PKSCAT90 - The Southern RadioSource Database


The PKSCAT90 radio source database consists of radio and optical data for 8264 relatively strong radio sources. It covers essentially all the sky south of declination +27 degrees but largely excludes the Galactic Plane and the Magellanic Cloud regions. The latter zones have been the subject of other, specialist surveys. The principal database may be downloaded from the Australia Telescope National Facility's anonymous FTP server. Please read the READ.ME file for information about the database format.


The original Parkes radio catalogue was compiled from major radio surveys with the Parkes radiotelescope at frequencies of 408 MHz and 2700 MHz This work spanned a period of nearly 20 years and was undertaken largely by John Bolton and his colleagues. Since then, improved positions, optical identifications and redshifts have been obtained for many of the sources in the Catalogue. Furthermore, flux densities at several frequencies have supplemented the original surveys so that the measurements now cover the frequency range 80 - 22,000 MHz. However coverage at the highest frequencies is still sparse. Important contributions to the usefulness of the catalogue have been radio data from the Molonglo 408 MHz survey and the 80 MHz Culgoora measurements of Slee et al. PKSCAT90 should thus be regarded as a compendium of radio and optical data about southern radiosources. However, at the moment, it contains only sources originally found in the Parkes 2700 MHz Survey (see e.g. Part 14, Bolton et al, 1979, Aust J Phys, Astrophys Suppl, No. 46 and references therein) The original radio survey data of the Catalogue and the optical identifications have been published in a series of papers in the Australian Journal of Physics (see above reference). The associated optical spectral data on which redshifts were obtained has also been published, mainly in Astrophysical Journal and Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

About PKSCAT90

The PKSCAT90 database is made available freely for astronomical research and educational purposes. However it may not be used for commercial purposes without the express permission of the Australia Telescope national Facility. We also request that all users acknowledge their use of the catalogue data in publications as:
Parkes Catalogue, 1990, Australia Telescope National Facility, Wright & Otrupcek, (Eds)

The New Version Of The Catalogue

This catalogue differs in several important ways from the older (VAX/VMS only) version (which we shall refer to as "PKSCAT85") in that:
  1. It has a different and more compact structure than PKSCAT85 and thus takes up less disc space.
  2. It contains J2000 (FK5) positions and names. This is the IAU-preferred system. Generally the B1950 data is for convenience only and is given to a limited precision of 1 arcsec.
  3. Improved positions for many sources have been included. Following the J2000 position is an explicit upper limit to the positional accuracy in arcsecs.
  4. The new catalogue contains 8400MHz fluxes from recent Parkes measurements of around 1100 of the stronger sources.
  5. References to identifications and redshifts are available for some sources in the catalogue. The codes placed after the J2000 position can be used to refer to sources in a table at the end of this information.

About Names

In the past, Parkes source names have been given in a format similar to: 1934-638 Unfortunately this is inconsistent with the IAU recommendations as to nomenclature (see e.g. Dickel et al, 1987, A & A Suppl. 68, 75-80) since: (i) it doesn't specify the Equinox and Equator (e.g. B1950 or J2000) of the position from which the name is derived and (ii) decimal fractions of degrees are not permitted in the "declination-part" of the name However, because they are so widely used, we have kept the existing nomenclature for all "1950-type" names, but include a B in front of them. The J2000 names are given as: J1229+0203 where the letter signifies J2000 equinox and equator (FK5-type position), the next 4 digits are the hours and minutes of right ascension and the sign and final digits are the degrees and minutes of declination. Thus, the source 3C273 in the new system will be referred to as: PKSB1226+023 or PKSJ1229+0203 if the observatory designation is important or, more informally, B1226+023 or J1229+0203 The latter style of naming has been adopted for the catalogue software.

For the Future

In the future, the catalogue will be expanded to include extra information from: new radio surveys, new identifications, many more references, improved positions and variability of fluxes. Furthermore we propose to extend the coverage of the Catalogue northward of +27 degrees declination using data from the northern surveys so as eventually to produce an all-sky, "Master" radio catalogue. Most importantly, we would very much like to receive references to pre-print and published information which supersedes or augments data in the present catalogue. Please assist by sending such material to: Alan Wright PKSCAT Project ATNF, Parkes P.O. Box 276 PARKES NSW 2870 Australia For further information, please read the READ.ME file which can be found in the Australia Telescope National Facility's anonymous FTP server data area.