat/lon, parallax constants, altitude above sea level, and the name of the observatory.)
Bitmaps for Ganymede, Callisto, and Iapetus: You may have noticed that when you zoom in on the inner two Galilean moons, Io and Europa, features become visible; but that nothing of this sort happens for Ganymede or Callisto, or for the moons of Saturn, Uranus, or Mars. So far, there have been a total of zero requests for such features. However, you can click here to get data for features of Ganymede, Callisto, and Iapetus (92 KBytes). Download this file and unZIP it in your Guide directory, and zoom in on these objects, and features will appear on them.
I added Ganymede and Callisto so that all four Galilean moons would be handled, and Iapetus because it has an interesting property: the "trailing face" in its orbit reflects about 50% of incoming light. Close up, it would probably look about like chalk. The "leading face", however, reflects about 5% of incoming light, making it look more like asphalt. This was noticed by its discoverer, Jean-Dominique Cassini; he observed that it was about six times brighter when the bright face is toward us (something easily visible in small telescopes).
You'll see that the dividing line between the two faces is quite obvious. The reason for this is still unclear; the best guess is that Japetus is a naturally bright, icy object that has plowed through some dark dust, coating the leading face.
A way to add your own images to Guide: If you have run the Charon astrometric software on an image successfully, then you can easily make sure that Guide will draw that image as a "backdrop" to that part of the sky. To see this in action, run Charon on an image, fiddling with parameters as needed to get Charon working correctly. Once you're happy that you have a correct astrometric match, hit the 'z' key.
That key will cause the message "Entry added to IMAGES.DAT" to appear on Charon's screen. Now, exit Charon and run Guide, and go to the part of the sky covered by that image.
You won't see the image, because they default to being Off. Hit Alt-J, and you'll be prompted to enter a "test flag". Type 10 and click OK. This will toggle between "images shown" and "images off".
Guide will essentially use the results of Charon's astrometric fit to rotate and scale the image to cover the proper area of the sky, much as if it were a RealSky image (in fact, the two are implemented using much the same code in Guide.)
Once I have Guide and Charon properly integrated with one another, the Alt-J/'10' toggle will give way to some more logical system, and this will move off to the "updated software" page.
.TDF file to show the Caldwell Catalog: Harry Jacobson has just provided this file, derived from a copy of the Caldwell catalog posted on the Sky & Telescope Web site. (The Caldwell catalog is a list of 109 objects selected by Patrick Moore, that "extend" the Messier catalog to include southern objects Messier could not see, as well as some bright objects Messier probably should have included in his own catalog but did not.)
If you download this .ZIP file (about 4 KBytes) to your Guide directory, and unZIP it, then the Caldwell catalog will be added to your list of user-added datasets.
A way to use the USNO AC 2000. disk with Guide: The USNO AC 2000.0 CD-ROM contains positions for 4,621,836 stars, from the Astrographic Catalog. As described at the above link, the dataset is available on CD at no charge.
You can display this data in Guide 6.0 or 7.0, as a user-added dataset, using this AC2000.TDF file . Put this file in your Guide directory. Using the AC 2000 is a little clumsier than is the case with most of the user-added datasets on this page, for two reasons.
First, you'll have to copy the AC 2000 (or the declination zones you want) from the AC 2000 CD-ROM, to somewhere on your hard drive. There's no provision for swapping CDs. So unless you have two CD-ROM drives (or possibly a CD-ROM changer), you'll have to copy over the data.
Once you've done this, edit AC2000.TDF. You'll notice that the files are assumed to be in the J:\DATA directory, with lines such as this:
Alter the path accordingly, and you should be ready to go.
At this point, you run into the second minor annoyance with AC 2000: it is broken up into fourteen bands in declination. Use the "Extras... Toggle User Datasets" option, and you'll be confronted, not with one "AC 2000" dataset, but fourteen small datasets, each toggled separately.
A way to use the USNO ACT disk with Guide 6.0 and Charon: On all Guide 7.0 and some Guide 6.0 CD-ROMs, the proper motion data for most Tycho stars has been replaced with proper motions from the USNO ACT (Astrographic Catalog/Tycho) dataset. This dataset improves the precision of proper motions about tenfold. The main cause of imprecision in Tycho is poor quality of the proper motion, so using ACT gives much better accuracy. In fact, the ideal order is to use Hipparcos data if available; ACT data as your next choice; and finally, if all else fails, to resort to Tycho. This is the system Guide now uses.
