Star catalogue

A star catalogue (Commonwealth English) or star catalog (American English), is an astronomical catalogue that lists stars. In astronomy, many stars are referred to simply by catalogue numbers. There are a great many different star catalogues which have been produced for different purposes over the years, and this article covers only some of the more frequently quoted ones. Star catalogues were compiled by many different ancient people, including the Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese, Persians, and Arabs. They were sometimes accompanied by a star chart for illustration. Most modern catalogues are available in electronic format and can be freely downloaded from space agencies data centres.

Completeness and accuracy is described by the weakest apparent magnitude V (largest number) and the accuracy of the positions.

Perseus Hevelius 2
An illustration of the constellation Perseus (after Perseus from Greek mythology) from the star catalogue published by the German astronomer Johannes Hevelius in 1690

Historical catalogues

Ancient Near East

From their existing records, it is known that the ancient Egyptians recorded the names of only a few identifiable constellations and a list of thirty-six decans that were used as a star clock.[1] The Egyptians called the circumpolar star "the star that cannot perish" and, although they made no known formal star catalogues, they nonetheless created extensive star charts of the night sky which adorn the coffins and ceilings of tomb chambers.[2]

Although the ancient Sumerians were the first to record the names of constellations on clay tablets,[3] the earliest known star catalogues were compiled by the ancient Babylonians of Mesopotamia in the late 2nd millennium BC, during the Kassite Period (c. 1531 BC to c. 1155 BC). They are better known by their Assyrian-era name 'Three Stars Each'. These star catalogues, written on clay tablets, listed thirty-six stars: twelve for "Anu" along the celestial equator, twelve for "Ea" south of that, and twelve for "Enlil" to the north.[4] The Mul.Apin lists, dated to sometime before the Neo-Babylonian Empire (626–539 BC),[5] are direct textual descendants of the "Three Stars Each" lists and their constellation patterns show similarities to those of later Greek civilization.[6]

Hellenistic world and Roman Empire

In Ancient Greece, the astronomer and mathematician Eudoxus laid down a full set of the classical constellations around 370 BC.[7] His catalogue Phaenomena, rewritten by Aratus of Soli between 275 and 250 BC as a didactic poem, became one of the most consulted astronomical texts in antiquity and beyond.[7] It contains descriptions of the positions of the stars, the shapes of the constellations and provided information on their relative times of rising and setting.[7]

Approximately in the 3rd century BC, the Greek astronomers Timocharis of Alexandria and Aristillus created another star catalogue. Hipparchus (c. 190 – c. 120 BC) completed his star catalogue in 129 BC,[8] which he compared to Timocharis' and discovered that the longitude of the stars had changed over time. This led him to determine the first value of the precession of the equinoxes.[9] In the 2nd century, Ptolemy (c. 90 – c. 186 AD) of Roman Egypt published a star catalogue as part of his Almagest, which listed 1,022 stars visible from Alexandria.[10] Ptolemy's catalogue was based almost entirely on an earlier one by Hipparchus.[11] It remained the standard star catalogue in the Western and Arab worlds for over eight centuries. The Islamic astronomer al-Sufi updated it in 964, and the star positions were redetermined by Ulugh Beg in 1437,[12] but it was not fully superseded until the appearance of the thousand-star catalogue of Tycho Brahe in 1598.[13]

Although the ancient Vedas of India specified how the ecliptic was to be divided into twenty-eight nakshatra, Indian constellation patterns were ultimately borrowed from Greek ones sometime after Alexander's conquests in Asia in the 4th century BC.[14]

Ancient China

The earliest known inscriptions for Chinese star names were written on oracle bones and date to the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 – c. 1050 BC).[15] Sources dating from the Zhou Dynasty (c. 1050 – 256 BC) which provide star names include the Zuo Zhuan, the Shi Jing, and the "Canon of Yao" (堯典) in the Book of Documents.[16] The Lüshi Chunqiu written by the Qin statesman Lü Buwei (d. 235 BC) provides most of the names for the twenty-eight mansions (i.e. asterisms across the ecliptic belt of the celestial sphere used for constructing the calendar). An earlier lacquerware chest found in the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng (interred in 433 BC) contains a complete list of the names of the twenty-eight mansions.[17] Star catalogues are traditionally attributed to Shi Shen and Gan De, two rather obscure Chinese astronomers who may have been active in the 4th century BC of the Warring States period (403–221 BC).[18] The Shi Shen astronomy (石申天文, Shi Shen tienwen) is attributed to Shi Shen, and the Astronomic star observation (天文星占, Tianwen xingzhan) to Gan De.[19]

