leda Catalogue of designations site

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This catalogue (table a101 in the database) is the compilation of designations of objects. In general, the designations are formed from an acronym of the catalogue where the source is described followed by a running number: For example, NGC 4486 means "the object number 4486 in the New General Catalogue". A given object may have several names.

The designations should comply rules defined by the commission 5 of the IAU, and new acronyms should be declared to this commission. There are some variants between the coding of names between the various databases, Simbad and NED in particular. HyperLeda tries to use names as widely accepted as possible.

For most of the recent large surveys, the names are build from the acronym and from the position of the object on the sky (in general the J2000 equatorial coordinates). Note that the position must be "truncated" not "rounded".

Statistics of the designations

The first ten sources of designations

Galaxies and nebulae names

Historically, galaxies and nebulae were not distinguished. Both type of objects appear extended and diffuse at the telescope, and this is not until the 20th century that the nature of galaxies ware recognized. Catalogues assembled by searching the sky with a telescope or on photographic or digital surveys therefore often include both galaxies and gazeous nebulae, because a precise classification sometime needs additional data (like for example a spectrum, or images taken at different wavelengths). The next table gives some of the best known catalogues of galaxies or of nebulae.

Some of the best known catalogues of nebulae or galaxies
Acronym Number Reference
SDSS 3.459.770 Sloan Digital Sky Survey
PGC 1.743.411 Paturel et al, 1989; 2000 
2MASS 264.030 Two Micron All-Sky Survey
MCG  30.563  Vorontsov-Velyaminov et al. , 1962-74 
CGCG  29.812  Zwicky et al., 1961-68 
ESO  17.060  Lauberts A. et al., 1982 
IRAS  15.792  IRAS, Point Source Catalogue, 1984 
UGC  13.856  Nilson P., 1973 
NGC  6.502  Dreyer J.L.E., 1888 
IC  3.508  Dreyer J.L.E., 1895, 1910 
ARP  561  Arp H., 1966 
MESSIER 109 Messier C., 1781