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GCVS: Help

GCVS - General Catalog of Variable Stars, Version 4.2


Overview

The General Catalog of Variable Stars (GCVS) is the only reference source on all known variable stars. This database is based on the electronically-readable version as distributed by the Sternberg Astronomical Institute and Institute of Astronomy (Russian Acad. Sci.), Moscow. It is the catalog of variable stars, updated and completed with the Name-Lists of Variables Stars Nos. 67-77 (see IBVS No. 2681, 1985; No. 3058, 1987; No. 3323, 1989; No. 3530, 1990; No. 3840, 1993; No. 4140, 1995; No. 4471, 1997; No. 4659, 1999; No. 4870, 2000; No. 5135, 2001; No. 5422, 2003). The total number of designated variable stars has now reached 38624 (including 96 stars which are now considered to be either duplicates of other designated variable stars or non-existent). Errors detected in the printed Volumes I-III and in the Name-Lists have been corrected.

The present improved electronic version of the GCVS 4th Edition, Volumes I-V, combined with the Name-Lists of Variable Stars Nos. 67 - 77, is also available from the Sternberg Institute via anonymous ftp to ftp://ftp.sai.msu.su/pub/groups/cluster/gcvs/gcvs and more information can also be found at the GCVS Group's Home page at http://www.sai.msu.su/groups/cluster/gcvs/gcvs.


Catalog Bibcode

<II/250/gcvs_cat.dat>

References

Combined General Catalogue of Variable Stars (GCVS4.2, 2004 Edition)
    Samus N.N., Durlevich O.V., et al.
   <Institute of Astronomy of Russian Academy of Sciences and Sternberg
    State Astronomical Institute of the Moscow State University (2004)>

Provenance

This online version of the GCVS Catalog was created by the HEASARC in January 2004 based on CDS Catalog II/250, table gcvs_cat.dat. The latter was itself based on on an electronically-readable version that was distributed by the Sternberg Astronomical Institute and Institute of Astronomy (Russian Acad. Sci.), Moscow.

HEASARC Changes

The HEASARC has made a small number of mostly cosmetic changes to this catalog. Firstly, variable star names for the 335th to 999th variables in a constellation have had the zero following the 'V' character deleted, e.g., V335 And rather than V0335 And, to conform with the standard naming convention. Secondly, 96 of the 38624 entries in the original catalog which were either duplicates of other variable stars or non-existent stars were not included in this HEASARC representation, but are listed in the Entries_Removed_by_HEASARC section of this database's help documentation. Thirdly, the original table entry for the variable star 'HZ Vir' has a listed minimum magnitude of 11.98, and a listed amplitude of variation of 1.73 rather than an explicit maximum magnitude. The HEASARC has subtracted the 1.73 mag amplitude from the 11.98 minimum magnitude to calculate the maximum magnitude of 10.25 that is listed in this database for HZ Vir. Fourthly, a number of the parameters that are flags had values of '*' in the original catalog; the HEASARC in some cases has changed these values to other symbols because an asterisk is a wild-card character in its database systems. Fifthly, the original values of the position_flag parameter of : * and ' have been changed to A B and C, respectively, in this HEASARC version. Sixthly, the original values of the period_note parameter of *N * /N and /N) have been changed to MN MN DN and DN, respectively, in this HEASARC version. Finally, the original value of '*' for the position_note parameter has been changed to 'Y' in the HEASARC version.