It was not until the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) that astronomers started to observe and record names for all the stars that were apparent (to the naked eye) in the night sky, not just those around the ecliptic.[20] A star catalogue is featured in one of the chapters of the late 2nd-century-BC history work Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian (145–86 BC) and contains the "schools" of Shi Shen and Gan De's work (i.e. the different constellations they allegedly focused on for astrological purposes).[21] Sima's catalogue—the Book of Celestial Offices (天官書 Tianguan shu)—includes some 90 constellations, the stars therein named after temples, ideas in philosophy, locations such as markets and shops, and different people such as farmers and soldiers.[22] For his Spiritual Constitution of the Universe (靈憲, Ling Xian) of 120 AD, the astronomer Zhang Heng (78–139 AD) compiled a star catalogue comprising 124 constellations.[23] Chinese constellation names were later adopted by the Koreans and Japanese.[24]

Islamic world

A large number of star catalogues were published by Muslim astronomers in the medieval Islamic world. These were mainly Zij treatises, including Arzachel's Tables of Toledo (1087), the Maragheh observatory's Zij-i Ilkhani (1272) and Ulugh Beg's Zij-i-Sultani (1437). Other famous Arabic star catalogues include Alfraganus' A compendium of the science of stars (850) which corrected Ptolemy's Almagest;[25] and Azophi's Book of Fixed Stars (964) which described observations of the stars, their positions, magnitudes, brightness and colour, drawings for each constellation, and the first descriptions of Andromeda Galaxy[26] and the Large Magellanic Cloud.[27][28] Many stars are still known by their Arabic names (see List of Arabic star names).

Pre-Columbian Americas

The Motul Dictionary, compiled in the 16th century by an anonymous author (although attributed to Fray Antonio de Ciudad Real), contains a list of stars originally observed by the ancient Mayas. The Maya Paris Codex also contain symbols for different constellations which were represented by mythological beings.[29]

Bayer and Flamsteed catalogues

Two systems introduced in historical catalogues remain in use to the present day. The first system comes from the German astronomer Johann Bayer's Uranometria, published in 1603 and regarding bright stars. These are given a Greek letter followed by the genitive case of the constellation in which they are located; examples are Alpha Centauri or Gamma Cygni. The major problem with Bayer's naming system was the number of letters in the Greek alphabet (24). It was easy to run out of letters before running out of stars needing names, particularly for large constellations such as Argo Navis. Bayer extended his lists up to 67 stars by using lower-case Roman letters ("a" through "z") then upper-case ones ("A" through "Q"). Few of those designations have survived. It is worth mentioning, however, as it served as the starting point for variable star designations, which start with "R" through "Z", then "RR", "RS", "RT"..."RZ", "SS", "ST"..."ZZ" and beyond.

The second system comes from the English astronomer John Flamsteed's Historia coelestis Britannica (1725). It kept the genitive-of-the-constellation rule for the back end of his catalogue names, but used numbers instead of the Greek alphabet for the front half. Examples include 61 Cygni and 47 Ursae Majoris.

Full-sky catalogues (in chronological order)

Bayer and Flamsteed covered only a few thousand stars between them. In theory, full-sky catalogues try to list every star in the sky. There are, however, billions of stars resolvable by telescopes, so this is an impossible goal; with this kind of catalog, an attempt is generally made to get every star brighter than a given magnitude.


Jérôme Lalande published the Histoire Céleste Française in 1801, which contained an extensive star catalog, among other things. The observations made were made from the Paris Observatory and so it describes mostly northern stars. This catalogue contained the positions and magnitudes of 47,390 stars, out to magnitude 9, and was the most complete catalogue up to that time. A significant reworking of this catalogue in 1846 added reference numbers to the stars that are used to refer to some of these stars to this day. The decent accuracy of this catalogue kept it in common use as a reference by observatories around the world throughout the 19th century.


The Bonner Durchmusterung (German: Bonn sampling) and follow-ups were the most complete of the pre-photographic star catalogues.

The Bonner Durchmusterung itself was published by Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander, Adalbert Krüger, and Eduard Schönfeld between 1852 and 1859. It covered 320,000 stars in epoch 1855.0.

As it covered only the northern sky and some of the south (being compiled from the Bonn observatory), this was then supplemented by the Südliche Durchmusterung (SD), which covers stars between declinations −1 and −23 degrees (1886, 120,000 stars). It was further supplemented by the Cordoba Durchmusterung (580,000 stars), which began to be compiled at Córdoba, Argentina in 1892 under the initiative of John M. Thome and covers declinations −22 to −90. Lastly, the Cape Photographic Durchmusterung (450,000 stars, 1896), compiled at the Cape, South Africa, covers declinations −18 to −90.

Astronomers preferentially use the HD designation (see next entry) of a star, as that catalogue also gives spectroscopic information, but as the Durchmusterungs cover more stars they occasionally fall back on the older designations when dealing with one not found in Draper. Unfortunately, a lot of catalogues cross-reference the Durchmusterungs without specifying which one is used in the zones of overlap, so some confusion often remains.