If you have Guide 7.0, you automatically have this dataset right now; you can ignore this section. But if you have a Guide 6.0 disk, examine the inner ring of the disk. If it says "26741 Z8401R Media by Megasoft", then you have the latest disk; Guide and Charon are already using ACT positions. If you don't have that CD, then using the following will get you exactly the same results, "patching" the Tycho proper motions with ACT data. (It has the advantage, in fact, that Guide can provide both Tycho and ACT data for a star, so you can do a bit of comparison.)
For most people, the lower astrometric quality of Tycho isn't much of an issue. But if you're doing really precise astrometric work (for example, the corrections for asteroid occultations of stars), this suddenly becomes a pretty big issue.
The USNO very kindly provides the ACT CD-ROM for free. If you have such a CD-ROM, you can download this ZIP file (about 58 KBytes) to your Guide directory. UnZIP it, and run the ACT.EXE program. It will ask you for the drive letter for the ACT CD-ROM, and will then take about five to ten minutes to process the data into a 10 MByte file for use with Guide.
The difference in how Guide then behaves will be quite subtle. When you click for "more info" on a star that is in Tycho but not in Hipparcos, you'll get some extra data from the ACT, including a position that is much more precise than the Tycho one. If you then use this star in an occultation, that more precise position will be used, and you'll get a better occultation path. Click here for some example asteroid occultations for test cases. If you don't click for "more info" on the star in question, ACT data won't be used, and you'll get a slightly different path than those shown in the charts on this page.
Also, Charon will automatically make use of this ACT data, whenever you select "Match to Tycho/Hipparcos" in the Settings menu.
.TDF file to show pages from the Atlas Stellarum, Falkauer atlas, and Selected Areas This is another set of .TDF datasets from Jost Jahn (webmaster at jostjahn dot de). If you are using Guide 7.0, these datasets are already available to you; just click on "Extras... Toggle User Datasets", and you will see that they are installed.
But if you are a Guide 6.0 user, you must download this .ZIP file to your Guide directory (about 18KBytes) and unZIP it. The next time you run Guide, it will automatically add these three datasets in its "Toggle User Dataset" list. (By default, all three are turned off... you will have to turn on whichever atlas(es) interest you.)
These three atlases are of particular interest in Germany (Guide customers in that nation mention them from time to time, but I don't think I've ever heard a US customer mention them.) I'll be providing more details on the nature of these atlases, as soon as I have those details.
Ability to set magnitude limits with .TDF datasets. In the past, user-added datasets had but two states: on (everything shown) and off (nothing at all shown). The sort of "auto" filtering by magnitude, so useful with other datasets, wasn't available.
I can't claim that the handling of this is wonderful now, but at least it's possible to set a magnitude limit in Guide. To do so, edit the .TDF file in question. (For the "example" datasets such as quasars, binary stars, and so on, this file is CD_DATA.TDF.) Look for the particular dataset you're interested in, and add a line such as the following:
mag lim 180 4# Magnitude limit of 18.0 at level 4
What you're doing here is to tell Guide that, at level 4, objects fainter than mag 18 (in this particular dataset) should be suppressed. As with other datasets, this limit will "float" as you zoom in and out; Guide will compute a comparable mag limit for use at other levels, showing fainter objects when you zoom in and dimmer ones as you zoom out.
If you wish, you can instead specify that the magnitude limit be constant for all levels, by specifying "level" -1. For example, the following would cause all objects dimmer than mag 13.6 to be suppressed, no matter what level you are on:
mag lim 136 -1# Magnitude limit of 13.6 at all levels
The logical next question is, "Why is it being made so painful to set a limiting magnitude? How about a nice little dialog box with a list of user-added datasets, where I can select one and then click on some buttons to set "on, off, fixed mag limit, floating mag limit"... and maybe also buttons to toggle labels, and to set the color of a given dataset? Then I could stop playing around with a text editor all the time." And the answer is: That's a good idea, and I expect to do something like that.
Supernovae: This .TDF comes courtesy of Jost Jahn. To use it, you must first download this file to your Guide directory (about 1 Kbyte). Next, you have to get the actual supernova data from the IAU. (The IAU frowns on copying data to your own Web site, and prefers that you just make links to their page. This also makes sure that you're always getting an up-to-date list of supernovae.)
You can click here to download the full IAU supernova data (about 210 Kbytes). Save it as a text file, not an HTML file in your Guide directory, under the name SUPERNOV.TXT.
The .TDF file defaults to having the supernovae on, so when you next start up Guide, you'll see the supernovae shown with small red symbols, and labelled with their identifiers.
