Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Astronomical objects/Archive1

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"The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one can not live in a cradle forever" ~ Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

The purpose of this wiki-project is to create, improve and standardize articles for astronomical objects, which includes notable objects that exist outside of the Earth. The templates to list basic information, along with guideline reccomendations, are given below.

Overall footer

Useful Templates

When filling in scientific data, you may find the following templates useful:

  • {{±|pos|neg}} which produces: +pos
    used thus: 500 +35
    . (Avoid using it in a link, though: it looks bad)
  • {{e|n}} which produces: ×10n used thus: 5.97{{e|24}} kg, which gives 5.97×1024 kg.

Articles listed for deletion

Planets and moons

Body name
[image of object]
Discovered by ___name___
Discovered on ___date___
Orbital characteristics (Epoch J2000)
Semi-major axis km
Ortbital circumference Tm (AU)
Eccentricity number
Perihelion km (AU)
Aphelion km (AU)
Orbital period d (other units, such as Julian years)
Synodic period d (a)
(w/respect to Earth)
Avg. orbital speed km/s
Max. orbital speed km/s
Min. orbital speed km/s
Inclination (to Ecliptic) °
(° to Sun's equator)
Longitude of the
ascending node
decimal ° (° ' ")
Argument of the
decimal ° (° ' ")
Satellites number
Satellite of planet (only for Moons)
Physical characteristics
Mean diameter km (axis × axis × axis for ellipsoids)
Equatorial diameter km (Earth units)
Polar diameter km (Earth units)
Oblateness number
Surface area km2 (Earth units)
Volume km3 (Earth units)
Mass kg (Earth units)
Mean density g/cm3
Surface gravity m/s2 (gees)
Escape velocity km/s
Rotation period d (h)
Rotation velocity km/h (m/s) (at the equator)
Obliquity °
Right ascension
of North pole
° (h min s)
Declination °
Albedo number
Surface temperature
min mean max
nnn K nnn K nnn K
Atmospheric characteristics
Pressure kPa
most common  %
next-most-common  %
etcetera  %

This page is where work is being done to come up with a generic table template to be used for organizing a list of facts about various astronomical bodies such as planets, natural satellites, and maybe also smaller bodies such as asteroids and comets (though I suspect that both asteroids and comets will be better served by having their own template design).

Most of these entries should be measured in SI units. Some of them, however, should have more "human-accessible" units, in addition to SI units. I've indicated some cases with a second unit name in brackets. In the case of times (orbital periods, rotation), I think it best to give all periods in days for comparison purposes, and provide a translation (in parentheses) into years, days, hours, etc.; whatever is most appropriate for the duration being described.

Oh, and compared to table templates for things like the elements, I think that this template should be considered somewhat more flexible. Moons with no atmosphere whatsoever could skip the atmospheric composition section entirely, for example (though atmospheric density would still be listed). Moons also wouldn't have their orbital radii listed in AU, since AUs are such large units. For planets, use "perihelion" and "aphelion" instead of "periapsis" and "apoapsis."

In the case of "number of moons" and "is a moon of", only one of these rows will be used by any given object. There aren't any moons with moons (yet), though perhaps "co-orbital with" might be a useful row to add in a few cases.

A set of colours for use in the 2-column headers of this table:

rocky terrestrial body Transition metal color from the periodic table; rocky planets have lots of metals compared to the icy ones. Also, red is a "warmer" color than green, which fits the distribution of rocky and icy planets in the solar system.
icy terrestrial body green contrasts nicely with the pink of rocky planets. Also, on the periodic table, it's the color of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and other common components of outer-solar-system ice.
gas giant body blue skies, and noble gases on the periodic table (including helium, which is only found in large quantities on gas giants. It escapes from smaller planets). Also, two out of four gas giants prefer the cool soothing color of blue.

On orbital characteristics: The orbital circumference should be computed from the semi-major axis using Ramanujan's approximation for ellipses. The ratio of that circumference to the period then gives the average orbital speed. The minimum and maximum speeds follow from Kepler's laws: and . Note that, by convention, all orbital parameters are given in the primocentric reference system (heliocentric for the planets).