Star names from these catalogues include the initials of which of the four catalogues they are from (though the Southern follows the example of the Bonner and uses BD; CPD is often shortened to CP), followed by the angle of declination of the star (rounded towards zero, and thus ranging from +00 to +89 and −00 to −89), followed by an arbitrary number as there are always thousands of stars at each angle. Examples include BD+50°1725 or CD−45°13677.


The Henry Draper Catalogue was published in the period 1918–1924. It covers the whole sky down to about ninth or tenth magnitude, and is notable as the first large-scale attempt to catalogue spectral types of stars. The catalogue was compiled by Annie Jump Cannon and her co-workers at Harvard College Observatory under the supervision of Edward Charles Pickering, and was named in honour of Henry Draper, whose widow donated the money required to finance it.

HD numbers are widely used today for stars which have no Bayer or Flamsteed designation. Stars numbered 1–225300 are from the original catalogue and are numbered in order of right ascension for the 1900.0 epoch. Stars in the range 225301–359083 are from the 1949 extension of the catalogue. The notation HDE can be used for stars in this extension, but they are usually denoted HD as the numbering ensures that there can be no ambiguity.


The Catalogue astrographique (Astrographic Catalogue) was part of the international Carte du Ciel programme designed to photograph and measure the positions of all stars brighter than magnitude 11.0. In total, over 4.6 million stars were observed, many as faint as 13th magnitude. This project was started in the late 19th century. The observations were made between 1891 and 1950. To observe the entire celestial sphere without burdening too many institutions, the sky was divided among 20 observatories, by declination zones. Each observatory exposed and measured the plates of its zone, using a standardized telescope (a "normal astrograph") so each plate photographed had a similar scale of approximately 60 arcsecs/mm. The U.S. Naval Observatory took over custody of the catalogue, now in its 2000.2 edition.


First published in 1930 as the Yale Catalog of Bright Stars, this catalogue contained information on all stars brighter than visual magnitude 6.5 in the Harvard Revised Photometry Catalogue. The list was revised in 1983 with the publication of a supplement that listed additional stars down to magnitude 7.1. The catalogue detailed each star's coordinates, proper motions, photometric data, spectral types, and other useful information.

The last printed version of the Bright Star Catalogue was the 4th revised edition, released in 1982. The 5th edition is in electronic form and is available online.[30]


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory catalogue was compiled in 1966 from various previous astrometric catalogues, and contains only the stars to about ninth magnitude for which accurate proper motions were known. There is considerable overlap with the Henry Draper catalogue, but any star lacking motion data is omitted. The epoch for the position measurements in the latest edition is J2000.0. The SAO catalogue contains this major piece of information not in Draper, the proper motion of the stars, so it is often used when that fact is of importance. The cross-references with the Draper and Durchmusterung catalogue numbers in the latest edition are also useful.

Names in the SAO catalogue start with the letters SAO, followed by a number. The numbers are assigned following 18 ten-degree bands in the sky, with stars sorted by right ascension within each band.


USNO-B1.0[31] is an all-sky catalogue created by research and operations astrophysicists at the U.S. Naval Observatory (as developed at the United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station), that presents positions, proper motions, magnitudes in various optical passbands, and star/galaxy estimators for 1,042,618,261 objects derived from 3,643,201,733 separate observations. The data was obtained from scans of 7,435 Schmidt plates taken for the various sky surveys during the last 50 years. USNO-B1.0 is believed to provide all-sky coverage, completeness down to V = 21, 0.2 arcsecond astrometric accuracy at J2000.0, 0.3 magnitude photometric accuracy in up to five colors, and 85% accuracy for distinguishing stars from non-stellar objects. USNO-B is now followed by NOMAD;[32] both can be found on the Naval Observatory server.[33] The Naval Observatory is currently working on B2 and C variants of the USNO catalogue series.


The Guide Star Catalog is an online catalogue of stars produced for the purpose of accurately positioning and identifying stars satisfactory for use as guide stars by the Hubble Space Telescope program. The first version of the catalogue was produced in the late 1980s by digitizing photographic plates and contained about 20 million stars, out to about magnitude 15. The latest version of this catalogue contains information for 945,592,683 stars, out to magnitude 21. The latest version continues to be used to accurately position the Hubble Space Telescope.


The PPM Star Catalogue (1991) is one of the best, both in the proper motion and star position till 1999. Not as precise as the Hipparcos catalogue but with many more stars. The PPM was built from BD, SAO, HD and more, with sophisticated algorithm and is an extension for the Fifth Fundamental Catalogue, "Catalogues of Fundamental Stars".


