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The Star*s Family grows bigger:
StarWorlds and StarBits now available at CDS


Observatoire Astronomique
11 rue de l'Université
F - 67000 Strasbourg, France

Centre de DonnŽes astronomiques de Strasbourg
Observatoire Astronomique
11 rue de l'Université
F - 67000 Strasbourg, France
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Two new databases have been made available at the Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg (CDS) through the CDS WorldWideWeb (White, 1993) server accessible i.a. via Mosaic (Hardin, 1994). StarWorlds and StarBits are new members of the Star*s Family, a line of products encompassing databases, dictionaries, directories, on-line services and so on, compiled by the first author (see Heck, 1991). A remarkable feature consists of active hypertext links (anchors) pointing towards organizations and on-line services.


StarWorlds is an on-line database of astronomy, space sciences, and related organizations of the world. It offers essentially the information listed in the directory (Heck, 1994b). StarWorlds has however the advantage of being permanently updated. To date, about 5,000 entries from about 100 countries are accessible.

Besides astronomy and space sciences, related fields such as aeronautics, aeronomy, astronautics, atmospheric sciences, chemistry, communications, computer sciences, data processing, education, electronics, energetics, engineering, environment, geodesy, geophysics, information handling, management, mathematics, meteorology, optics, physics, remote sensing, and so on, are also covered when appropriate.

StarWorlds gathers all practical data available on associations, societies, scientific committees, agencies, companies, institutions, universities, etc., and more generally organizations, involved in astronomy and space sciences.

Many other related types of entries have also been included such as academies, bibliographical services, data centres, dealers, distributors, funding organizations, IAU-adhering organizations, journals, manufacturers, meteorological services, national norms and standards institutes, parent associations and societies, publishers, software producers, and so on.

The information is given in an uncoded way for easy and direct use. For each entry, all practical data returned by the organizations are available: city, postal and electronic-mail addresses; telephone, telex and telefax numbers; anchors for on-line services; foundation years; numbers of members or staff; main activities; titles, frequencies, ISS-Numbers and circulations of periodicals produced; names and geographical coordinates of observing sites; names of planetariums; awards, prizes or distinctions granted; and so on.

StarWorlds' entry panel is displayed in Fig. 1. Information can be retrieved by any string of characters or by words such as names, designations, acronyms, locations, major terms and so on. The beginning of a typical result of a query (here the string `(cds)') appears in Fig. 2. The listed anchors are active items that can be used to switch to the corresponding documents on the web. They are compiled in parallel with those listed in the `CDS yellow pages' (Heck & Egret, 1994).


StarBits is an on-line database of abbreviations, acronyms, contractions, and symbols in astronomy, space sciences, and related fields. It offers essentially the updated information listed in the dictionary StarBriefs (Heck, 1994a). To date, about 70,000 entries are accessible.

The field coverage is the same as for StarWorlds. Abbreviations, acronyms, contractions and symbols in common use and/or of general interest have also been included when appropriate. The travelling scientist has not been forgotten either (codes of airlines, locations, currencies, and so on).

StarBits' entry panel is displayed in Fig. 3. Information from the database can be retrieved by any string of characters and the beginning of a typical result of a query (here again the string `cds') appears in Fig. 4.


Access to StarWorlds and StarBits is possible through Universal Resource Locators (URLs) which are anchors or hypertext references through Mosaic on the web. They are respectively:

Both databases are also reachable via:

Once into the system, the successive panels are self-explanatory. On-line help and documentation is also available, as well as a dedicated user report system through an automated e-mail facility.


It is a very pleasant duty to express here our gratitude to the organizations and individuals who have helped in various ways to compile and update the information presented in StarWorlds and StarBits.

Feedback from users on possible modifications and/or additions to the data provided in the databases would be highly appreciated in order to ensure endured accuracy of the master files.

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