On physical characteristics: The surface area and volume of non-spherical objects (e.g. moonlets, asteroids) must use the proper ellipsoid formulae, because even slight departures from sphericity will make a large difference, particularly for the area.

On the subject of obliquity: Obliquity is the angle between the object's axis of rotation and the normal to the plane of its orbit. Do not confuse this with the Tilt listed in the JPL pages, which is a measure of the angle between the local Laplace plane and the primary's equatorial plane. In fact, most inner moons have synchronous rotations, so their obliquities will be, by definition, zero. Outer moons simply have not been seen from close up enough to determine their true obliquities (although Phoebe, recently seen by the Cassini probe, is an exception; see Talk:Phoebe (moon) for the derivation of its obliquity).

Conversion log

Still to be done:


Planet Template


Template: {{Planet}}

The above fields need incorporating into this template.


Useful sources

Minor planets (asteroids, comets, Kuiperoids, etc)

{{minor planet}} {{Minor Planet}}
{{minor planet|
| name = 14 Irene
| e = 0.168
| i = 9.106
| q = 2.150 AU
| omega = 96.473
| a = 2.585 
| asc_node=86.493
| Q = 3.020 
| M = 326.489
| P= 4.16 
| n = ?
| TP =?
{{ Minor Planet |
| name=14 Irene
| discoverer=[[John Russell Hind]]
| discovery_date=[[May 19]], [[1851]]
| designations=A906 QC;<br/>A913 EA;<br/>1952 TM
| category=[[Main belt]]
| epoch=[[July 14]], [[2004]] ([[Julian day|JD]] 2453200.5)
| semimajor=386.730 [[1 E9 m|Gm]] (2.585 [[Astronomical unit|AU]])
| perihelion=321.602 Gm (2.150 AU)
| aphelion=451.858 Gm (3.020 AU)
| eccentricity=0.168
| period=1518.176 [[day|d]] (4.16 [[Julian year (astronomy)|a]])
| inclination=9.106°
| arg_peri=96.473°
| asc_node=86.493°
| mean_anomaly=326.489°
| speed=18.52 km/s
| dimensions=181.8 km <sup>[]</sup>
| mass=6.3×10<sup>18</sup> kg
| density=2 ? g/cm³
| gravity=0.051 m/s²
| escape_velocity=0.096 km/s
| rotation=0.6275 d <sup>[]</sup>
| spectral_class=[[S-type asteroid]] <sup>[]
| abs_mag=6.30
| albedo=0.160 <sup>[]</sup>
| temperature=~234 [[kelvin|K]] }}

The example on the far right is the recommended table format for minor planets —note the recommended unit links. It is generated by the {{Minor Planet}} template. The template has an optional astron argument whose default value is helion; this allows its use to describe asteroid moons, as in the S/2000 (1998 WW31) 1 example.

Urhixidur wrote a nifty Windows tool that can greatly facilitate preparation of these. The most recent version can be downloaded from (at the bottom of the page, under the heading "Delphi 7 and Wikipedia").

A more compact form of this with just the orbital elements is on the near right {{Minor planet}} (note the lower case 'p'). The two are incompatible at the moment, something which Nicholas intends to fix one day.

A few short-hand templates are useful when dealing with asteroids with provisional designations. They are Template:mp, Template:mpl, and Template:mpl-. Mpl ("minor planet link") is used to write a link, like so {{mpl|(15874) 1996 TL|66}} = (15874) 1996 TL66, whilst mp ("minor planet") saves you from typing <sub></sub> if you'd rather not: {{mp|(15874) 1996 TL|66}} = (15874) 1996 TL66. Mpl- is used with numbered asteroids that have kept (so far) their provisional designations: {{mpl-|15760|1992 QB|1}} = 1992 QB1 instead of (15760) 1992 QB1.