The Hipparcos catalogue was compiled from the data gathered by the European Space Agency's astrometric satellite Hipparcos, which was operational from 1989 to 1993. The catalogue was published in June 1997 and contains 118,218 stars; an updated version with re-processed data was published in 2007. It is particularly notable for its parallax measurements, which are considerably more accurate than those produced by ground-based observations. A revised version was published in 2007.

Gaia Catalogue

The Gaia catalogue is released in stages that will contain increasing amounts of information; the early releases will also miss some stars, especially fainter stars located in dense star fields.[34] Data from every data release can be accessed at the Gaia archive.[35] Gaia DR1, the first data release of the spacecraft Gaia mission, based on 14 months of observations made through September 2015, took place on September 13, 2016.[36][37] The data release includes positions and magnitudes in a single photometric band for 1.1 billion stars using only Gaia data, positions, parallaxes and proper motions for more than 2 million stars based on a combination of Gaia and Tycho-2 data for those objects in both catalogues, light curves and characteristics for about 3000 variable stars, and positions and magnitudes for more than 2000 extragalactic sources used to define the celestial reference frame.[38][39] The second data release (DR2), which occurred on 25 April 2018,[40][41] is based on 22 months of observations made between 25 July 2014 and 23 May 2016. It includes positions, parallaxes and proper motions for about 1.3 billion stars and positions of an additional 300 million stars, red and blue photometric data for about 1.1 billion stars and single colour photometry for an additional 400 million stars, and median radial velocities for about 7 million stars between magnitude 4 and 13. It also contains data for over 14,000 selected Solar System objects.[42][43]. The full Gaia catalogue will be released in 2022.

Specialized catalogues

Specialized catalogues make no effort to list all the stars in the sky, working instead to highlight a particular type of star, such as variables or nearby stars.


Aitken's double star catalogue (1932) lists 17,180 double stars north of declination −30 degrees.

Carbon stars

Stephenson's General Catalogue of galactic Carbon stars[44] is a catalogue of 7000+ [45] carbon stars.

Gl, GJ, Wo

The Gliese (later Gliese-Jahreiß) catalogue attempts to list all star systems within 20 parsecs (65 ly) of Earth ordered by right ascension (see the List of nearest stars). Later editions expanded the coverage to 25 parsecs (82 ly). Numbers in the range 1.0–915.0 (Gl numbers) are from the second edition, which was

Catalogue of Nearby Stars (1969, W. Gliese).

The integers up to 915 represent systems which were in the first edition. Numbers with a decimal point were used to insert new star systems for the second edition without destroying the desired order (by right ascension). This catalogue is referred to as CNS2, although this name is never used in catalogue numbers.

Numbers in the range 9001–9850 (Wo numbers) are from the supplement

Extension of the Gliese catalogue (1970, R. Woolley, E. A. Epps, M. J. Penston and S. B. Pocock).

Numbers in the ranges 1000–1294 and 2001–2159 (GJ numbers) are from the supplement

Nearby Star Data Published 1969–1978 (1979, W. Gliese and H. Jahreiß).

The range 1000–1294 represents nearby stars, while 2001–2159 represents suspected nearby stars. In the literature, the GJ numbers are sometimes retroactively extended to the Gl numbers (since there is no overlap). For example, Gliese 436 can be interchangeably referred to as either Gl 436 or GJ 436.

Numbers in the range 3001–4388 are from

Preliminary Version of the Third Catalogue of Nearby Stars (1991, W. Gliese and H. Jahreiß).

Although this version of the catalogue was termed "preliminary", it is still the current one as of March 2006, and is referred to as CNS3. It lists a total of 3,803 stars. Most of these stars already had GJ numbers, but there were also 1,388 which were not numbered. The need to give these 1,388 some name has resulted in them being numbered 3001–4388 (NN numbers, for "no name"), and data files of this catalogue now usually include these numbers. An example of a star which is often referred to by one of these unofficial GJ numbers is GJ 3021.


The General Catalogue of Trigonometric Parallaxes, first published in 1952 and later superseded by the New GCTP (now in its fourth edition), covers nearly 9,000 stars. Unlike the Gliese, it does not cut off at a given distance from the Sun; rather it attempts to catalogue all known measured parallaxes. It gives the co-ordinates in 1900 epoch, the secular variation, the proper motion, the weighted average absolute parallax and its standard error, the number of parallax observations, quality of interagreement of the different values, the visual magnitude and various cross-identifications with other catalogues. Auxiliary information, including UBV photometry, MK spectral types, data on the variability and binary nature of the stars, orbits when available, and miscellaneous information to aid in determining the reliability of the data are also listed.

1952 edition and 1962 supplement. Louise F. Jenkins, Yale University Observatory.
William F. van Altena, John Truen-liang Lee and Ellen Dorrit Hoffleit, Yale University Observatory, 1995.

