Since Version 10, AstronomicalData has been superseded by PlanetData, StarData, etc.


gives the value of the specified property of the astronomical object with the specified name.


gives the value of a property at a particular date and time.


  • AstronomicalData includes data on planets, moons, stars, and galaxies, as well as other astronomical objects.
  • Astronomical objects can be specified by their standard names, such as "Jupiter", "Sun", "Sirius", or by catalog designations such as "M42" and "NGC1704".
  • AstronomicalData["tag"] gives the standardized name for the astronomical object specified by "tag".
  • AstronomicalData[] gives a list of all available objects.
  • AstronomicalData["Classes"] gives a list of available classes of objects.
  • AstronomicalData["Properties"] gives a list of all properties available for any class of object.
  • AstronomicalData[n,] gives properties of the n^(th) planet in the solar system.
  • AstronomicalData["class"] gives a list of objects in the specified class.
  • Major classes of solar system objects include:
  • "Comet"comet
    "MinorPlanet"minor planet (asteroid etc.)
    "Planet"solar system planet
    "PlanetaryMoon"natural planetary satellite
  • Major classes for stars include:
  • "NakedEyeStar"stars with apparent magnitude below 6.5
    "Star"all available stars
    "StarBrightest10"star that is among the 10 visually brightest from Earth
    "StarBrightest100"star that is among the 100 visually brightest from Earth
    "StarNearest10"star that is among the 10 nearest to Earth
    "StarNearest100"star that is among the 100 nearest to Earth
  • Additional classes for stars include: "MainSequenceStar", "ClassOStar", "ClassAStar", etc., "WhiteDwarf", "Subdwarf", "NormalGiant", "BrightGiant", "Supergiant", "WolfRayetStar".
  • Classes based on catalogs include: "BayerObject", "FlamsteedObject", "GlieseObject", "HDObject", "HipparcosObject", "HRObject", "SAOObject".
  • Possible classes for deep-sky objects include:
  • "BrightHIIRegion"bright HII region
    "DeepSkyObject"deep-sky object
    "GlobularCluster"globular star cluster
    "OpenCluster"open star cluster
    "PlanetaryNebula"planetary nebula
  • Additional classes for galaxies include: "SpiralGalaxy", "EllipticalGalaxy", "BarredSpiralGalaxy", "IrregularGalaxy".
  • Classes based on catalogs include: "MessierObject", "ICObject", "NGCObject".
  • For "MilkyWay", positional properties refer to the center of the galaxy.
  • AstronomicalData[name,"class"] gives True or False depending on whether the object corresponding to name is in the specified class.
  • AstronomicalData[name,"Classes"] gives a list of the classes in which the object corresponding to name appears.
  • AstronomicalData[name,"ObjectType"] gives the basic type of object corresponding to name, including "Planet", "PlanetaryMoon", "Star", "Galaxy".
  • Absolute location and coordinate properties supported for all objects include:
  • "Declination"current declination in degrees
    "Distance"current distance from Earth in meters
    "DistanceLightYears"current distance from Earth in light years
    "Position" position in heliocentric coordinates in meters
    "PositionLightYears" position in heliocentric coordinates in light years
    "RightAscension"current right ascension in hours
  • All quantities are specified in SI units, except as noted otherwise.
  • Some properties are available only for solar system objects.
  • Positions are given in FK5 heliocentric coordinates in the equinox of the date used.
  • For time-varying properties, the precision of results decreases away from the current time.
  • AstronomicalData["name",{"prop",date}] gives properties for a particular date and time in the current default time zone. The date can be specified in any format supported by DateList.
  • The option TimeZone->z specifies the time zone to assume for both input and output.
  • The default setting for TimeZone is $TimeZone.
  • The following properties give position information for objects in the sky at a particular location on the Earth:
  • "Altitude"altitude in the sky in degrees
    "Azimuth"azimuth in the sky in degrees
    "LastRiseTime"last time when the object rose
    "LastSetTime"last time when the object set
    "NextRiseTime"next time when the object will rise
    "NextSetTime"next time when the object will set
  • The default location on Earth to assume is given by the value of $GeoLocation.
  • Corrections for atmospheric refraction and light time delay are not included.
  • AstronomicalData["name",{"prop",date,{lat,long}}] specifies a location with particular latitude and longitude, given in degrees, with eastern longitudes positive.
  • Intrinsic mechanical properties include:
  • "Density"average density in
    "Diameter"maximum diameter in meters
    "EquatorialDiameter"equatorial diameter in meters
    "EquatorialRadius"equatorial radius in meters
    "EscapeVelocity"escape velocity in meters per second
    "Gravity"equatorial acceleration due to gravity in
    "Mass"mass in kilograms
    "PolarDiameter"polar diameter in meters
    "PolarRadius"polar radius in meters
    "Radius"maximum radius in meters
  • Shape and rotational properties include:
  • "RotationPeriod"intrinsic rotation period in seconds
    "Oblateness"relative difference between equatorial and polar radius
    "Obliquity"tilt of rotation axis with respect to orbital plane in degrees
  • Optical and other electromagnetic properties include:
