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Star Catalogs

Catalogs of stars are listed below.

Also available:

  • Deepsky Catalogs and Observing Lists

    Historical Star Catalogs

    It is unknown when people first started to compile lists of stars. What we know is that the ancient Greeks recorded their observations and measurements, and thus were compiling early star catalogs. One of the earliest known compilation was created by Timocharis of Alexandria about 300 B.C.: this was later used by Hipparchus (among others, e.g. by Eratosthenes, of Cyrene, ca. 276-194 BC).

    Early discoveries involving star catalogs include the precession of the equinoxes, a consequence of the precession of Earth's axis in roughly 26,000 years.

    Throughout history, stars have been assigned proper names besides their listing in catalogs. Nowadays, the scientific community has agreed to recognize certain naming conventions, regulated by The International Astronomical Union (IAU). More information on Naming Stars is available (Note: There is no way to get a star officially named for profit!)

    A list of important historical star catalogs follows:

    300 BC
    Timocharis of Alexandria
    130 BC
    Hipparchus (of Rhodes)
    120 AD
    Ptolemy (83-161 AD) compiled his monumental "Almagest", a catalog of 48 constellations and 1022 stars.
    Allessandro Piccolomini (1508-78), De le Stelle Fisse
    Johann Bayer (1572-1625), Uranometria; note this appeared still before the introduction of the telescope in astronomy in 1609. In this work, Bayer introduced the naming of stars for their constellation and by Greek letters in the approximate order of (apparent) brightness: The brightest star in a constellation should be labelled Alpha, the second brightest Beta, and so on. Misestimates and other irregularities are the reasons why this is only an approximate scheme.
    Johann Hevelius (1611-1687), Sternverzeichnis
    Edmond Halley (1656-1742) compiled the first southern star catalog
    John Flamsteed (1646-1719), Historia Coelestis Britannica, edited by Edmond Halley. In this catalog, which contained lots of errors and was never authorized by Flamsteed, stars in each constellation were numbered by the so-called Flamsteed numbers, in the order of Right Ascension.
    John Flamsteed, Stellarum Inerrantium Catalogus Britannicus. This corrected and official version of Flamsteed's catalog does not contain the numbers.
    James Bradley (1693-1762), Star Catalog.
    These more general initial lists were succeeded by more specialized catalogs, such as William Herschel's early catalog of 269 double stars from 1782. Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784-1846) determined acurate positions for 32,000 stars during 1821-1835. With his better instrumentation, more specialized catalogs became possible, such as the double star catalog of Friedrich Wilhelm Struve (1793-1864).

    A milestone was set by Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander (1799-1875) who, together with his coworkers Adalbert Krüger (1832-1896) and Eduard Schönfeld (1828-1891) compiled the monumental Bonner Durchmusterung (BD) between 1852-1859. This work was complimented by the Cordoba Durchmusterung of the Southern Sky, published 1892. Besides positions, these catalogs contained visual photometric estimates. Other important visual photometric catalogs of the late 19th century include the Harvard Revised Photometry, compiled 1879-1907, and the Potsdamer Durchmusterung, created 1886-1907.

    A pioneering work in the area of photographic stellar photometry was Karl Schwarzschild's (1873-1916) Göttinger Aktinometrie, created 1904-1908.

    When spectroscopy came up in the second half of the 19th century, spectral classifications and catalogs of stars were compiled, one of the first lists being that of the Italian Father Angelo Secchi (1818-1878), which appeared in 1867 and contained 316 stars. The monumental early work in that area became the Henry Draper Catalog with 225,300 stars, published at Harvard College Observatory between 1918 and 1924.

