an upfront apology - this is a very specific problem, that is only in part related to observable - however it’s a window to a bunch of cool data that people here might like to play with so i hope you won’t mind.
One fantastic repository is the Vizier catalog search - which is a window to thousands of published datasets about any object in the sky - a lovely example is the Gaia catalog which gives the position and velocity of millions of stars. Vizier allows simple queries, for example, a small patch of sky, or a specific named object, as well as deciding which fields of the data to load.
There is LOADS of documentation on this service (here’s a good central repository) but it reads like it’s designed for very different kinds of tasks - plus there’s a ton of astronomy specific tools and langauges that get mixed in.
I thought i’d throw this out to the observable community to see if anyone could help me unpick how to formulate a functional url to read the data.
(p.s. as an example of what I’m hoping for this command works great for accessing the list of confirmed exoplanets: 'planetdata=d3.csv('https://exoplanetarchive.ipac.caltech.edu/cgi-bin/nstedAPI/nph-nstedAPI?table=exoplanets&select=pl_bmassj,pl_radj,pl_bmassn,pl_bmassjerr1,pl_bmassjerr2,pl_eqt&order=dec’)’)