The Guide Star Catalog II (GSC-II) is an all-sky database of objects derived from the uncompressed Digitized Sky Surveys that the Space Telescope Science Institute has created from the Palomar and UK Schmidt survey plates and made available to the community. Like its predecessor (GSC-I), the GSC-II was primarily created to provide guide star information and observation planning support for Hubble Space Telescope. This version, however, is already employed at some of the ground-based new-technology telescopes such as GEMINI, VLT, and TNG, and will also be used to provide support for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and GAIA space missions as well as the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope, one of the major ongoing scientific projects in China. Two catalogs have already been extracted from the GSC-II database and released to the astronomical community. A magnitude-limited (RF = 18.0) version, GSC2.2, was distributed soon after its production in 2001, while the GSC2.3 release has been available for general access since 2007. The GSC2.3 catalog described in this paper contains astrometry, photometry, and classification for 945,592,683 objects down to the magnitude limit of the plates. Positions are tied to the International Celestial Reference System; for stellar sources, the all-sky average absolute error per coordinate ranges from 0farcs2 to 0farcs28 depending on magnitude. When dealing with extended objects, astrometric errors are 20% worse in the case of galaxies and approximately a factor of 2 worse for blended images. Stellar photometry is determined to 0.13-0.22 mag as a function of magnitude and photographic passbands (RF , BJ , IN ). Outside of the galactic plane, stellar classification is reliable to at least 90% confidence for magnitudes brighter than RF = 19.5, and the catalog is complete to RF = 20.
The Astronomical Journal
- Pub Date:
- August 2008
- astronomical data bases: miscellaneous;
- techniques: image processing;
- techniques: photometric;
- 52 pages, 33 figures, to be published in AJ August 2008