A data center at the hub of the international cooperation

Strasbourg astronomical Data Center (CDS) is dedicated to the collection and worldwide distribution of astronomical data and related information.

The CDS hosts the SIMBAD astronomical database, the world reference database for the identification of astronomical objects; VizieR, the catalogue service for the CDS reference collection of astronomical catalogues and tables published in academic journals; and the Aladin interactive software sky atlas for access, visualization and analysis of astronomical images, surveys, catalogues, databases and related data.

The CDS mission is to:

  • collect useful information concerning astronomical objects that is available in computerized form;
  • upgrade these data by critical evaluations and comparisons;
  • distribute the results to the astronomical community;
  • conduct research, using these data.

A diagram of the CDS activities is available here.

Maintenance, Innovation and Sustainability

Alongside data curation and service maintenance responsibilities, the CDS undertakes R&D activities that are fundamental to ensure the long term sustainability in a domain in which technology evolves very quickly. R&D areas include informatics, big data, and development of the astronomical Virtual Observatory (VO). CDS is a major actor in the VO with leading roles in European VO projects, the French Virtual Observatory and the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA).


The CDS cooperates with the French Space Agency CNES, European Space Agency ESA, European Southern Observatory ESO, NASA, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (with a long term collaboration with the Astrophysics Data System ADS and the NASA Extragalactic Database NED), astronomical academic journals, and with other data and service providers around the world such as the Inter-University Centre of Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), the National Observatory of China (NAOC), the National Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), and the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences (INASAN). CDS hosts mirrors of NASA ADS and of the Astronomy and Astrophysics international journal. CDS contributes to the XMM-Newton Survey Science Centre in collaboration with the High-Energy team of Strasbourg Astronomical Observatory.

CDS is a member of the World Data System of the International Council for Science ICSU.


The CDS was created in 1972 as the Stellar Data Centre and changed its name to Strasbourg astronomical Data Centre in 1983. The CDS has been a pioneer in the dissemination of added-value digital scientific data. Major milestones include the revolution of web technologies in the 1990's, and the development of the international Virtual Observatory starting in ~2000.


The CDS is labelled "Research Infrastructure" in the Research Infrastructure National Strategy 2012-2020 published by the Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche in 2012.

The CDS is an infrastructure of the French Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

Strasbourg Observatory is an Unité Mixte de Recherche of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and of the Université de Strasbourg (UMR 7550).

Supporting organisations

Several organisations support CDS work, in particular the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, the European Space Agency and the European Southern Observatory.

Contact us

Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg
Observatoire de Strasbourg
11, rue de l'Université - 67000 STRASBOURG, France

Tel: +33-(0)3 68 85 24 75 - Fax: +33-(0)3 68 85 24 17

Email: cds-question@unistra.fr