Entries Removed by HEASARC

       Star Name   Reason Removed

    1  VV    AND    Non-existent
    2  CV    AQR    Non-existent
    3  V464  AQL    =V446  AQL
    4  V890  AQL    Non-existent
    5  FQ    ARA    =RV    ARA
    6  HV    ARA    =AN    PAV
    7  W     CAR    =V     VEL
    8  DM    CAS    =WW    CAM
    9  V405  CAS    =CD    CAS
   10  V432  CAS    =IM    CEP
   11  V467  CEN    =V746  CEN
   12  V596  CEN    =V583  CEN
   13  V694  CEN    =BL    CEN
   14  VY    CEP    =RR    CEP
   15  FG    CEP    =IN    CEP
   16  GO    CEP    =AY    CEP
   17  V344  CEP    =V343  CEP
   18  Y     CET    Non-existent
   19  W     CIR    =NW    LUP
   20  BX    COM    =XY    COM
   21  CQ    COM    =TY    COM
   22  GL    COM    =GH    COM
   23  GT    COM    Non-existent
   24  V422  CRA    =SS    CRA
   25  V530  CRA    =V359  CRA
   26  V665  CRA    =YY    CRA
   27  MX    CYG    Non-existent
   28  V406  CYG    =V354  CYG
   29  V1290 CYG    =IQ    CYG
   30  V1810 CYG    Non-existent
   31  VZ    DOR    =VW    DOR
   32  AZ    ERI    =AO    ERI
   33  VY    GEM    Non-existent
   34  KN    GEM    Non-existent
   35  IZ    HER    =HS    HER
   36  V360  HER    Non-existent
   37  CO    HYA    =V1046 CEN
   38  UZ    HYI    =WY    HYI
   39  IS    LAC    =PU    LAC
   40  V390  LAC    =HL    LAC
   41  TU    LEO    Non-existent
   42  GT    LIB    =EN    LIB
   43  V489  LYR    =BI    LYR
   44  V359  MON    =GR    MON
   45  FI    MUS    =RV    MUS
   46  FN    MUS    =RX    MUS
   47  FP    MUS    =CR    MUS
   48  FX    MUS    =DY    MUS
   49  GH    MUS    =YZ    MUS
   50  GG    NOR    =QT    NOR
   51  QR    NOR    =SS    NOR
   52  SV    OCT    =RR    OCT
   53  BO    OCT    =EPS   OCT
   54  HV    OPH    Non-existent
   55  V1548 OPH    Non-existent
   56  V2063 OPH    Non-existent
   57  V2132 OPH    =V1003 OPH
   58  V2529 OPH    =V2115 OPH
   59  V1102 ORI    =V1121 ORI
   60  UZ    PEG    =CR    CYG
   61  DS    PEG    =V460  CYG
   62  AX    PUP    =VZ    CMA
   63  S     RET    =R     RET
   64  AF    SGR    Non-existent
   65  BT    SGR    =V1701 SGR
   66  V908  SGR    =V737  SGR
   67  V1154 SGR    =V948  SGR
   68  V1285 SGR    =V703  SGR
   69  V1728 SGR    =V2471 SGR
   70  V2610 SGR    =V372  SGR
   71  V2988 SGR    =V655  SGR
   72  V3475 SGR    =V2355 SGR
   73  V3507 SGR    =V2360 SGR
   74  V3723 SGR    =V1635 SGR
   75  V3729 SGR    =V2371 SGR
   76  V3746 SGR    =V948  SGR
   77  V4020 SGR    =AK    SGR
   78  V4053 SGR    =V1673 SGR
   79  V4056 SGR    =IL    SGR
   80  V     SCO    =W     SCO
   81  V855  SCO    =GM    SCO
   82  CC    SCT    =AL    SCT
   83  HW    TAU    Non-existent
   84  V391  TAU    =V392  TAU
   85  V393  TAU    =V634  TAU
   86  V421  TAU    Non-existent
   87  V505  TAU    =V614  TAU
   88  V580  TAU    =V404  TAU
   89  V616  TAU    =V737  TAU
   90  V628  TAU    =V515  TAU
   91  V704  TAU    =V355  TAU
   92  V708  TAU    =V508  TAU
   93  V745  TAU    =V629  TAU
   94  V786  TAU    =V518  TAU
   95  V803  TAU    =V357  TAU
   96  V1209 TAU    =V738  TAU

Parameters

Constell_Code
This is a numeric code for the constellation name in alphabetic order of the full constellation name, so, for example, Cancer or CNC has a code value of 12 which precedes the code value of 16 for Capricornus or CAP). The codes are as follows:

  Constellation   Constell_code    Constellation   Constell_code
      Name                             Name

      AND         1                    ANT         2
      APS         3                    AQR         4
      AQL         5                    ARA         6
      ARI         7                    AUR         8
      BOO         9                    CAE        10
      CAM        11                    CNC        12
      CVN        13                    CMA        14
      CMI        15                    CAP        16
      CAR        17                    CAS        18
      CEN        19                    CEP        20
      CET        21                    CHA        22
      CIR        23                    COL        24
      COM        25                    CRA        26
      CRB        27                    CRV        28
      CRT        29                    CRU        30
      CYG        31                    DEL        32
      DOR        33                    DRA        34
      EQU        35                    ERI        36
      FOR        37                    GEM        38
      GRU        39                    HER        40
      HOR        41                    HYA        42
      HYI        43                    IND        44
      LAC        45                    LEO        46
      LMI        47                    LEP        48
      LIB        49                    LUP        50
      LYN        51                    LYR        52
      MEN        53                    MIC        54
      MON        55                    MUS        56
      NOR        57                    OCT        58
      OPH        59                    ORI        60
      PAV        61                    PEG        62
      PER        63                    PHE        64
      PIC        65                    PSC        66
      PSA        67                    PUP        68
      PYX        69                    RET        70
      SGE        71                    SGR        72
      SCO        73                    SCL        74
      SCT        75                    SER        76
      SEX        77                    TAU        78
      TEL        79                    TRI        80
      TRA        81                    TUC        82
      UMA        83                    UMI        84
      VEL        85                    VIR        86
      VOL        87                    VUL        88
  

Constell_Star_Num
The star number within the constellation, which typically corresponds to the order in which the variables were found. For historical reasons, the first designated variable star in a constellation was given the name 'R constellation', e.g., 'R CMA', the second the prefix 'S', etc, the ninth 'Z', the tenth 'RR', etc., the 55th 'AA', etc, until the 334th 'QZ', at which point the letters have been exhausted, and the 335th variable is given the 'V0335' (or V335) prefix, e.g., 'V0335 AND', and so on for all subsequent discoveries in the constellation.

