10. SELECT: Grouping

For histogram-like functionality, you can compute factor sets, i.e., subsets that have identical values for one or more columns, and you can compute aggregate functions for them.

  COUNT(*) AS n,
  ROUND(mv) AS bin,
  AVG(color) AS colav
FROM dmubin.main

Note how the aggregate functions interact with grouping (they compute values for each group).

Also note the renaming using AS. You can do that for columns (so your expressions are more compact) as well as for tables (this becomes handy with joins).

For simple GROUP applications, you can shortcut using DISTINCT (which basically computes the “domain").

SELECT DISTINCT comp, FK FROM dmubin.main

A common operation is trying some statistical qualification over the entire sky or a significant part of it. Since healpixes have equal areas and are well-beheaved at the poles and across the stitching line of a spherical coordinate system, they are particularly well suited for work like this. An introduction to this with sample queries is given on a poster by Mark Taylor. Not all services support the necessary functions (in TOPCAT, you can check in the


While for large catalogs, such queries will have long runtimes, you can try it for smallish catalogs even in a course situation, for instance:

select ivo_healpix_index(5, raj2000, dej2000) as bin,
  count(*) as n,
  avg(rv) as meanrv,
  max(rv)-avg(rv) as updev,
  avg(rv)-min(rv) as lowdev
from rave.main
where e_rv<20
group by bin
having count(*)>5

Plot this in TOPCAT using the sky plot, Layers/Add Healpix Control. Use bin as Healpix index, set the healpix level to 5, and the select what you want to see plotted. As annotation for healpix columns improves, plotting these things should involve less manual work.




Get the averages for the total proper motion from lspm.main in bins of one mag in Jmag each. Let the output table contain the number of objects in each bin, too.

Markus Demleitner

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