SIMBAD Queries (astroquery.simbad)

Getting started

This module can be used to query the Simbad service. Presented below are examples that illustrate the different types of queries that can be formulated. If successful all the queries will return the results in a Table.

Query an Identifier

This is useful if you want to query a known identifier. For instance to query the messier object m1:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> result_table = Simbad.query_object("m1")
>>> print(result_table)

MAIN_ID      RA         DEC     RA_PREC DEC_PREC COO_ERR_MAJA COO_ERR_MINA COO_ERR_ANGLE COO_QUAL COO_WAVELENGTH     COO_BIBCODE
------- ----------- ----------- ------- -------- ------------ ------------ ------------- -------- -------------- -------------------
M   1 05 34 31.94 +22 00 52.2       6        6          nan          nan             0        C              R 2011A&A...533A..10L

Wildcards are supported. So for instance to query messier objects from 1 through 9:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> result_table = Simbad.query_object("m [1-9]", wildcard=True)
>>> print(result_table)

MAIN_ID      RA         DEC     RA_PREC DEC_PREC COO_ERR_MAJA COO_ERR_MINA COO_ERR_ANGLE COO_QUAL COO_WAVELENGTH     COO_BIBCODE
------- ----------- ----------- ------- -------- ------------ ------------ ------------- -------- -------------- -------------------
M   1 05 34 31.94 +22 00 52.2       6        6          nan          nan             0        C              R 2011A&A...533A..10L
M   2 21 33 27.02 -00 49 23.7       6        6      100.000      100.000             0        C              O 2010AJ....140.1830G
M   3 13 42 11.62 +28 22 38.2       6        6      200.000      200.000             0        C              O 2010AJ....140.1830G
M   4 16 23 35.22 -26 31 32.7       6        6      400.000      400.000             0        C              O 2010AJ....140.1830G
M   5 15 18 33.22 +02 04 51.7       6        6          nan          nan             0        C              O 2010AJ....140.1830G
M   6    17 40 20    -32 15.2       4        4          nan          nan             0        E              O 2009MNRAS.399.2146W
M   7    17 53 51    -34 47.6       4        4          nan          nan             0        E              O 2009MNRAS.399.2146W
M   8    18 03 37    -24 23.2       4        4    18000.000    18000.000           179        E
M   9 17 19 11.78 -18 30 58.5       6        6          nan          nan             0        D                2002MNRAS.332..441F

Wildcards are supported by other queries as well - where this is the case, examples are presented to this end. The wildcards that are supported and their usage across all these queries is the same. To see the available wildcards and their functions:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> Simbad.list_wildcards()

* : Any string of characters (including an empty one)

[^0-9] : Any (one) character not in the list.

? : Any character (exactly one character)

[abc] : Exactly one character taken in the list. Can also be defined by a range of characters: [A-Z]

Query a region

Queries that support a cone search with a specified radius - around an identifier or given coordinates are also supported. If an identifier is used then it will be resolved to coordinates using online name resolving services available in Astropy.

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> result_table = Simbad.query_region("m81")
>>> print(result_table)

            MAIN_ID                 RA           DEC      RA_PREC DEC_PREC ... COO_ERR_ANGLE COO_QUAL COO_WAVELENGTH     COO_BIBCODE
-------------------------- ------------- ------------- ------- -------- ... ------------- -------- -------------- -------------------
[VV2006c] J095534.0+043546 09 55 33.9854 +04 35 46.438       8        8 ...             0        B              O 2009A&A...505..385A
...

When no radius is specified, the radius defaults to 20 arcmin. A radius may also be explicitly specified - it can be entered either as a string that is acceptable by Angle or by using the Quantity object:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> import astropy.units as u
>>> result_table = Simbad.query_region("m81", radius=0.1 * u.deg)
>>> # another way to specify the radius.
>>> result_table = Simbad.query_region("m81", radius='0d6m0s')
>>> print(result_table)