Component_ID
The component identification, 'A', 'B', etc., i.e., the designations of components of double/multiple stars. Usually, only one component of the binary is variable, but there are cases (CE Cas A and B, and EQ Peg A and B) where both components are variable and are listed as separate entries in the catalog.

Name
The variable star designation. For a brief explanation of the variable star naming convention, see the help entry for the constell_star_num parameter. Notice that stars which have Bayer designations, e.g. Alpha Ori, which have been discovered to be variable stars have not been given a new variable star designation but are listed by their Bayer designation in the GCVS, e.g., as 'alf Ori'. (The traditional transliterations of Greek letters are used, e.g., 'alf' for alpha). There are also a small number of historical variable stars which were named using lower-case latin characters, e.g. g Her and u Her. The lower- and upper-case latin letters must be distinguished, notice, because in some cases, e.g., u Her and U Her, there are names for completely different stars using the alternate naming conventions.

Note_Flag
This flag is set to 'Y' if there are notes on this star in the published version of the catalog (Kholopov et al. 1985-1988).

RA
The Right Ascension of the star in the specified equinox. This was given to no better than a precision of 0.1 seconds of time in the originating table, and in both 1950 and 2000 equatorial co-ordinates. For the Web Browse version of this database, we have ingested the J2000 Equator and Epoch position since this is its default equator, while for the xray account Browse version, we have ingested the B1950 Equator and Epoch position, since this is its default equator.

Dec
The Declination of the star in the specified equinox. This was given to a precision of 1 arcsecond in the originating table, and in both 1950 and 2000 equatorial co-ordinates. For the Web Browse version of this database, we have ingested the J2000 Equator and Epoch position since this is its default equator, while for the xray account Browse version, we have ingested the B1950 Equator and Epoch position, since this is its default equator.

LII
The Galactic Longitude of the star.

BII
The Galactic Latitude of the star.

Position_Flag
This is a code flag describing the positional accuracy, as follows:

    'A'  means right ascensions accurate to one second of time and
         declinations accurate to one tenth of an arcminute;
    'B'  means declinations accurate to one arcminute;
    'C'  means right ascensions accurate to one minute of time and
         declinations accurate to one arcminute.
  

Position_Note
This flag is set to 'Y' to indicate that the coordinates could not be improved and that they were recalculated from the old rough B1950 coordinates to the J2000 equinox coordinates with allowance for precession.

Variability_Type
The type of variability according to the GCVS variability classification scheme. The system of variable star classification corresponds to the GCVS, 4th edition, with six additional classes (ZZO, AM, R, BE, LBV, and BLBOO) that were introduced in the Name-Lists 67 - 72 and in the GCVS vol. V. The full scheme is described in the file: ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/pub/cats/II/250/vartype.txt

Limit_Max_Mag
This is a limit flag for the maximum magnitude, '>' indicating that the latter is a faint limit, '<' that it is a bright limit.

Max_Mag
The apparent magnitude at maximum brightness.

Max_Mag_Flag
This flag is set to ':' if the maximum magnitude is considered uncertain.

Limit_Min_Mag
This is a limit flag for the minimum magnitude, '>' indicating that the latter is a bright limit., and '(' that it is an amplitude rather than an observed magnitude.

Min_Mag
This parameter is either the apparent magnitude at minimum brightness, or, if the value of limit_min_mag is '(', the amplitude of variation.

Min_Mag_Flag
This flag is set to ':' if the minimum magnitude is considered uncertain.

Min_Mag_Altsys
This is a code which is non-blank when the minimum magnitude or amplitude (min_mag) is given in an alternative photometric system to the one for the maximum magnitude (max_mag) which is given by the mag_system parameter. These codes are described in the parameter help for the mag_system parameter. Notice that an asterisk means the amplitude measured in white light.

