Look Up

I often find myself needing to get coordinates for various astronomical objects by name. There are several services out there to do this sort of thing already but all have different interfaces and cover specific types of astronomical objects. For instance NED covers extra-galactic objects and Simbad is mostly objects within the galaxy but doesn't include the solar system, recent supernovae or recent exoplanets. All I wanted was one place to go to look up anything.

I played about with this before but previously my emphasis was in generating the AVM microformat. Recently I decided to put the emphasis on simply returning the information and providing links to useful resources. I also fixed a bug in the software that talked to NED so that now works properly. After eliciting some ideas for a new name on Twitter, I finally settled on lookUP (suggested by timtfj) as it seemed quite appropriate. In terms of the interface, the main page has been reduced down to a large input box with a few examples underneath. The output provides the coordinates of the objects, the object type, and links to the object on Wikisky/Google Sky/Flickr. The only thing it still doesn't cover is comets because I can't find a nice service for those and don't really want to have to make my own.

If you find lookUP useful, please do let me know.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Thursday 05th Mar 2009 (18:26 GMT) | Permalink
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