Proper motion catalogues

A common way of detecting nearby stars is to look for relatively high proper motions. Several catalogues exist, of which we'll mention a few. The Ross and Wolf catalogues pioneered the domain:

Ross, Frank Elmore, New Proper Motion Stars, eight successive lists, The Astronomical Journal, Vol. 36 to 48, 1925–1939[46]
Wolf, Max, "Katalog von 1053 stärker bewegten Fixsternen", Veröff. d. Badischen Sternwarte zu Heidelberg (Königstuhl), Bd. 7, No. 10, 1919; and numerous lists in Astronomische Nachrichten, 209 to 236, 1919–1929[47]

Willem Jacob Luyten later produced a series of catalogues:

L - Luyten, Proper motion stars and White dwarfs

Luyten, W. J., Proper Motion Survey with the forty-eight inch Schmidt Telescope, University of Minnesota, 1941 (General Catalogue of the Bruce Proper-Motion Survey)

LFT – Luyten Five-Tenths catalogue

Luyten, W. J., A Catalog of 1849 Stars with Proper Motion exceeding 0.5" annually, Lund Press, Minneapolis (Mn), 1955 ([1])

LHS – Luyten Half-Second catalogue

Luyten, W. J., Catalogue of stars with proper motions exceeding 0"5 annually, University of Minnesota, 1979 ([2])

LTT – Luyten Two-Tenths catalogue

Luyten, W. J. Luyten's Two Tenths. A catalogue of 9867 stars in the Southern Hemisphere with proper motions exceeding 0".2 annually, Minneapolis, 1957; A catalogue of 7127 stars in the Northern Hemisphere with proper motions exceeding 0".2 annually``, Minneapolis, 1961; also supplements 1961–1962. ([3][4][5][6])

NLTT – New Luyten Two-Tenths catalogue

Luyten, W. J., New Luyten Catalogue of stars with proper motions larger than two tenths of an arcsecond (NLTT), Univ. of Minnesota, 1979, supplement 1980 ([7][8])

LPM – Luyten Proper-Motion catalogue

Luyten, W. J., Proper Motion Survey with the 48 inch Schmidt Telescope, University of Minnesota, 1963–1981
LP numbers: L in zones −45 to −89 deg.; LP in zones +89 to −44 deg.

Around the same time period, Henry Lee Giclas worked on a similar series of catalogues:

Giclas, H. L., et al., Lowell Proper Motion Survey, Lowell Observatory Bulletin, 1971–1979 ([9])


The ubvyβ Photoelectric Photometric Catalogue is a compilation of previously published photometric data. Published in 1998, the catalogue includes 63,316 stars surveyed through 1996.[48]

Successors to USNO-A, USNO-B, NOMAD, UCAC and Others

Stars evolve and move over time, making catalogues evolving, impermanent databases at even the most rigorous levels of production. The USNO catalogues are the most current and widely used astrometric catalogues available at present, and include USNO products such as USNO-B (the successor to USNO-A), NOMAD, UCAC and others in production or narrowly released. Some users may see specialized catalogues (more recent versions of the above), tailored catalogues, interferometrically-produced cataloges, dynamic catalogues, and those with updated positions, motions, colors, and improved errors. Catalogue data is continually collected at the Naval Observatory dark-sky facility, NOFS; and the latest refined, updated catalogues are reduced and produced by NOFS and the USNO. See the USNO Catalog and Image Servers for more information and access.[33][49]