.TDF file to show data from the IRAS Point Source Catalog (PSC) and Faint Source Catalog (FSC): If you have a copy of the Astronomical Data Center's "Selected Astronomical Catalogs, Volume 1", then you can display these two catalogs in Guide. First, download this .TDF file into your Guide directory (about 4KBytes). Edit the file; you'll notice that the paths to the datasets may need to be changed to match the place where you have copied them. (You'll also notice that this .TDF references the FITS-file versions of the IRAS catalogs, not the text-format versions.)
Both datasets describe the position of each object, with an uncertainty ellipse. Guide has been suitably revised to show this uncertainty ellipse.
.TDF file to show double stars from the Washington Double Star (WDS) catalog (updated 25 Jul 2002, and again 18 Apr 2005, and again 17 Aug 2009): Dealing with the WDS is a bit complicated, in part because there have been several versions (1984, 1996, 2000, 2001, and the "current", continuously-updated one, which had a format change in early 2005.) If you have Guide 8, the 2001 version is supplied with the CD-ROM; with some of the later Guide 7 CDs, the 1996 or 2000 versions are available. Look under "Extras... Toggle User Datasets", and you'll see a WDS listing.
With all versions up to and including the 2001 one, there was a major problem: positions were given to one-arcminute precision. So you'd get a label that might be off by as much as an arcminute. Usually, you could still match the result to a GSC or A2.0 star, but not always. Fortunately, the "current" version does give positions to arcsecond accuracy for almost all double stars. This is not yet available on any Guide CD, but you can click here to download the "current" WDS catalog (about 11.5 MBytes).
To display it in Guide, though, you'll have to go through a couple of extra hoops. First, download this file and unZIP it in your Guide directory. It contains the .TDF file needed to persuade Guide to display the dataset, plus an ADD_LOC.EXE program. ADD_LOC.EXE fixes a problem with the catalog as supplied by USNO: precise positions aren't supplied for all stars (and when they aren't, the field is left blank).
After you've run ADD_LOC, you should be able to run Guide, go into "Extras... Toggle User Datasets", and see a "WDS (current)" entry in the list. (Of course, there may be assorted other WDSes listed, and you should be sure to turn them off to evade confusion.)
Persons interested in double stars may also be interested in the CCDM catalogue. WDS will give an accurate position for the "major" component in each system, but CCDM will show you each component as a separate entity. True double-star aficionados may wish to have both catalogues, though. WDS usually gives a separation and position angle for two dates, giving you some feel as to how the system is moving. CCDM gives separation and PA for only a single epoch. Also, WDS lists about 100,000 double star systems, far more than CCDM.
If you're a really gung-ho double-star observer, you should also check out the TDSC (Tycho Double Star Catalogue). This lists a slew of extremely close double stars that are not really all that practical to observe, due to low separation or high difference in magnitude. Between the three double-star catalogues, WDS, CCDM, and TDSC, just about all bases are covered.
Millennium and Uranometria pages, and RealSky North, South, and Digital Sky Survey plate display: If you're using Guide 7.0, you already have these datasets installed; click on "Extras... Toggle User Datasets", and you will see them listed. But Guide 6.0 users can download and unZIP this file in your Guide directory (about 10 KBytes) to get them. You'll see that your list of .TDF datasets has five new entries. To make use of them, you'll have to first get the latest Guide 6.0 software (at least up to the 10 Feb version), since earlier versions don't support the display of rectangles in .TDFs.
Once you've done that, though, you'll be able to toggle the five new entries, and can click on the labels provided for the pages (or plates) to get more information about them.
(Updated 29 July 1999) AAVSO finder charts: If you download and unZIP this file (about 35 KBytes) , you'll be able to see areas where the AAVSO has created finder charts, and get information about them (when they were last updated, scale, and so forth). You'll notice that the title of this dataset is "AAVSO Finder Charts (New)", to keep it distinct from an older version already on the Guide 7.0 CD.
This dataset was originally provided by Bob Leitner and Charles Scovil, and listed 2696 charts available as of August 1995. (This is the version already existing on Guide 7.0 CDs.) But a lot of charts have been produced since then; Lance Shaw therefore sent in this updated version, which lists 2801 charts. You can download most of these charts, in PostScript or .GIF form, at the AAVSO Web site.
RASNZ/ASSA finder charts: Fraser Farrell has provided a list of RASNZ (Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand) and ASSA (Astronomical Society of South Australia) variable star finder charts. The list doesn't have RA/dec positions (yet), so you can't get Guide to show you these charts on the screen.
However, if you download and unZIP this file in your Guide directory (about 18K), then when you click for "more info" on a variable star, Guide will tell you if a chart is available from these groups. In some cases, you will also get some RASNZ or ASSA data about the type of variable, its period, and magnitude(s) (photographic, visual, sometimes max/min data).