        MAIN_ID               RA      ...     COO_BIBCODE
----------------------- ------------- ... -------------------
                  M  81 09 55 33.1730 ... 2004AJ....127.3587F
          [SPZ2011] ML2   09 55 32.97 ... 2011ApJ...735...26S
              [F88] X-5   09 55 33.32 ... 2001ApJ...554..202I
          [SPZ2011] 264  09 55 32.618 ... 2011ApJ...735...26S
          [SPZ2011] ML1   09 55 33.10 ... 2011ApJ...735...26S
          [SPZ2011] ML3   09 55 33.99 ... 2011ApJ...735...26S
          [SPZ2011] ML5   09 55 33.39 ... 2011ApJ...735...26S
          [SPZ2011] ML6   09 55 32.47 ... 2011ApJ...735...26S
                    ...           ... ...                 ...
          [MPC2001]   8   09 54 45.50 ... 2001A&A...379...90M
2MASS J09561112+6859003   09 56 11.13 ... 2003yCat.2246....0C
           [PR95] 50721  09 56 36.460 ...
                PSK  72    09 54 54.1 ...
                PSK 353    09 56 03.7 ...
           [BBC91] S02S    09 56 07.1 ...
                PSK 489   09 56 36.55 ... 2003AJ....126.1286L
                PSK   7    09 54 37.0 ...

If coordinates are used, then they should be entered using an astropy.coordinates object. Limited support for entering the coordinates directly as a string also exists - only for ICRS coordinates (though these may just as well be specified by the ICRS object)

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> import astropy.coordinates as coord
>>> # works only for ICRS coordinates:
>>> result_table = Simbad.query_region("05h35m17.3s -05h23m28s", radius='1d0m0s')
>>> print(result_table)

        MAIN_ID               RA      ...     COO_BIBCODE
----------------------- ------------- ... -------------------
              HD  38875 05 34 59.7297 ... 2007A&A...474..653V
         TYC 9390-799-1 05 33 58.2222 ... 1998A&A...335L..65H
         TYC 9390-646-1  05 35 02.830 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
         TYC 9390-629-1  05 35 20.419 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
         TYC 9390-857-1  05 30 58.989 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
        TYC 9390-1171-1 05 37 35.9623 ... 1998A&A...335L..65H
         TYC 9390-654-1  05 35 27.395 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
         TYC 9390-656-1  05 30 43.665 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
                    ...           ... ...                 ...
         TYC 9373-779-1  05 11 57.788 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
         TYC 9377-513-1 05 10 43.0669 ... 1998A&A...335L..65H
         TYC 9386-135-1  05 28 24.988 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
        TYC 9390-1786-1  05 56 34.801 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
2MASS J05493730-8141270   05 49 37.30 ... 2003yCat.2246....0C
         TYC 9390-157-1  05 35 55.233 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
         PKS J0557-8122   05 57 26.80 ... 2003MNRAS.342.1117M
           PKS 0602-813    05 57 30.7 ...

For other coordinate systems, use the appropriate astropy.coordinates object:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> import astropy.coordinates as coord
>>> import astropy.units as u
>>> result_table = Simbad.query_region(coord.SkyCoord(31.0087, 14.0627,
...                                    unit=(u.deg, u.deg), frame='galactic'),
...                                    radius='0d0m2s')
>>> print(result_table)

            MAIN_ID             RA      ... COO_WAVELENGTH     COO_BIBCODE
------------------- ------------- ... -------------- -------------------
NAME Barnard's star 17 57 48.4980 ...              O 2007A&A...474..653V

Two other options can also be specified - the epoch and the equinox. If these are not explicitly mentioned, then the epoch defaults to J2000 and the equinox to 2000.0. So here is a query with all the options utilized:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> import astropy.coordinates as coord
>>> import astropy.units as u
>>> result_table = Simbad.query_region(coord.FK5(ra=11.70, dec=10.90,
...                                    unit=(u.deg, u.deg)),
...                                    radius=0.5 * u.degree,
...                                    epoch='B1950',
...                                    equinox=1950)
>>> print(result_table)

        MAIN_ID               RA      ...     COO_BIBCODE
----------------------- ------------- ... -------------------
              PHL  6696       00 49.4 ...
            BD+10    97 00 49 25.4553 ... 2007A&A...474..653V
         TYC  607-238-1  00 48 53.302 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
              PHL  2998       00 49.3 ...
2MASS J00492121+1121094  00 49 21.219 ... 2003yCat.2246....0C
        TYC  607-1135-1 00 48 46.5838 ... 1998A&A...335L..65H
2MASX J00495215+1118527  00 49 52.154 ... 2006AJ....131.1163S
            BD+10    98 00 50 03.4124 ... 1998A&A...335L..65H
                    ...           ... ...                 ...
         TYC  607-971-1 00 47 38.0430 ... 1998A&A...335L..65H
         TYC  607-793-1  00 50 35.545 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
USNO-A2.0 0975-00169117  00 47 55.351 ... 2007ApJ...664...53A
         TYC  607-950-1  00 50 51.875 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
            BD+10   100 00 51 15.0789 ... 1998A&A...335L..65H
          TYC  608-60-1  00 51 13.314 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
         TYC  608-432-1  00 51 05.289 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H
         TYC  607-418-1  00 49 09.636 ... 2000A&A...355L..27H

