Saturday, May 28, 2011

What data do we need about stars and star systems

For each star the bottom line numbers we need are Luminosity (preferably visual and bolometric), and mass.  It's also nice to have radius.  It is also useful to have some potential characteristics, like variability or flares.  It's good to preserve the conventional spectral classification in a form that people are used to seeing it in.

Do we need the temperature?  Might be worth keeping.

For groups of stars - binaries and the like - we need the base data required to construct orbital elements in case they become important.  Ideally this will be consistent with at least the well known binary system parameters.  For that I will need a binary or variable star catalog with the appropriate cross-identifications.  And all of this needs to be compactly encoded.
  • Using bit fields, 16 bits will be plenty for the "classic" spectral type including interesting features
  • Real (4 bytes in Derby) will be plenty of precision for floating point numbers.
  • Integer (4 bytes) will be plenty for "object IDs"
I will work up individual star data 1st, then look for other characteristics.

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