Being intrigued by which real stars some of those in the Elite: Dangerous beta were based on I decided to find a catalogue of real stars and their positions and find out. What I eventually found and ended up using was the HYG 2.0 database from The Astronomy Nexus: The HYG Database.
I fleshed this out into having x,y,z co-ordinates in the correct galactic system (using a transformation matrix found in this paper with axes swapped where needed to match what Elite: Dangerous uses. You can download the resulting CSV file if you wish. Note that the co-ordinates don't exactly match ED's, which I can only assume is due to Frontier Developments having added some combination of precession and proper motion for the ~1300 year passage of time for when the game is set (in 3300AD).
Now I have made this page which will allow you to enter approximate Elite: Dangerous co-ordinates and find out what real stars are close to them.
NB: I won't quite have all the Elite: Dangerous stars in my database, I know I'm missing all the WISE-only data for instance.
There are two styles of search, as evidenced by the two 'Search' buttons below.
- The first takes an ED co-ordinates system point and a range around it. This is a strict spherical range, not just the length of the sides of a cube centered on the point.
- The second takes a simple piece of text to be used to search the stored names. For 'HIP', 'HD' and 'HR' this should simply be the number. Indeed these columns will only be searched on if the input is purely a number. For the other columns a wildcard prefix and suffix search is performed, i.e. 'Cyg' will match on anything containing 'Cyg' anywhere in the name. If you intend to search only the Gliese column then you probably want to specify something starting 'Gl ' or 'GJ '. The text searches are case-sensitive; 'barnard' will not find "Barnard's Star".
Remember you're very much restricted by what stars, and what names for them, are in my database. If this tool proves popular enough I may make some effort to improve the database.