  • "AbsoluteMagnitudeH"absolute visual magnitude for solar system bodies
    "AbsoluteMagnitude"absolute visual magnitude for extrasolar objects
    "Albedo"ratio of returned to incident intensity
    "ApparentMagnitude"apparent magnitude as viewed from Earth
  • Positional and orbital properties for solar system objects include:
  • "Apoapsis"furthest distance from orbital center in meters
    "AscendingNodeLongitude"longitude angle of the ascending orbit node in degrees
    "Eccentricity"orbital eccentricity
    "Inclination"inclination with respect to the ecliptic, in degrees
    "MeanMotion"average angular frequency of the object in its orbit in degrees per day
    "OrbitCenter"object around which the object orbits
    "OrbitPath"graphics primitives representing a typical orbit
    "OrbitPeriod"time in seconds for a complete orbit
    "OrbitPeriodYears"time in years for a complete orbit
    "OrbitRules"list of rules giving orbital elements
    "Periapsis"closest approach to orbital center in meters
    "PeriapsisArgument"angle in degrees from ascending node to pericenter
    "PeriapsisLongitude"longitude angle of periapsis for zero inclination
    "Satellites"known natural satellites of the object
    "SemimajorAxis"orbital semimajor axis length in meters
    "Speed"speed relative to the Sun in meters/second
  • Minor planets in addition support the following properties:
  • "EarthMOID"minimum orbital insertion distance from Earth
    "IAUName"official IAU name
    "IAUNumber"official IAU number
    "PerihelionTime"time of perihelion passage
    "ProvisionalDesignation"provisional designation
    "SMASSSpectralType"spectral type according to the SMASS survey
    "TholenSpectralType"spectral type according to the Tholen system
  • Comets in addition support the following properties:
  • "EarthMOID"minimum orbital insertion distance from Earth
    "IAUName"official IAU name
    "PerihelionTime"time of perihelion passage
    "PrimaryDesignation"primary designation
  • Orbital elements are intended as averages for the current epoch, but may be based only on particular observations.
  • Properties of relevance to stars include:
  • "BVColorIndex"BV color index
    "Constellation"official constellation in which the star is found
    "ConstellationName"English name of the constellation for the star
    "Diameter"estimated stellar diameter
    "EffectiveTemperature"effective stellar surface temperature
    "Luminosity"luminosity of the star in watts
    "Mass"estimated stellar mass in kilograms
    "Parallax"parallax in seconds of arc
    "Radius"estimated stellar radius
    "SpectralClass"spectral class as a string ("G2V", "O", "M2Ib", ...)
    "SpectralClassList"spectral class list ( {"G", 2, 5})
  • Properties of relevance to deep-sky objects include:
  • "BlueBandMagnitude"brightness in the band
    "Constellation"official constellation in which the object is found
    "ConstellationName"English name of the constellation for the object
    "GalaxyType"basic galaxy type ("Spiral", "Irregular", ...)
    "GlobularClusterType"ShapleySawyer class for globular clusters
    "HubbleType"Hubble classification ("E0", "Sb", ...)
    "RadialVelocity"radial velocity in
    "SurfaceBrightness"surface brightness in magnitudes per square arcsecond
    "VisualBandMagnitude"brightness in the band
  • Name and type properties include:
  • "AlphanumericName"name in alphanumeric form
    "AlternateNames"alternate English names, as strings
    "AlternateStandardNames"alternate standard Wolfram Language names
    "Name"common name (including Greek letters if necessary)
    "ObjectType""Star", "Planet", etc.
    "StandardName"Wolfram Language standard name
  • Catalog identifier properties include:
  • "BayerName"Bayer star designation
    "BayerStandardName"standardized Bayer star designation
    "DurchmusterungName"Durchmusterung survey designation
    "DurchmusterungStandardName"standardized Durchmusterung survey designation
    "FlamsteedName"Flamsteed catalog designation
    "FlamsteedStandardName"standardized Flamsteed catalog designation
    "GlieseName"Gliese catalog designation
    "GlieseStandardName"standardized Gliese catalog designation
    "HDName"Henry Draper Memorial catalog name
    "HDNumber"Henry Draper Memorial catalog number
    "HipparcosName"Hipparcos catalog name
    "HipparcosNumber"Hipparcos catalog number
    "HRName"Harvard Revised catalog name
    "HRNumber"Harvard Revised catalog number
    "ICNumber"IC catalog number
    "NGCNumber"NGC catalog number
    "PGCNumber"Principal Galaxy Catalog number
    "SAOName"Smithsonian catalog name
    "SAONumber"Smithsonian catalog number
  • Additional properties include:
  • "Image"picture of the astronomical object
    "DiscoveryYear"year in which the object was discovered
  • AstronomicalData["name","property","ann"] gives various annotations associated with a property. Typical annotations include:
  • "Description"short textual description of the property
    "Epoch"epoch of orbital elements given in {year, month, day} format
    "LongDescription"longer textual description of the property
    "Note"additional information about the property
    "Units"units in which the value is given
    "UnitsName"English name for the units used
    "UnitsNotation"notation for the units used
    "UnitsStandardName"Wolfram System standard name for the units used
    "Value"property value (default if no annotation is specified)