Particularly useful are {{MinorPlanets Navigator}} and {{MinorPlanets Footer}}. Scroll down beyond the table to the right to see examples of these.


9P/Tempel; Tempel 1
(List of comets)
Nucleus imaged by the Deep Impact impactor
Discoverer Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel
Discovery date April 3, 1867
9P/1867 G1; 1867 II;
9P/1873 G1; 1873 I; 1873a
1879 III; 1879b
9P/1967 L1; 1966 VII
9P/1972 A1; 1972 V; 1972a
1978 II; 1977i
1983 XI; 1982j
1989 I; 1987e1
1994 XIX; 1993c
Orbital elements A
Epoch March 6, 2006
Eccentricity (e) 0.5175
Semi-major axis (a) 3.122 AU
Perihelion (q) 1.506 AU
Aphelion (Q) 4.737 AU
Orbital period (P) 5.515 a
Inclination (i) 10.5301°
Last perihelion date July 5, 2005
Next est. perihelion date 2011

As discussed above, comets might be served better by a different template. Here is a suggestion for {{Comet}} we can toy with until we are happy with it. Awolf002 00:23, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Numbered comets
9P/Tempel Next


Starbox tree

{{subst:Starbox begin | name = Alpha Centauri }}


| colspan="2" style="text-align:center;" |

Position Alpha Cen.png
The position of Alpha Centauri.

|- ! style="background-color: #FFFFC0;" colspan="2" | Observation data
Epoch J2000 |- | Constellation | Centaurus |- | Right ascension | 14h 39m 36.2s |- | Declination | -60° 50′ 8.2″ |- | Apparent magnitude (V) | 0.01

|- ! style="background-color: #FFFFC0;" colspan="2" | Spectral Characteristics |- style="vertical-align: top;" | Spectral type | G2 V |- style="vertical-align: top;" | U-B color index | 0.24 |- style="vertical-align: top;" | B-V color index | 0.65 |- style="vertical-align: top;" | Variable type | N/A


! style="background-color: #FFFFC0;" colspan="2" | Astrometry

|- ! style="background-color: #FFFFC0;" colspan="2" | Physical Characteristics |- |style="vertical-align: baseline;" | Mass | 1.10/0.91 M |- |style="vertical-align: baseline;" | Radius | 1.23/0.87 R |- |style="vertical-align: baseline;" | Luminosity | 1.57/0.51 L |- |style="vertical-align: baseline;" | Temperature | 5,800/5,300 K |- |style="vertical-align: baseline;" | Metallicity | 130-230% Sun |- |style="vertical-align: baseline;" | Rotation | ? |- |style="vertical-align: baseline;" | Age | 5-6 × 109 years

|- ! style="background-color: #FFFFC0;" colspan="2" | Visual binary orbit |- style="vertical-align: top;" | Companion | Alpha Centauri B |- style="vertical-align: top;" | Period (P) | 79.92 years |- style="vertical-align: top;" | Semimajor axis (a) | 17.515" |- style="vertical-align: top;" | Eccentricity (e) | 0.516 |- style="vertical-align: top;" | Inclination (i) | 79.24° |- style="vertical-align: top;" | Node (Ω) | 204.87° (ascending)° |- style="vertical-align: top;" | Periastron epoch (T) | 1955.56

|- ! style="background-color: #FFFFC0;" colspan="2" | Other designations |-

| colspan="2" |

α1 Cen, CP -60° 5483 A, Gliese 559A, FK5 538, HD 128620, HIP 71683, HR 5459, LHS 50, SAO 252838, YPC 3309.00

|} This table is composed of the following sub-templates:

References: [1] [2] [3]

Short star template


Radial velocity (Rv) 21.6 km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: -3678.19 mas/yr
Dec.: +481.84 mas/yr
Parallax (π) 747.23 ± 1.17 mas
Distance 4.38 ly (1.33 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV) 4.40
Observation data
Epoch 2000      Equinox 2000
Constellation Centaurus
Right ascension 14h 39m 36.5s
Declination -62° 50' 2.72"
Apparent magnitude (V) 0.01
Distance 4.38 ly
(1.33 pc)
Spectral type G2 V
Other designations
α1 Cen, HD 128620, CP-60°5483 A, HR 5459, HIP 71683

This template is for stubby star articles, and should be replaced with the full template when the article is expanded.


