Technical notes and source data
The source data for 3D Stars comes from several different sources. The main catalogue of 27,000 stars is derived from the results of the European Space Agency's Hipparcos satellite. I filtered this catalogue substantially from the initial ~120,000 stars, to 27,000 stars whose 3D positions are known to better than 2%. The Hipparcos catalogue is unlikely to be improved upon until well into the second decade of this century, when ESA's Gaia mission is launched.
Hipparcos did not itself measure radial velocities, so to fill in the missing 3D velocity information I turned to the 3rd bibliographic catalogue of stellar radial velocities (Barbier-Brossat et al., 1994). The smaller star catalogue of over 3800 stars comes almost directly from the preliminary 3rd catalogue of nearby stars (Gliese and Jahreiss, 1991).
The pulsar data was derived from the catalogue of 558 pulsars (Taylor, Manchester and Lyne, 1993). The number of known pulsars is now over 1400, so the 3D Stars version is missing about 50% of pulsars known today.
The star names were obtained from StarList 2000.0, by Richard Dibon-Smith (ISBN 0-471-55895-8). This book is very useful and was the original source used for 3D Stars' star catalogue, since it contains parallaxes carefully compiled by the book's author from many different catalogues. It lists Bayer letters and Flamsteed numbers for many stars, and these data were combined with the Hipparcos and Gliese catalogues. "Popular" names were derived from StarList and for a very few, rather obscure stars, from sources on the internet.
If you want to discuss this stuff, I'll probably think you're ill, but you can still contact me through tomy [at] compsoc.man.ac.uk. To go somewhere more interesting see the links on the left, or the 3D Stars links on the right.