A proposal for community driven and decentralized astronomical databases and the Open Exoplanet Catalogue

29 Nov 2012  ·  Hanno Rein ·

I present a new kind of astronomical database based on small text files and a distributed version control system. This encourages the community to work collaboratively. It creates a decentralized, completely open and democratic way of managing small to medium sized heterogeneous astronomical databases and catalogues. The use of the XML file format allows an easy to parse and read, yet dynamic and extendable database structure. The Open Exoplanet Catalogue is based on these principles and presented as an example. It is a catalogue of all discovered extra-solar planets. It is the only catalogue that can correctly represent the orbital structure of planets in arbitrary binary, triple and quadruple star systems, as well as orphan planets.

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