Since I only wrote my hack in about an hour, during breakfast on Sunday, I returned to it this evening and finished it off. I’ve defined an open data table at http://eatyourgreens.org.uk/yql/flickr.photos.astro.xml which returns all machine tag info in the astro: namespace for the 50 most recently tagged photos. For convenience, it also returns the photo owner, title, url and root url for thumbnail images.
There is a demo, where you can try searching based on Right Ascension and Declination (both expressed in degrees). Please try it out and leave feedback in the comments here.
The Carina Nebula
select * from flickr.photos.astro where ra > 155 and ra < 165 and dec > -65 and dec < -55
The Orion Nebula and surroundings
select * from flickr.photos.astro where ra > 70 and ra < 100 and dec > -20 and dec < 10
Get lots of photos of Orion (may be slow)
select * from flickr.photos.astro(0,200) where ra > 70 and ra < 100 and dec > -20 and dec < 10
Find nebulae from the New General Catalogue (names beginning NGC)
select * from flickr.photos.astro where name like 'NGC%'
Find nebulae from the Messier catalogue (names beginning with M )
select id, title, url, imgroot, username, ra, dec, fov, orientation, name from flickr.photos.astro(40) where name like 'M %'
Find all photos of the Rosette nebula
select * from flickr.photos.astro(0,200) where name = 'Rosette nebula'
Explicitly declare all the table columns
select id, title, url, imgroot, username, ra, dec, fov, orientation, name from flickr.photos.astro