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The following is a modified version of the target naming conventions used by the Space Telescope Science Institute for HST proposals. GALEX  will use the procedures outlined below to standardize target names in GALEX  proposals and in the GALEX archive. Prospective proposers and archival researchers will use these names to determine whether GALEX  has observed a particular object. Your adherance to these rules will assist in making the archive more useful for everyone. We thank you in advance for your cooperation. 

The following conventions must be followed in naming targets:

  • A new target name must be defined for each (celestial) target. For example, for several pointings within a galaxy, one might define target names like NGC4486-NUC, NGC4486-JET, NGC4486-POS1, and NGC4486-POS2.
  • The maximum allowable length of a target name is 30 characters.
  • No blanks are permitted in target names. Blanks between a letter and a numeral must be suppressed (e.g., HD140283, NGC4378), but a hyphen (and not an underscore) must replace blanks between two letters or two numerals (e.g., ALPHA-CEN, NGC224-0040+4058), and should also be used where required for clarity (e.g., NGC4486-POS1).
  • Only letters, numerals, hyphens, period (.), and + or - are allowed in target names; other punctuation is not permitted (e.g., BARNARDS-STAR is valid, but BARNARD'S-STAR is not). Greek letters must be spelled out (e.g., ALPHA-ORI). Letters may be upper-case or lower-case, but will always be treated as if they are upper case (e.g. Alpha-Cen will be treated as if written ALPHA-CEN).
  • Degree signs must be represented by an upper-case "D" (e.g., CD-42¡14462 becomes CD-42D14462).

Only one formal designation should be provided for each target. This should be a "catalog name" (for example, HD124897), with the preferred catalog designations being given below. The "catalog name" is entered in the FUSE forms for the \objectname{} keyword in Phase 1, and the object_name keyword in Phase 2. "Common names" (e.g., ALPHA-BOO, ARCTURUS) can be included in proposal forms as buried comments, but will not be processed or used by the FUSE proposal or archive system.

Catalog Name

The preferred order for catalogs to be used for the designation of various classes of objects is provided below. It is arranged in order of decreasing priority.

If a target is not contained in these catalogs, other catalog designations may be used (e.g., 4U X-ray catalog designation, Villanova white-dwarf catalog number, etc.). The use of positional catalogs (SAO, Boss, GC, AGK3, FK4, etc.) is discouraged.

For uncatalogued targets, see "Uncatalogued Targets."

(a) Stars

1. Henry Draper Catalog number (e.g., HD140283). HDE numbers are discouraged, except in the Magellanic Clouds.

2. Durchmusterung number (BD, CD, or CPD). In the southern hemisphere, adopt the convention of using CD north of -52 degrees and CPD south of there (e.g., BD+30D3639, CD-42D14462, CPD-65D7691).

3. General Catalog of Variable Stars designation, if one exists (e.g., RR-LYR, SS-CYG).


5. IRC


(b) Star Clusters and Nebulae

1. New General Catalog (NGC) number (e.g., NGC6397, NGC7027).

2. Index Catalog (IC) number (e.g., IC418).

3. For planetary nebulae for which you do not have an NGC or IC designation, the Perek-Kohoutek designation (e.g., PK208+33D1) may be used.

4. For H II regions for which you do not have an NGC or IC designation, the Sharpless catalog number (e.g., S106) may be used.

5. For IR nebulae, AFGL.

(c) Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies

1. NGC number (e.g., NGC4536).


3. IC number (e.g., IC724).

4. Uppsala Catalog number (e.g., UGC11810).

5. For clusters of galaxies, the Abell catalog number (e.g., ABELL2029).

(d) Quasars and Active Galaxies

1. The name defined in compilation by Veron-Cetty and Veron (ESO Report No. 7, 1989) must be used (e.g., 3C273).

Uncatalogued Targets

Objects that have not been cataloged or named must be assigned one of the following designations:

1. Isolated objects must be designated by a code name (the allowed codes are STAR, NEB, GAL, STAR-CLUS, GAL-CLUS, QSO, SKY, FIELD, and OBJ), followed by a hyphen and the object's J2000 equatorial coordinates, if possible, rounded to seconds of time and seconds of arc (e.g., for a star at J2000 coordinates RA = 1H 34M 28S, DEC = -15D 31' 38", the designation would be STAR-013428-153138).

2. Uncataloged objects within star clusters, nebulae, or galaxies must be designated by the name of the parent body followed by a hyphen and the rounded J2000 coordinates, if possible, of the object (e.g., for a target within NGC 224 with J2000 coordinates RA = 0H 40M 12S, DEC = +40D 58' 48", the designation would be NGC224-004012+405848).

3. Positions within nebulae or galaxies may also be designated by the name of the parent object followed by a hyphen and a qualifier. The qualifier should be brief, but informative (e.g., the jet in NGC 4486 could be designated NGC4486-JET). Other examples are: NGC5139-ROA24, LMC-R136A, ABELL30-CENTRAL-STAR, NGC205-NUC.

Solar System Targets

As with other targets, Solar System target names within a proposal must be unique. GALEX does not have the resolution or pointing capability of HST, so the possibilities for Solar System observations are not as complex. In any case, the use of standardized names is encouraged.

The common name of the object, together with appropriate qualifiers or identifiers appended, should be sufficient for the purpose of specifying GALEX targets in Phase 1. As with other targets, no blanks are permitted in Solar System target names. A hyphen should replace blanks that would normally be used to separate fields (e.g., IO-TORUS, COMET-HYAKUTAKE-1996B2, JUPITER-NPOLE, etc.). As with other targets, a 30 character limit is imposed, and no punctuation other than hyphens and + or - are permitted.

Target names should be constructed so that they represent good mnemonics for the observing program. For example, if the program consisted of three separate observations of Mars to search for longitudinal variability, then three appropriate target names might be: MARS-LONG1, MARS-LONG2, and MARS-LONG3.

Questions or comments? Contact the GALEX GI Helpdesk.


Responsible NASA Official: Susan G. Neff
J.D. Myers

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