Designations of astronomical objects are often confusing. Astronomical designations (also called Object Identifiers) have been collected and published by Lortet and collaborators in Dictionaries of Nomenclature of Celestial Objects outside the solar system (Biblio). This Info service is the electronic look-up version of the Dictionary which is updated on a regular basis; it provides full references and usages about 22148 different acronyms.
To find out the meaning of specific acronyms or related references, choose and fill the form below; the words you type in the box are anded, i.e. the acronyms matching all words will be displayed.
How to refer to a source or designate a new one is a short document from the Task Group on Astronomical Designations of IAU Commission 5 which provides basic advices in this topic. A more extensive Specifications concerning designations for astronomical radiation sources outside the solar system document gives more complete definitions and examples.
If you are preparing a new catalogue, we wish to encourage to register for an acronym, preferably before your new objects become referenced (even informally).