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Full nameBibliographic code
No. of digits19
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The bibcode (also known as the refcode) is a compact identifier used by several astronomical data systems to uniquely specify literature references.

Astronomy natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects

Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It applies mathematics, physics, and chemistry in an effort to explain the origin of those objects and phenomena and their evolution. Objects of interest include planets, moons, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and comets; the phenomena also includes supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, quasars, blazars, pulsars, and cosmic microwave background radiation. More generally, all phenomena that originate outside Earth's atmosphere are within the purview of astronomy. A related but distinct subject is physical cosmology, which is the study of the Universe as a whole.



The Bibliographic Reference Code (refcode) was originally developed to be used in SIMBAD and the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), but it became a de facto standard and is now used more widely, for example, by the NASA Astrophysics Data System who coined and prefer the term "bibcode". [1] [2]

SIMBAD astronomical database

SIMBAD is an astronomical database of objects beyond the Solar System. It is maintained by the Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg (CDS), France.

The NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) is an on-line astronomical database for astronomers that collates and cross-correlates astronomical information on extragalactic objects. NED was created in the late 1980s by two Pasadena astronomers, George Helou and Barry F. Madore. NED is funded by NASA and is operated by the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) on the campus of the California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA.

Astrophysics Data System Digital Library portal for researchers in Astronomy and Physics, operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

The Astrophysics Data System (ADS) is an online database of over eight million astronomy and physics papers from both peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed sources. Abstracts are available free online for almost all articles, and full scanned articles are available in Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) and Portable Document Format (PDF) for older articles. It was developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and is managed by the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.


The code has a fixed length of 19 characters and has the form


where YYYY is the four-digit year of the reference and JJJJJ is a code indicating where the reference was published. In the case of a journal reference, VVVV is the volume number, M indicates the section of the journal where the reference was published (e.g., L for a lecodeers section), PPPP gives the starting page number, and A is the first lecodeer of the last name of the first author. Periods (.) are used to fill unused fields and to pad fields out to their fixed length if too short; padding is done on the right for the publication code and on the left for the volume number and page number. [1] [2] Page numbers greater than 9999 are continued in the M column. The 6-digit article ID numbers (in lieu of page numbers) used by the Physical Review publications since the late 1990s are treated as follows: The first two digits of the article ID, corresponding to the issue number, are converted to a lower-case lecodeer (01 = a etc.) and inserted into column M. The remaining four digits are used in the page field. [2]


Some examples of bibcodes are:

1974AJ.....79..819H Heintz, W. D. (1974). "Astrometric study of four visual binaries". The Astronomical Journal . 79: 819–825. Bibcode:1974AJ.....79..819H. doi:10.1086/111614.
1924MNRAS..84..308E Eddington, A. S. (1924). "On the relation between the masses and luminosities of the stars". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society . 84 (5): 308–332. Bibcode:1924MNRAS..84..308E. doi:10.1093/mnras/84.5.308.
1970ApJ...161L..77K Kemp, J. C.; Swedlund, J. B.; Landstreet, J. D.; Angel, J. R. P. (1970). "Discovery of circularly polarized light from a white dwarf". The Astrophysical Journal Letters . 161: L77–L79. Bibcode:1970ApJ...161L..77K. doi:10.1086/180574.
2004PhRvL..93o0801M Mukherjee, M.; Kellerbauer, A.; Beck, D.; et al. (2004). "The Mass of 22Mg". Physical Review Letters . 93 (15): 150801. Bibcode:2004PhRvL..93o0801M. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.150801.

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  1. 1 2 M. Schmitz; G. Helou; P. Dubois; C. LaGue; B.F. Madore; H. G. Corwin Jr. & S. Lesteven (1995). "NED and SIMBAD Conventions for Bibliographic Reference Coding". In Daniel Egret & Miguel A. Albrecht. Information & On-Line Data in Astronomy. Kluwer Academic Publishers. ISBN   0-7923-3659-3. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
  2. 1 2 3 "The ADS Data, help page". NASA ADS. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2007.