Query a catalogue

Queries can also be formulated to return all the objects from a catalogue. For instance to query the ESO catalog:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> limitedSimbad = Simbad()
>>> limitedSimbad.ROW_LIMIT = 6
>>> result_table = limitedSimbad.query_catalog('eso')
>>> print(result_table)

MAIN_ID              RA      ... COO_WAVELENGTH     COO_BIBCODE
----------------------- ------------ ... -------------- -------------------
2MASS J08300740-4325465  08 30 07.41 ...              I 2003yCat.2246....0C
NGC  2573 01 41 35.091 ...              I 2006AJ....131.1163S
ESO   1-2   05 04 36.8 ...                1982ESO...C......0L
ESO   1-3 05 22 36.509 ...              I 2006AJ....131.1163S
ESO   1-4 07 49 28.813 ...              I 2006AJ....131.1163S
ESO   1-5 08 53 05.006 ...              I 2006AJ....131.1163S

Query a bibcode

This retrieves the reference corresponding to a bibcode.

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> result_table = Simbad.query_bibcode('2005A&A.430.165F')
>>> print(result_table)

References
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2005A&A...430..165F  --  ?
Astron. Astrophys., 430, 165-186 (2005)
FAMAEY B., JORISSEN A., LURI X., MAYOR M., UDRY S., DEJONGHE H. and TURON C.
Local kinematics of K and M giants from CORAVEL/Hipparcos/Tycho-2 data. Revisiting the concept of  superclusters.
Files: (abstract)
Notes: <Available at CDS: tablea1.dat notes.dat>

Wildcards can be used in these queries as well. So to retrieve all the bibcodes from a given journal in a given year:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> result_table = Simbad.query_bibcode('2013A&A*', wildcard=True)
>>> print(result_table)

References
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2013A&A...549A...1G  --  ?
Astron. Astrophys., 549A, 1-1 (2013)
GENTILE M., COURBIN F. and MEYLAN G.
Interpolating point spread function anisotropy.
Files: (abstract) (no object)

2013A&A...549A...2L  --  ?
Astron. Astrophys., 549A, 2-2 (2013)
LEE B.-C., HAN I. and PARK M.-G.
Planetary companions orbiting M giants HD 208527 and HD 220074.
Files: (abstract)

2013A&A...549A...3C  --  ?
Astron. Astrophys., 549A, 3-3 (2013)
COCCATO L., MORELLI L., PIZZELLA A., CORSINI E.M., BUSON L.M. and DALLA BONTA E.
Spectroscopic evidence of distinct stellar populations in the  counter-rotating stellar disks of NGC 3593 and NGC 4550.
Files: (abstract)

2013A&A...549A...4S  --  ?
Astron. Astrophys., 549A, 4-4 (2013)
SCHAERER D., DE BARROS S. and SKLIAS P.
Properties of z ~ 3-6 Lyman break galaxies. I. Testing star formation  histories and the SFR-mass relation with ALMA and near-IR spectroscopy.
Files: (abstract)

2013A&A...549A...5R  --  ?
Astron. Astrophys., 549A, 5-5 (2013)
RYGL K.L.J., WYROWSKI F., SCHULLER F. and MENTEN K.M.
Initial phases of massive star formation in high infrared extinction  clouds. II. Infall and onset of star formation.
Files: (abstract)

2013A&A...549A...6K  --  ?
Astron. Astrophys., 549A, 6-6 (2013)
KAMINSKI T., SCHMIDT M.R. and MENTEN K.M.
Aluminium oxide in the optical spectrum of VY Canis Majoris.
Files: (abstract)

Query object identifiers

These queries can be used to retrieve all of the names (identifiers) associated with an object.