    Stellar Survey Catalogs

    Bonner Durchmusterung (BD)
    F.W. Argelander, A. Krüger, and E. Schönfeld, Beob. Bonn Obs., 3, 4, 5, 1860. Positions and magnitudes, plus atlas (for equinox 1855.0). 320,000 stars
    Southern Durchmusterung (BD)
    Beob. Bonn Obs., 8, 1886. Positions and magnitudes, plus atlas. 130,000 stars
    Cordoba Durchmusterung (CD)
    Result. Nat. Obs. Argentina, 16-18, 21a, 21b, 1892 Positions and magnitudes, plus atlas. 580,000 stars
    Cape Photographic Durchmusterung (CPD)
    Ann. Cape Obs., 3, 4, 5,1896. Positions and magnitude. 450,000 stars
    Carte du Ciel
    Various Observatory Publications. Positions and magnitude. Some 10 million (10^7) stars.
    ELB 2
    Hamburg Sternwarte, 1936. Proper motion for BD, CD, and CPD stars. 95,000 stars.
    Faint Blue Star Survey (LB)
    Luyten et.al., Minneapolis, 1954-1969. Position, proper motion, magnitude, color. 11,500 stars
    Large Proper Motion Survey (LTT, LFT)
    Luyten, Minneapolis, 1955-1961. Proper motion > 0.2 "/year. ~ 20,000 stars
    Bruce Proper Motion Survey
    Luyten, Minneapolis, 1963. Proper motion. 98,000 stars
    48" Proper Motion Survey
    Luyten, Minneapolis, 1963-1971. Proper motion. ~ 50,000 stars
    Lowell Proper Motion Survey
    Giclas et.al., Lowell Obs., 1971. Proper motion. 9,000 stars
    South Galactic Pole Survey
    Luyten and La Bonte, Minneapolis, 1973. Proper motion. 7,000 stars
    North Galactic Pole Survey
    Luyten, Minneapolis, 1976. Proper motion. 11,000 stars
    Large Proper Motion Survey (LHS)
    Luyten, Minneapolis, 1976. Proper motion > 0.5 "/year. 6,000 stars

    Precision Stellar Catalogs

    Astron. Gesellschaft, Leipzig and Paris, 1890-1924. Position. ~ 500,000 stars
    Yale Catalog (Reobservation of AGK1)
    Yale Obs. Trans., 4-31, 1925-1971. Position and proper motion. ~ 210,000 stars
    Cape Zone Catalog
    Jones, Cape Obs., 1927, 1936. Position, proper motion, magnitude. ~ 21,000 stars
    General Catalog
    Boss, Carnegie Inst. Wash. Pub. No. 486, 1936. Position and proper motion. 33,000 stars
    Cape Catalog (Epochs 1925, 1950)
    Jackson et.al., 1949-1953. Position and proper motion. 23,000 stars
    Astr. Papers Amer. Ephemeris, 13, part III, 1952. Position and proper motion. 5,300 stars
    Hamburg Sternwarte, 1950-1958. Position. 82,000 stars
    Astron. Rechen-Inst. Heidelberg, 1963. Position and proper motion. 1,500 stars
    Smithonian Star Catalog (SAO)
    Smithonian Ap. Obs., 1966. Position, proper motion, magnitude, spectral type. 260,000 stars.
    Hamburg Sternwarte, 1975. Position and proper motion. 183,000 stars

    Selected Areas

    Harvard-Groningen Selected Areas
    Pickering, Kapteyn, and van Rhijn, Harvard Ann., 101-103, 1920. Magnitude, 206 areas (15' x 15'). 250,000 stars
    Mount Wilson Selected Areas
    Seares, Kapteyn, and van Rhijn, Carnegie Inst. Wash. Pub. No. 402, 1930. Magnitude, 139 areas. 68,000 stars
    Radcliffe Catalog of Proper Motions
    Knox-Shaw and Barrett, Oxford Univ. Press, 1934. Proper motion, Selected areas 1-115. ~ 30,000 stars
    Bergedorfer Spectral Durchmusterung
    Schwassmann and van Rhijn, Hamburg Sternwarte, 1935-1953. Spectral type and magnitude, Selected areas 1-115. 174,000 stars
    Potsdam Spectral Durchmusterung
    Becker and Brück, Pub. Ap. Obs. Potsdam, 27, 28, 1929-1938. Spectral type and magnitude, Selected areas 116-206. 50,000 stars

