This page is home to various bits-and-pieces I hope will be useful to others. For the moment it contains my notes on Topcat, which have proved quite popular over the years.


One cool cat...Does what you want with astronomical catalogues and tables. Mark Taylor's Topcat is quite simply one of the most useful pieces of astronomical software you will ever use. Reads almost any astronomical table format and talks to Virtual Observatory tools and services. It has hardly left my desktop for nearly eight years.

Homepage | JAR file (19 MB) | OSX Application (22 MB .dmg)

I have also modified the standard Topcat OSX application bundle (v4.2-3) to include JDBC drivers for SQL database access. This gives you the ability to query PostgreSQL and MySQL servers from the Topcat Load Table dialog (using the Load SQL icon).

OSX Application (27 MB .zip) | Topcat JDBC help page

Astroinformatics Tutorial

As part of the 2011 Astroinformatics School held at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Perth, I created a short tutorial on the use of Topcat for basic data analysis, cross-matching, plotting and leveraging Virtual Observatory tools.

Introductory presentation (PDF, 4 Mb) | Tutorial (PDF, 228 Kb)

RASS optical sources in Chamaeleon (VOTable, 28 Kb)
NOMAD sources 0.5 deg around (RA,Dec) = (130.5,-79) deg (VOTable, 6 Mb)
Eta Cha members (VOTable, 8 Kb)

Background image credit: Akira Fujii