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> result_table = Simbad.query_objectids("Polaris")
>>> print(result_table)
         ID
--------------------
        ADS  1477 AP
        ** STF   93A
    WDS J02318+8916A
         ** WRH   39
       NAME Lodestar
            PLX  299
             SBC9 76
           *   1 UMi
           * alf UMi
       AAVSO 0122+88
         ADS  1477 A
          AG+89    4
         BD+88     8
   CCDM J02319+8915A
     CSI+88     8  1
            FK5  907
            GC  2243
          GCRV  1037
   GEN# +1.00008890A
     GSC 04628-00237
           HD   8890
          HIC  11767
          HIP  11767
            HR   424
    IDS 01226+8846 A
     IRAS 01490+8901
          JP11   498
            N30  381
     NAME NORTH STAR
        NAME POLARIS
     PMC 90-93   640
          PPM    431
           ROT  3491
          SAO    308
          SBC7    51
          SKY#  3738
           TD1   835
      TYC 4628-237-1
         UBV   21589
        UBV M   8201
          V* alf UMi
         PLX  299.00
WDS J02318+8916Aa,Ab

Query a bibobj

These queries can be used to retrieve all the objects that are contained in the article specified by the bibcode:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> result_table = Simbad.query_bibobj('2005A&A.430.165F')
>>> print(result_table)

MAIN_ID       RA          DEC      RA_PREC DEC_PREC COO_ERR_MAJA COO_ERR_MINA COO_ERR_ANGLE COO_QUAL COO_WAVELENGTH     COO_BIBCODE
--------- ------------ ------------ ------- -------- ------------ ------------ ------------- -------- -------------- -------------------
NGC   524 01 24 47.707 +09 32 19.65       7        7          nan          nan             0        B              I 2006AJ....131.1163S
NGC  3593 11 14 37.002 +12 49 04.87       7        7          nan          nan             0        B              I 2006AJ....131.1163S
NGC  4138 12 09 29.788 +43 41 07.14       7        7          nan          nan             0        B              I 2006AJ....131.1163S
NGC  4550 12 35 30.612 +12 13 15.44       7        7          nan          nan             0        B              I 2006AJ....131.1163S
NGC  5179 13 29 30.875 +11 44 44.54       7        7          nan          nan             0        B              I 2006AJ....131.1163S
NGC  5713 14 40 11.528 -00 17 21.16       7        7          nan          nan             0        B              I 2006AJ....131.1163S

Query based on any criteria

Anything done in SIMBAD’s criteria interface can be done via astroquery. See that link for details of how these queries are formed.

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> result = Simbad.query_criteria('region(box, GAL, 0 +0, 3d 1d)', otype='SNR')
>>> print result
       MAIN_ID             RA         DEC     RA_PREC DEC_PREC COO_ERR_MAJA COO_ERR_MINA COO_ERR_ANGLE COO_QUAL COO_WAVELENGTH     COO_BIBCODE
--------------------- ----------- ----------- ------- -------- ------------ ------------ ------------- -------- -------------- -------------------
  EQ J174702.6-282733  17 47 02.6   -28 27 33       5        5          nan          nan             0        D                2002ApJ...565.1017S
[L92] 174535.0-280410  17 48 44.4   -28 05 06       5        5     3000.000     3000.000             0        D
           [GWC93] 19  17 42 04.9   -30 04 04       5        5     3000.000     3000.000             1        D
      SNR G359.1-00.2    17 43 29    -29 45.9       4        4          nan          nan             0        E                2000AJ....119..207L
      SNR G000.1-00.2  17 48 42.5   -28 09 11       5        5          nan          nan             0        D                2008ApJS..177..255L
      SNR G359.9-00.9     17 45.8      -29 03       3        3          nan          nan             0
      SNR G359.4-00.1    17 44 37    -29 27.2       4        4    18000.000    18000.000             1        E
           NAME SGR D    17 48 42    -28 01.4       4        4    18000.000    18000.000             0        E
      SNR G359.1-00.5    17 45 25    -29 57.9       4        4    18000.000    18000.000             1        E
       NAME SGR D SNR     17 48.7      -28 07       3        3          nan          nan             0        E
    Suzaku J1747-2824    17 47 00    -28 24.5       4        4          nan          nan             0        E                2007ApJ...666..934C
      SNR G000.4+00.2 17 46 27.65 -28 36 05.6       6        6      300.000      300.000             1        D
      SNR G001.4-00.1  17 49 28.1   -27 47 45       5        5          nan          nan             0        D                1999ApJ...527..172Y
     GAL 000.61+00.01     17 47.0      -28 25       3        3          nan          nan             0        D
      SNR G000.9+00.1     17 47.3      -28 09       3        3          nan          nan             0        E              R 2009BASI...37...45G
      SNR G000.3+00.0  17 46 14.9   -28 37 15       5        5     3000.000     3000.000             1        D
      SNR G001.0-00.1     17 48.5      -28 09       3        3          nan          nan             0        E              R 2009BASI...37...45G
      NAME SGR A EAST    17 45 47    -29 00.2       4        4    18000.000    18000.000             1        E

