GCVS General Catalog of Variable Stars

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gcvs4.May16.v1.1.txt.zip (extract gcvs4.May16.v1.1.txt prior to importing)


I have prepared this database for importing as an example of how it should be done in order to make it easy enough for third-party import into DSO Planner.

Refer to the Knowledge Database for instructions on how to import this data.

Note that the custom database importing module is not available in the free version of DSO Planner.

Databse Description

  1. The official source of GCVS used.
  2. Direct link to the original text file database is available.
  3. Specialized Python code used to convert the database text to DSO Planner format. The source code is available on request.
  4. There were 51'851 records imported, out of 52'011 records available in the original database. 160 records removed as they have no Ra/Dec coordinates required to display them on the Star Chart.
  5. All of the GCVS fields were imported using the following custom fields:
    1. ngcvs (s) — star number as in the GCVS worksheet
    2. var (s) — Var Star type
    3. max (s) — maximum star magnitude (text as in GCVS)
    4. min1 (s) — minimum star magnitude (text as in GCVS)
    5. min2 (s) — secondary minimum magnitude (for eclipsing var stars)
    6. ps (s) — photometric system of magnitude (Visual, photographic etc. see GCVS fields description page/document)
    7. jd (s) — variability epoch Julian date
    8. year (s) — year of outburst (usually for Novas)
    9. pd (s) — variability period (days)
    10. mmd (s) — Max-min, rising time or duration of eclipse (see GCVS description)
    11. sp (s) — Star's spectrum description
    12. refs (s) — GCVS references records (science papers, maps, etc)


Standard data fields:

  1. mag (n) — corresponds to the maximum variable star magnitude. It was cleaned from GCVC marks.
  2. name1 (s) — short name of the star (letters and constellation).
  3. name2 (s) — used the alternative name/designation of the star from the last column of the GCVS.
  4. comment (s) — GCVS notes embedded from the GCVS remarks.txt file

Suggested format instructions

  1. The custom fields names chart (5) is mandatory, as these names must be entered into Add New Database dialog as custom fields and must match the names used in the file exactly. Don't publish any standard fields on that list to avoid confusion. Use the Notes section to convey any special handling of standard fields.
  2. The letter in the parenthesis after the field name corresponds to the field type used during the conversion: where (s) - Text string, (n) - Numeric value. Sure thing the importer could decide on the custom field types as he/she considers it best for his/her purposes, but it is important to have that information to reflect the type of the data available to avoid importing errors (i.e. on an attempt to import a not exactly numeric data into a strictly numeric field the app will skip the entire record as malformed). In this example, the original GCVS database has the Maximum Magnitude as a text string with the numeric portion, but for objects filtering algorithm of DSO Planner it must be numeric, so that was adjusted during the conversion from the original file with the extraction of the numeric portion and skipping its text elements. However, the rest of the GCVS values were kept intact in order to present the GCVS data as it is most usable to have for the variable stars scientific research planning.
  3. Note the file name suggested convention as well, if the database source is available, please use any available information to identify the original database name and version within the file name. After the last underscore, it is advised to put the version of your converted file as well e.g. "DatabaseName_v1.txt", so in case you make changes in the subsequent versions or alter their properties/fix bugs - users see the difference right within the new database file name.
  4. Use enumerated lists in your descriptions so, in case of issues, users of your file can refer to any field name or note by its number easily.
  5. Please use ZIP to compact your data files and make downloading and uploading faster. 7zip and RAR archives are not recommended.