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Basic Examples  (8)

A list of solar system planets:

Make a graphic of solar system orbit paths:

The known satellites of Neptune:

The escape velocity of Neptune:

The 10 nearest stars:

Distances in light years:

Spectral class information:

The first 15 Messier objects, in order of decreasing brightness:

Distance to the Andromeda galaxy in light years:

Find astronomical objects whose names begin with Alb:

Find the types of these objects:

Find the last rise time for the Sun from your current location and time:

Find the next rise time for the Sun from your current location and time:

Find the next rise time for the Sun from date and location:

Scope  (34)

Planetary Astronomy  (15)

The solar system planets:

Orbital eccentricity for each planet:

Orbital periods in sidereal years:

Rules for the orbital elements of Earth:

Obliquity of each planet:

Albedo of each planet:

An image of Jupiter:

The known satellites of Pluto:

Diameter of each satellite in meters:

Orbit semimajor axis in meters:

Number of known satellites for each planet:

The named constellations the Sun passes through over a year, including Ophiuchus:

Compute the ecliptic path for a planet over the course of a year:

The paths for the visible planets:

The distance from Earth to the visible planets over a year:

The apparent magnitude of the visible planets as viewed from Earth over a year:

Compute and plot the analemma of the Sun:

Compute positions for Venus in the morning sky for 2009:

Stellar Astronomy  (12)

The 15 brightest stars as seen from Earth:

The constellations for the 10 brightest stars:

Distance from Earth to Sirius in light years:

Distance in meters:

Position of Sirius:

Spectral class for the Sun:

Spectral class information in list form:

Alternate names for Sirius:

Henry Draper Memorial catalog number for Sirius:

Give the individual stars that form Alpha Centauri:

Give the name of Tau Ceti, including Greek letters:

The same thing without special characters:

Brightest 10 supergiants as seen from Earth:

Number of available supergiants:

Brightest 10 class O stars:

Brightest 10 WolfRayet stars:

Deep Sky & Galactic Astronomy  (7)

Brightest 10 Messier objects:

Object types:

The brightest 10 planetary nebulas:


Brightest 10 galaxies:

Distances in light years:

Galaxy types of the brightest 10 galaxies:

Hubble types:

Surface brightness for the 10 brightest galaxies:

Alternate names for NGC 292:

Alternate names in Wolfram Language form:

Principal Galaxy Catalog number for NGC 292:

Applications  (15)

Planetary Astronomy  (5)

Make a table of densities of planets:

Log-log plot of orbital period versus distance for the planets, illustrating Kepler's third law:

The corresponding plot for all known planetary moons, with a line for each planet:

Find the total number of known planetary moons in the solar system:

Make a log rank plot of the masses of the moons, with names as tooltips:

Compute the number of minor planets at different distances from the Sun:

The Kirkwood gaps are the result of orbital resonances with Jupiter:

Plotting semimajor axis versus inclination reveals several distinct groups of minor planets:

Stellar Astronomy  (7)

Plot the RA and declination of the 100 brightest stars, with tooltips for their names:

The corresponding picture for the 100 nearest stars:

Rank plot of absolute magnitudes of the nearest 100 stars:

Rank plot of absolute magnitudes of the brightest 100 stars:

Distribution of basic spectral classes for the 100 brightest stars:

Distribution for the 100 nearest stars:

Rank plot of the distances to the nearest 100 stars:

Differences between successive distances:

Find the constellations with the largest number of stars in AstronomicalData:

Find the number of overlaps of different star catalogs:

Get the correct color and simulate lighting for a star:

The color of stars is an indication of their temperature:

Deep Sky & Galactic Astronomy  (3)

Rank plot of the distances to the brightest 200 galaxies:

Find how many objects are listed in both the NGC and Messier catalogs:

The Local Group of galaxies includes the Milky Way, M31, and their satellite galaxies:

Possible Issues  (4)

Pluto is not included in the list of solar system planets:

It is now considered a "dwarf planet":

Some information is unknown, for a variety of different reasons:

AstronomicalData combines star catalogs that select stars in different ways:

The precision of some time-varying properties decays with time:

Neat Examples  (1)

Plot diameter against discovery year for the known moons of Saturn:

Wolfram Research (2007), AstronomicalData, Wolfram Language function, (updated 2014).


Wolfram Research (2007), AstronomicalData, Wolfram Language function, (updated 2014).


Wolfram Language. 2007. "AstronomicalData." Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center. Wolfram Research. Last Modified 2014.


Wolfram Language. (2007). AstronomicalData. Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center. Retrieved from


@misc{reference.wolfram_2024_astronomicaldata, author="Wolfram Research", title="{AstronomicalData}", year="2014", howpublished="\url{}", note=[Accessed: 27-May-2024 ]}


@online{reference.wolfram_2024_astronomicaldata, organization={Wolfram Research}, title={AstronomicalData}, year={2014}, url={}, note=[Accessed: 27-May-2024 ]}