Mag_System
The photometric system in which the maximum and minimum (unless min_mag_altsys is non-blank) magnitudes are reported. The main codes used are P (photographic magnitudes) and V (visual, photovisual, or Johnson V). See also the description given in the published GCVS, 4th Edition (Kholopov et al. 1985-1988). Several stars from the 68th Name-List have values of '1.' designating the 1.04 micrometer band of the system introduced by G.W. Lockwood. The designations u, v, b, and y refer to the Stroemgren system, the symbols 'I'and 'R' mean magnitudes in Cousins' RI system, 'g' designates magnitudes in the system of Thuan and Gunn, 'T' stands for broad-band Tycho magnitudes formed from B and V measurements, while 'r' indicates red magnitudes that are not tied to a particular system.

Epoch
This is generally the epoch for maximum light, in Julian Days, except for all eclipsing and ellipsoidal variables, as well as for RV Tau and RS CVn types, where it is the epoch for minimum light. This rule may occasionally be broken, but this is explained only in the remarks to the printed version of the catalog, which are not available in machine-readable form at this time. For novae (types N) and supernovae (types SN), the epoch is completed by the a year of the outburst given in the nova_year parameter.

Epoch_Flag
This parameter is a flag qualifying the epoch according to the following codes:

  ':'   epoch is uncertain;
  '+'   epoch may be later than that reported;
  '-'   epoch may be earlier than that reported.
  

Nova_Year
The year of outburst for a nova. The exact date of maximum light is given in JD in the epoch parameter.

Nova_Year_Flag
This parameter is set to ':' to indicate that there is uncertainty in the year of the outburst.

Limit_Period
A code qualifying the period, as follows: '>' or '<' if the period is a lower or upper limit, respectively, or '(' if the period is the mean cycle time of a U Gem or recurrent nova.

Period
The period of the variable star, in days. This is given with a range of precisions up to a possible maximum of 1.E-10 days in the original table.

Period_Note
This is another flag that contains information if the actual period may be either a multiple ('MN') or a fraction 'DN' of the quoted period value.

Rise_Eclipse_Time
This parameter contains either the rise time (M-m) for intrinsic variables, or the duration of the eclipse (D) for eclipsing binaries. These values help to define the shape of the light curve. The value is given as a percentage of the period of the star.

Rise_Eclipse_Time_Flag
This flag is set to ':' if the rise time or eclipse duration given in the rise_eclipse_time parameter is considered uncertain.

Eclipse_Var_Note
This is a note used for eclipsing variables that is set to '0' when the duration of the light constancy phase at minimum light (d) is equal to zero.

Spect_Type
The spectral type of the variable star.

Ref_Star
This is a reference code referring to a major study of the star, as follows: (the codes and their corresponding references can be found in ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/pub/cats/II/250/refs.dat )

  "00001" - if the main characteristics of the star were determined by
              the GCVS authors themselves
  "00002" - "09148" -  Vol.  I  GCVS  (see Kholopov et al., 1985-1988)
  "09149" - "09558" -  Vol. II  GCVS
  "09559" - "10200" -  Vol. III GCVS
  "67001" - "77229" -  Name-Lists Nos.67-77
  
References from Vol. V (extragalactic variables) start with the letter 'V', and references to the suspected variables start with 'N' (first part) or 'S' (supplement). References may also be abbreviations of catalog names (BD, CPD, CoD, GSC, HIP, USNO).

Ref_Chart
This is a reference code referring to a reference containing a chart or photograph of the star field, as follows: (the codes and their corresponding references can be found in the file ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/pub/cats/II/250/refs.dat )

  "00001" - if the main characteristics of the star were determined by
              the GCVS authors themselves
  "00002" - "09148" -  Vol.  I  GCVS  (see Kholopov et al., 1985-1988)
  "09149" - "09558" -  Vol. II  GCVS
  "09559" - "10200" -  Vol. III GCVS
  "67001" - "77229" -  Name-Lists Nos.67-77
  
References from Vol. V (extragalactic variables) start with the letter 'V', and references to the suspected variables start with 'N' (first part) or 'S' (supplement). References may also be abbreviations of catalog names (BD, CPD, CoD, GSC, HIP, USNO), if no chart is available for the variable, but the star is contained in one of the Durchmusterung catalogs, the Hubble Space Telescope Guide Star Catalog (GSC), the Hipparcos (HIP) Catalog, or the USNO Catalog..

Comment_Flag
This parameter is a miscellaneous flag with the following meanings:

  '='   indicates the star is also known under another variable name
  '+'   indicates the star is in other catalogs (e.g. Hipparcos or Name Lists)
  

Alt_Name
An alternative designation for the variable.

Class
The HEASARC Browse object classification, based on the spectral type parameter (spect_type), if there is information in this field, else based on the variability type parameter (variability_type).


Contact Person

Questions regarding the GCVS database table can be addressed to the HEASARC User Hotline.
If you have any problems, please consult the help page or mail ledas-help@star.le.ac.uk
 
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