Customizing the default settings

There may be times when you wish to change the defaults that have been set for the Simbad queries.

Changing the row limit

To fetch all the rows in the result, the row limit must be set to 0. However for some queries, results are likely to be very large, in such cases it may be best to limit the rows to a smaller number. If you want to do this only for the current python session then:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> Simbad.ROW_LIMIT = 15 # now any query fetches at most 15 rows

If you would like to make your choice persistent, then you can do this by modifying the setting in the Astroquery configuration file.

Changing the timeout

The timeout is the time limit in seconds for establishing connection with the Simbad server and by default it is set to 100 seconds. You may want to modify this - again you can do this at run-time if you want to adjust it only for the current session. To make it persistent, you must modify the setting in the Astroquery configuration file.

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> Simbad.TIMEOUT = 60 # sets the timeout to 60s

Specifying which VOTable fields to include in the result

The VOTable fields that are currently returned in the result are set to main_id and coordinates. However you can specify other fields that you also want to be fetched in the result. To see the list of the fields:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> Simbad.list_votable_fields()

          col0               col1          col2
      ----------------- ------------ --------------
                dim      main_id  propermotions
          dim_angle measurements        ra(opt)
        dim_bibcode       mesplx        ra_prec
           dim_incl        mespm            rot
        dim_majaxis           mk       rv_value

The above shows just a small snippet of the table that is returned and has all the fields sorted lexicographically column-wise. For more information on a particular field:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> Simbad.get_field_description('ra_prec')

right ascension precision code (0:1/10deg, ..., 8: 1/1000 arcsec)

To set additional fields to be returned in the VOTable:

>>> from astroquery.simbad import Simbad
>>> customSimbad = Simbad()

# see which fields are currently set

>>> customSimbad.get_votable_fields()

['main_id', 'coordinates']

# To set other fields

>>> customSimbad.add_votable_fields('mk', 'rot', 'bibcodelist(1800-2014)')
>>> customSimbad.get_votable_fields()

['main_id', 'coordinates', 'mk', 'rot', 'bibcodelist(1800-2014')]

You can also remove a field you have set or astroquery.simbad.SimbadClass.reset_votable_fields(). Continuing from the above example:

>>> customSimbad.remove_votable_fields('mk', 'coordinates')
>>> customSimbad.get_votable_fields()

['rot', 'main_id']

# reset back to defaults

>>> customSimbad.reset_votable_fields()
>>> customSimbad.get_votable_fields()

['main_id', 'coordinates']

Specifying the format of the included VOTable fields

The output for several of the VOTable fields can be formatted in many different ways described in the help page of the SIMBAD query interface (see Sect. 4.3 of this page). As an example, the epoch and equinox for the Right Ascension and Declination can be specified as follows (e.g. epoch of J2017.5 and equinox of 2000):

>>> customSimbad.add_votable_fields('ra(2;A;ICRS;J2017.5;2000)', 'dec(2;D;ICRS;2017.5;2000)')
>>> customSimbad.remove_votable_fields('coordinates')
>>> customSimbad.query_object("HD189733")
<Table masked=True length=1>
 MAIN_ID  RA_2_A_ICRS_J2017_5_2000 DEC_2_D_ICRS_2017_5_2000
                   "h:m:s"                  "d:m:s"
  object           str13                    str13
--------- ------------------------ ------------------------
HD 189733            20 00 43.7107            +22 42 39.064

Reference/API

astroquery.simbad Package

SIMBAD Query Tool

The SIMBAD query tool creates a script query that returns VOtable XML data that is then parsed into a SimbadResult object. This object then parses the data and returns a table parsed with astropy.io.votable.parse.

Classes

SimbadClass() The class for querying the Simbad web service.
Conf Configuration parameters for astroquery.simbad.