Extrasolar planets



Orbital elements
Semi-major axis (a) 0.0393 (± 0.0007) AU
Eccentricity (e) 0.135 (± 0.096)
Orbital period (P) 3.030065 (± 0.000008) d
Inclination (i) 88.2 (± 1)°
Longitude of
(ω)  ?°
Time of periastron (τ) 2,453,186.8060 (± 0.002) JD
Physical characteristics
Mass 0.61 (± 0.06) MJ
Radius 1.08 RJ
Density  ? kg/
Temperature 1,060 (± 50) K
Discovery date 2004
Detection method(s)
Discoverer(s) Alonso et al.


SN 1987A

1987A supernova remnant near the center

Observation data
(Epoch J2000.0)
Supernova type IIp (unusual)
Remnant type unknown
Host Galaxy Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)
Constellation Dorado
Right ascension 05h 35m 49.942s (1950)
Declination −69° 17′ 57.60″ (1950)
Discovery Date 24 February 1987 (23:00 UTC) [4]
Peak magnitude (V) +3
Physical characteristics
Progenitor Sanduleak −69° 202 a
Progenitor type B3 supergiant
Colour (B-V) +0.085
Notable features The closest recorded sn.
since invention of telescope

Template: {{Supernova }}

This is a table template that should be used for supernovae. It automatically assigns the article to Category:Supernovae.

Star Clusters

NGC 6656
Open cluster List of open clusters
Observation data
(Epoch J2000.0)
Class VII
Right ascension 18h 36m 18s
Declination −23° 53′ 58″
Distance 10.4 kly ()
Apparent magnitude (V) 5.1
Apparent dimensions (V) 32.0″
Physical characteristics
Mass (105 to 106 M)
VHB 14.2
Estimated age
Notable features
Other designations Messier 22

Template: {{Cluster}}

Sample table for M22. Please modify and improve as needed.

The template is for open and globular clusters.


{{subst:Galaxy | name = Spiral Galaxy M109 | image = 350px CCD image of M109 | epoch = J2000.0 | type = SB(s)bc | ra = 11h 57.6m 36.0s | dec = +53° 23' 28" | z = +0.003496 | dist_ly = 41 million ly | appmag_v = +9.8 | size_v = 7.6' × 4.9' | constellation name = Ursa Major | radius_ly = 65,000 ly | absmag_v = 13.4 | notes = Possible Milky Way-twin,
Bar at the center | names = NGC 3992, UGC 6937 }}

Template: {{Galaxy}}

This example table should be edited and used for galaxies.

Notes: Please see List of galaxies to find galaxies that do not yet have infoboxes/factsheets.
Please categorise your galaxy in a subcategory of Category:Galaxies

Galaxy cluster

Stephan's Quintet
Galaxy groups
and clusters
List of galaxy groups
and clusters

Stephan's Quintet, with NGC 7319 (bottom right),
NGC 7320 (top right),NGC 7318A and 7318B (center),
and NGC 7317 (top left)

Observation data
(Epoch )
Constellation(s): Pegasus
Right ascension
Number of galaxies: 5
Brightest member:
Other designations

Template: {{Galaxy cluster}}

This example table should be edited and used for galaxy groups, clusters, clouds, and superclusters.