See also


  1. ^ Chadwick (2005), p. 115
  2. ^ Forman & Quirke (1996), pp. 60–61, 116–117
  3. ^ Kanas (2007), p. 40
  4. ^ North (1995), pp. 30–31
  5. ^ Horowitz (1998), pp. 168–171
  6. ^ North (1995), p. 32
  7. ^ a b c Rogers (1998)
  8. ^ Liverington (2003), p. 30
  9. ^ Liverington (2003), p. 31
  10. ^ Ridpath, I. "Ptolemy's Almagest". Ian Ridpath's Star Tales.
  11. ^ Newton 1977; Rawlins 1982
  12. ^ Ridpath, I. "Al-Sufi's constellations". Ian Ridpath's Star Tales.
  13. ^ Ridpath, I. "Tycho Brahe's great star catalogue". Ian Ridpath's Star Tales.
  14. ^ Kanas (2007), pp. 38–40
  15. ^ Sun & Kistemaker (1997), p. 16
  16. ^ Sun & Kistemaker (1997), pp. 16–18
  17. ^ Sun & Kistemaker (1997), pp. 18–19
  18. ^ Cullen (1980), pp. 46ff
  19. ^ Peng (2000)
  20. ^ Sun & Kistemaker (1997), p. 18
  21. ^ Sun & Kistemaker (1997), pp. 21–22
  22. ^ Kanas (2007), p. 23
  23. ^ de Crespigny (2007), p. 1050
  24. ^ Kanas (2007), pp. 40–41
  25. ^ Dallal (1999), p. 164
  26. ^ Kepple & Sanner (1998), p. 18
  27. ^ Frommert, H.; Kronberg, C. (17 July 2006). "Abd-al-Rahman Al Sufi". Observatoire de Paris. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  28. ^ Frommert, H.; Kronberg, C. (11 March 2004). "The Large Magellanic Cloud". Observatoire de Paris. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  29. ^ Severen (1981), pp. 8–12
  30. ^ "BSC5P – Bright Star Catalog". HEASARC/GSFC. 8 November 2004. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  31. ^ "PMM Project - Star Catalogs". United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  32. ^ "The NOMAD Catalog". United States Naval Observatory. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  33. ^ a b "USNO Image and Catalog Archive Server". United States Naval Observatory. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  34. ^ "Data Release scenario". Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  35. ^ Gaia Archive
  36. ^ Gaia space telescope plots a billion stars, Jonathan Amos, BBC, July 14, 2016
  37. ^ Gaia's billion-star map hints at treasures to come, ESA press release, September 13, 2016
  38. ^ "Gaia Data Release 1 (Gaia DR1)". 14 September 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  39. ^ "Data Release 1". 15 September 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  40. ^ Overbye, Dennis (1 May 2018). "Gaia's Map of 1.3 Billion Stars Makes for a Milky Way in a Bottle". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  41. ^ You Are Here: Scientists Unveil Precise Map Of More Than A Billion Stars
  42. ^ "Gaia Data Release 2 (Gaia DR2)". 25 April 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  43. ^ "Selected asteroids detected by Gaia between August 2014 and May 2016". Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  44. ^ "Detailed Description of III/227". Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  45. ^ "Stellar Catalogs". The Amateur Sky Survey. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  46. ^ "Ross". Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  47. ^ "Wolf". Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  48. ^ Hauk & Mermilliod (1998)
  49. ^ "Optical/IR Products". United States Naval Observatory. Retrieved 22 August 2012.


Further reading

External links

100 Aquarii

100 Aquarii is a star in the zodiac constellation of Aquarius. The designation is from the star catalogue of English astronomer John Flamsteed, first published in 1712.

6 Andromedae

6 Andromedae is an astrometric binary star system in the northern constellation of Andromeda. The designation comes from the star catalogue of John Flamsteed, first published in 1712. Its apparent visual magnitude is 5.91, which is just bright enough to be visible to the naked eye under good seeing conditions. Based upon an annual parallax shift of 29.12 mas as seen from Earth, it is around 112 light years from the Sun. It is moving closer to the Sun with a radial velocity of −32.4 km/s. The system has a relatively high proper motion, advancing across the celestial sphere at the rate of 0.272 arc seconds per annum.This is a single-lined spectroscopic binary with an orbital period of 9.2 years and an eccentricity of 0.3. Some early observations of the star gave it a subgiant luminosity class and it was published in the Bright Star Catalogue as spectral class F5 IV. More modern measurements identify the visible component as an F-type main-sequence star with a stellar classification of F5 V. The star is an estimated 2.9 billion years old with 1.3 times the mass of the Sun. It is radiating 2.8 times the Sun's luminosity from its photosphere at an effective temperature of around 6,425 K. 6 Andromedae displays an infrared excess at a wavelength of 22 μm, which may indicate a circumstellar disk of warm dusty debris.The mass of the secondary component is roughly at or above that of the Sun. If it were a single, ordinary star, it should be readily visible as it would be just one magnitude fainter that the primary. The lack of conspicuous ultraviolet emission appears to rule out a white dwarf companion, so it may instead itself be a binary system consisting of two smaller stars having an orbital period between a week and a year.

Aitken Double Star Catalogue

The Aitken Double Star Catalogue, or ADS, is a star catalogue of double stars. It was compiled by Robert Grant Aitken and published in 1932 in two volumes, under the name New general catalogue of double stars within 120° of the North Pole. It contains measurements of 17,180 double stars north of declination −30°. Entries in this catalogue are generally referred to by an index number prefixed with the letters ADS.

The catalog was a successor to the Burnham Double Star Catalogue and was based on observations compiled by Sherburne Wesley Burnham from 1906 to 1912, and by Eric Doolittle from 1912 to 1919. Aitken began work on the catalog shortly after Doolittle's death in 1920. The catalog contains observations made up to 1927.