    Nearby, Bright, and High Velocity Stars

    Yale Parallax Catalog
    Jenkins, Yale Univ. Obs., 1963. Parallax. 6,000 stars
    Catalog of Nearby Stars
    Gleise, Veröff. Rechen Inst. Heidelberg, 3, No. 22, 1969. Position, proper motion, radial velocity, distance, magnitude, color for stars within 20 pc. 900 stars
    Catalog of Stars within 25 pc of the Sun
    Wooley et.al., Roy. Obs. Ann. No. 5, 1970. Position, proper motion, radial velocity, space velocity, distance, magnitude, color. 1,700 stars.
    Catalog of Stars within 5 pc of the Sun
    van de Kamp, Ann. Rev. Astr. Ap., 9, 103, 1971. Position, proper motion, radial velocity, distance, magnitude. 45 stars
    Yale Bright Star Catalog (BS)
    Hoffleit, Yale Univ. Obs., 1964. Position, proper motion, radial velocity, spectral type, color, magnitude, parallax. 9,000 stars
    Catalog of High Velocity Stars
    Roman, Ap. J. Supp., 2, 198, 1955. Position, magnitude, color, spectra, proper motion, space moiton. 600 stars
    Space Velocity Catalog
    Eggen, Roy. Obs. Bull. No. 51, 1962. Magnitude, color, spectral type, radial velocity, proper motion, space velocity. 3,500 stars
    Catalog of High Velocity Stars
    Eggen, Roy. Obs. Bull. No. 84, 1964. Magnitude, color, distance, space motion. 660 stars

    Spectral Types

    Henry Draper Catalog (HD)
    Cannon and Pickering, Harvard Obs. Ann., 91-99, 1918-1924. Spectral class and magnitude. 225,000 stars
    Henry Draper Extension (HDE)
    Cannon, Harvard Obs. Ann., 100, 1925-1936, 112, 1949. Spectral class and magnitude. 134,000 stars
    Luminous Stars in the Northern Milky Way
    Hardorp et.al., Hamburg Sternwarte, 1959-1965. Spectral and luminosity class, magnitude. ~ 8,000 stars
    Luminous Stars in the Southern Milky Way
    Stephenson and Sanduleak, Pub. Warner and Swasey Obs., 1, No. 1, 1971. Spectral and luminosity class, magnitude. 5,000 stars
    Catalog of Early-Type Emission Line Stars
    Wackerling, Mem. Roy. Ast. Soc., 73, 153, 1970. Spectral type, magnitude. 11,000 stars
    Catalog of Stellar Spectra Classified in the MK System
    Jaschek et.al., LaPlata Obs., 1964. MK spectral type and magnitude. ~ 20,000 stars
    MK Spectral Classification (additions to the LaPlata Catalog)
    Buscombe, Northwestern University, 1974-77. MK spectral type, UBV photometry. ~ 45,000 stars
    Univ. of Michigan Catalog of Two-Dimensional Spectral Types (Reclassification of HD)
    Houk and Cowley, U. of Michigan, since 1975. MK spectral type. 35,000 (until about 1980)