  • Compact galaxy...: in a small setting (possibly colliding)
  • Loose galaxy...: separated (sometimes in several constellations)


Planetary Nebulae

Dumbell Nebula
Planetary nebula Lists of nebulae
Observation data
(Epoch J2000.0)
Right ascension 19h 59.6m
Declination +22° 43′
Distance 1,250 ly
Apparent magnitude (V) +7.4
Apparent dimensions (V) 8.0 × 5.7 arcmins
Constellation Vulpecula
Physical characteristics
Radius -
Absolute magnitude (V) -
Notable features -
Other designations NGC 6853, M27

Template: {{Planetary nebula}}

This example should be copied and used for all planetary nebulae. See List of planetary nebulae for articles on planetary nebulae. Please place new planetary nebulae on this list, and categorize in Category:Planetary nebulae, the category of its constellation, and the category of its catalog (ex:Category:Messier objects).

Diffuse Nebulae

Orion Nebula
Diffuse nebula Lists of nebulae
Observation data
(Epoch J2000.0)
Type -
Right ascension 05h 32m 49s
Declination -05° 25′
Distance 1,600 ly
Apparent magnitude (V) +4.0
Apparent dimensions (V) 85 × 60 arcmins
Constellation Orion
Physical characteristics
Radius -
Absolute magnitude (V) -
Notable features -
Other designations NGC 1976, M42

Template: {{Diffuse nebula}}

This example should be copied and used for all diffuse nebulae. See List of diffuse nebulae for articles on ddiffuse nebulae. Please place new diffuse nebulae on this list, and categorize in Category:Diffuse nebulae, the category of its constellation, and the category of its catalog (ex:Category:Messier objects).

Dark Nebulae

Horsehead Nebula
Dark nebula Lists of nebulae
Observation data
(Epoch J2000.0)
Type Dark
Right ascension 05h 40m 59.0s
Declination -02° 27′ 30.0"
Distance 1,500 ly
Apparent magnitude (V) -
Apparent dimensions (V) 8 × 6 arcmins
Constellation Orion
Physical characteristics
Radius -
Absolute magnitude (V) -
Notable features -
Other designations IC 434, Barnard 33

Template: {{Dark nebula}}

Currently (2005) there are only two dark nebulae on Wikipedia, see List of dark nebulae.

Useful links


In alphabetical order:

  • AMcWhatever I can do to help...
  • Ardric47 I am by now probably a de facto minor participant, having done some lists and things with sourcing.
  • Awolf002. Count me in! Up to now I just worked on biographies (crater eponyms) and this project looks good.
  • Eric Forste (talk) I feel as if this is the first wikiproject I've joined, so I'm gonna sign my name to it. All y'all that got this thing started up could go ahead and sign yours above mine (or we could just follow the alphabetical convention). Right now I'm working in a sandbox on adding the infobox to Proteus and then I'll be working on Nereid if no one beats me to it.
  • Eurocommuter Contributing to trans-Neptunian-related articles, especially with diagrams and solid references (but offering arXiv preprints).
  • Hurricane Devon ( Talk ) I'll do galaxies and exoplanets.
  • JamesHoadley (talk) It seems I'm helping out at the moment, so I may as well put my name down. Mostly I work on solar system planets and moons, deep sky stuff (nebulae, galaxies) and spacecraft (not in this topic).
  • Jyril. I've been creating asteroid and extrasolar planet articles for a long time. (Why I haven't signed earlier?)
  • Nicholas. I'm here too.
  • RJH (talk). Finished up the lunar craters; now working on propagating starbox template and some of the crater eponym bios.
  • shaggy Mostly working on cleaning up articles on trans-Neptunian objects and centaurs. Also, creating articles for notable TNOs and centaurs.
  • siafu Working on maintaining the pages on the planets recently.
  • Uber nemo (talk). I'll sign my name alphabetically. I am currently working on galaxy stubs and infoboxless articles.
  • Urhixidur (talk). I've been banging away at asteroids, mostly.

Pages needing attention

Wikipedia:Pages needing attention/Mathematical and Natural Sciences/Astronomy

[[Category:WikiProject Astronomy|Objects, astronomical]]

[[fr:Wikipédia:Projet/Objets de l'Univers]]
[[ja:Wikipedia:ウィキプロジェクト 天体]]
[[ru:Википедия:Проект:Астрономические Объекты]]