Boss General Catalogue

Boss General Catalogue (GC, sometimes General Catalogue) is an astronomical catalogue containing 33,342 stars. It was compiled by Benjamin Boss and published in the United States in 1936. Its original name was General Catalogue of 33,342 Stars and it superseded the previous Preliminary General Catalogue of 6,188 Stars for the Epoch 1900 published in 1910 by Benjamin's father Lewis Boss.

Bright Star Catalogue

The Bright Star Catalogue, also known as the Yale Catalogue of Bright Stars or Yale Bright Star Catalogue, is a star catalogue that lists all stars of stellar magnitude 6.5 or brighter, which is roughly every star visible to the naked eye from Earth. The catalog contains 9,110 objects, of which 9,095 are stars, 11 are novae or supernovae, and 4 are non-stellar objects; the non-stellar objects are the globular clusters 47 Tucanae (designated HR 95) and NGC 2808 (HR 3671), and the open clusters NGC 2281 (HR 2496) and Messier 67 (HR 3515).The catalogue is fixed in number of entries, but its data is maintained, and it is appended with a comments section about the objects that has been steadily enhanced since the Yale astronomer Frank Schlesinger published the first version in 1930. The version of 1991 was the fifth in order, a version that implied a considerable enhancement of the comments section, to a little more than the size of the catalogue itself. This most recent edition, in addition to several previous editions, was compiled and edited by Ellen Dorrit Hoffleit of Yale University.Although the abbreviation for the catalog is BS or YBS, citations of stars indexed in the catalog use HR before the catalog number, after the catalog's 1908 predecessor, the Harvard Revised Photometry Catalogue produced by the Harvard College Observatory. The original Harvard Photometry was published in 1884 by Edward Charles Pickering, which contained about 4,000 stars. Following its release, Pickering promoted a broader stellar survey that would include stars from the southern celestial hemisphere. This photometry work was carried out by Solon I. Bailey between 1889 and 1891, leading to the publication of the Revised Harvard Photometry in 1908. The new catalogue contained stars down to magnitude 6.5 in both hemispheres. The work was then continued by John A. Parkhurst up through the 1920s.

Catalog of Components of Double and Multiple Stars

The Catalog of Components of Double and Multiple Stars, or CCDM, is an astrometric star catalogue of double and multiple stars. It was made by Jean Dommanget and Omer Nys at the Royal Observatory of Belgium in order to provide an input catalogue of stars for the Hipparcos mission. The published first edition of the catalog, released in 1994, has entries for 74,861 components of 34,031 double and multiple stars; the second edition, in 2002, has been expanded to provide entries for 105,838 components of 49,325 double and multiple stars. The catalog lists positions, magnitudes, spectral types, and proper motions for each component.

Chen Zhuo

Chen Zhuo (fl. 3rd century) was a Chinese astronomer who lived in the Three Kingdoms period (220–280) of China. He served as an imperial astronomer in the state of Eastern Wu (222–280). He collected the works of earlier astronomers of the Han dynasty and combined them into a single system. His star catalogue listed 1,464 stars in 283 constellations. His works were lost over the course of history, but information on his system of constellations survives in Tang dynasty records, notably by Qutan Xida.


In astronomy, Durchmusterung or Bonner Durchmusterung (BD), is the comprehensive astrometric star catalogue of the whole sky, compiled by the Bonn Observatory (Germany) from 1859 to 1903.The name comes from Durchmusterung ("run-through examination"), a German word used for a systematic survey of objects or data. The term has sometimes been used for other astronomical surveys, including not only stars but also the search for other celestial objects. Special tasks are the celestial scanning in electromagnetic wavelengths which are shorter or longer than visible light waves.

Gliese Catalogue of Nearby Stars

The Gliese Catalogue of Nearby Stars is a modern star catalogue of stars located within 25 parsecs (81.54 ly) of the Earth.

Guide Star Catalog

The Guide Star Catalog (GSC), also known as the Hubble Space Telescope, Guide Catalog (HSTGC), is a star catalog compiled to support the Hubble Space Telescope with targeting off-axis stars. GSC-I contained approximately 20,000,000 stars with apparent magnitudes of 6 to 15. GSC-II contains 945,592,683 stars out to magnitude 21. As far as possible, binary stars and non-stellar objects have been excluded or flagged as not meeting the requirements of Fine Guidance Sensors. This is the first full sky star catalog created specifically for navigation in outer space.

Index Catalogue of Visual Double Stars

The Index Catalogue of Visual Double Stars, or IDS, is a catalog of double stars. It was published by Lick Observatory in 1963 and contains measurements for 64,250 objects, covering the entire sky. The database used to construct this catalog was later transferred from Lick Observatory to the United States Naval Observatory, where it became the basis for the Washington Double Star Catalog.

List of astronomical catalogues

An astronomical catalogue is a list or tabulation of astronomical objects, typically grouped together because they share a common type, morphology, origin, means of detection, or method of discovery. Astronomical catalogs are usually the result of an astronomical survey of some kind.