    UBVRIJKL Photometry of Bright Stars
    Johnson et.al., Commun. Lunar and Plan. Lab., 4, 99, 1966. UBV and infrared magnitudes. ~ 1,500 stars
    Photoelectric Catalog
    Blanco et.al., Pub. U.S. Nav. Obs., 21, 1968. UBV magnitudes and colors. 21,000 stars
    Two Micron Survey
    Neugebauer and Leighton, NASA SP-3047, 1969. Infrared magnitude. 5,000 stars
    Six-Color Catalog
    Kron et.al., Pub. U.S. Nav. Obs., 20, Part V, 1972. Six color magnitudes (U V B G R I). 1,300 stars
    Celescope Catalog of UV Stellar Observations
    Davis et.al., Smithonian Ap. Obs., 1973. Ultraviolet stellar magnitudes. 5,100 stars
    u v b y beta Photoelectric Photometric Catalog
    Lindemann and Hauck, Astr. and Ap. Supp., 11, 119, 1973. (b-y), m1, c1, beta index. 7,600 stars.
    O Star Catalog
    Goy, Astr. and Ap. Supp., 26, 273, 1976. UBV magitudes, spectral types, polarization. 800 stars
    Spectrophotometric Catalog
    Breger, Ap. J. Supp., 32, 7, 1976
    UV Bright-Star Spectrophotometric Catalog
    ESA, ESA SR-27, 1976. UV spectral energy distributions. 1,350 stars
    General Catalog of UBV Photometry
    Mermillod and Nicolet, Astr. and Ap. Supp., 29, 259, 1977. UBV magnitudes. 53,000 stars

    Radial Velocity

    General Catalog of Radial Velocities (Lick)
    Moore, Pub. Lick Obs., 18, 1932; 20, 1949. Radial velocity. 6,700 stars
    General Catalog of Radial Velocities (Mt. Wilson)
    Wilson, Carnegie Inst. Wash. Pub. No. 601, 1953. Radial velocity. 15,000 stars.
    Bibliography of Stellar Radial Velocities
    Abt and Briggs, Kitt Peak Nat. Obs., 1972 Radial velocity. 25,000 stars.
    Catalog of Individual Mt. Wilson Radial Velocities
    Abt, Ap. J. Supp., 19, 387, 1970; 26, 365, 1973. Radial velocity. 7,200 stars.

    Double and Multiple Stars

    Alvin G. Clark
    E.E. Barnard
    van den Bos
    Willem H. van den Bos (1896-1974)
    R.W. Dawes (1799-1868)
    Dorpat Catalogue, F.G.W. Struwe (Sigma)
    F.G.W. Struwe, Dorpat Catalog (1927)
    Dorpat Catalogue, 2nd supp., Wilhelm Struwe (Sigma II)
    Wilhelm Struwe, Dorpat Catalog, Second Supplement.
    J. Herschel (h)
    John Herschel
    Harvard College Observatory and Stations
    Hough (Ho)
    George Washington Hough (1836-1909)
    Hussey (Hu)
    William J. Hussey (1862-1926), 1901
    Krüger (Kr)
    A. Krüger
    Pulkowo Catalog, Otto W. Struve (O Sigma)
    Otto Wilhelm (Vasilievich) Struve (1819-1905), The Pulkowo Catalog
    T.J.J. See

    W. Herschel (HN)
    William Herschel, 1821
    James South and John Herschel, 1824
    General Catalogue of Double Stars
    S.W. Burnham, Carnegie Inst. Wash. Pub. No. 5, 1906. Double Star Observations. 13,500 double stars
    R.G. Aitken, 1918 (revised 1935)
    New General Catalogue of Double Stars
    Aitken, Carnegie Inst. Wash. Pub. No. 417, 1932. Double star observations and orbits. 17,200 double stars
    Catalog General de Etoiles Doubles
    Jonckhere, Pub. Obs. de Marseille, 1962. Double star observations. 3,400 double stars
    Catalog of Visual Binary Orbits
    Worley, Pub. U.S. Nav. Obs., 18, Part III, 1963. Double star orbits. 540 double stars
    Index Catalog of Visual Double Stars, 1961.0
    Jeffers et.al., Lick Obs. Pub., 21, 1963. Double star observations. 64,200 double stars

    Variable Stars

    General Catalog of Variable Stars
    Kukarkin et.al., Sternberg Obs., Moscow, 1969-76 (3rd ed. + supplements) Positions, magnitude, variability, type. 26,000 variables
    Catalogue of Supernovae
    Karpowicz and Rudnicki, Warsaw Univ. Press, 1968. Data and literature review. About 200 supernovae


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