New Catalogue of Suspected Variable Stars

The New Catalogue of Suspected Variable Stars (NSV) is a star catalogue containing 14,811 stars which, although suspected to be variable, were not given variable star designations prior to 1980. It was published in 1982.

PPM Star Catalogue

The PPM Star Catalogue (Positions and Proper Motions Star Catalogue) is the successor of the SAO Catalogue. It contains precise positions and proper motions of 378,910 stars on the whole sky in the J2000/FK5 coordinate system.

It is designed to represent as closely as possible the IAU (1976) coordinate system on the sky, as defined by the FK5 star catalogue. Thus, the PPM is an extension of the FK5 system to higher star densities and fainter magnitudes.

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Star Catalog

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Star Catalog is an astrometric star catalogue. It was published by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in 1966 and contains 258,997 stars. The catalogue was

compiled from various previous astrometric catalogues, and contains only stars to about ninth magnitude for

which accurate proper motions were known. Names in the SAO catalogue start with the letters SAO, followed by a number. The numbers are assigned following 18 ten-degree bands of declination, with stars sorted by right ascension within each band.

Stellar designations and names

In astronomy, stars have a variety of different stellar designations and names, including catalogue designations, current and historical proper names, and foreign language names.

Only a tiny minority of known stars have proper names; all others have only designations from various catalogues or lists, or no identifier at all. Hipparchus in the 2nd century BC enumerated about 850 naked-eye stars. Johann Bayer in 1603 listed about twice this number. Only in the 19th century did star catalogues list the naked-eye stars exhaustively. The Bright Star Catalogue, which is a star catalogue listing all stars of apparent magnitude 6.5 or brighter, or roughly every star visible to the naked eye from Earth, contains 9,096 stars. The most voluminous modern catalogues list on the order of a billion stars, out of an estimated total of 200 to 400 billion in the Milky Way.

Proper names may be historical, often transliterated from Arabic or Chinese names. Such transliterations can vary so there may be multiple spellings. A smaller number of names have been introduced since the Middle Ages, and a few in modern times as nicknames have come into popular use, for example Sualocin for α Delphini and Navi for γ Cassiopeiae.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has begun a process to select and formalise unique proper names for the brighter naked-eye stars and for other stars of popular interest. To the IAU, name refers to the (usually colloquial) term used for a star in everyday speech, while "designation is solely alphanumerical" and used almost exclusively in official catalogues and for professional astronomy. Many of the names and some of the designations in use today were inherited from the time before the IAU existed. Other designations are being added all the time. As of the start of 2019, the IAU had decided on a little over 300 proper names, mostly for the brighter naked-eye stars.


Uranometria is the short title of a star atlas produced by Johann Bayer.

It was published in Augsburg in 1603 by Christoph Mang (Christophorus Mangus) under the full title Uranometria : omnium asterismorum continens schemata, nova methodo delineata, aereis laminis expressa. This translates to "Uranometria, containing charts of all the constellations, drawn by a new method and engraved on copper plates". The word "Uranometria" derives from Urania, Muse of the heavens and "uranos" (oυρανός) the Greek word for sky / heavens. A literal translation of "Uranometria" is "Measuring the Heavens" (to be compared with "Geometry"-"Geometria" in Greek, literally translated to "Measuring the Earth").

It was the first atlas to cover the entire celestial sphere.

Washington Double Star Catalog

The Washington Double Star Catalog, or WDS, is a catalog of double stars, maintained at the United States Naval Observatory. The catalog contains positions, magnitudes, proper motions and spectral types and has entries for (as of June 2017) 141,743 pairs of double stars. The catalog also includes multiple stars. In general, a multiple star with n components will be represented by entries in the catalog for n-1 pairs of stars.

Zij-i Sultani

Zīj-i Sulṭānī (Persian: زیجِ سلطانی‎) is a Zij astronomical table and star catalogue that was published by Ulugh Beg in 1438-1439. It was the joint product of the work of a group of Muslim astronomers working under the patronage of Ulugh Beg at Samarkand's Ulugh Beg Observatory. These astronomers included Jamshīd al-Kāshī and Ali Qushji, among others.

The Zij-i-Sultani is generally considered the most accurate and extensive star catalogue up to its time, surpassing its predecessors, including Ptolemy's work, Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi's Book of Fixed Stars, and the Maragheh observatory's Zij-i Ilkhani. It was not surpassed until the work of Taqi al-Din and Tycho Brahe in the 16th century.

The serious errors which Ulugh Beg found in previous Zij star catalogues (many of the earlier ones were simply updates on Ptolemy's work, adding the effect of precession to the longitudes) induced him to redetermine the positions of 992 fixed stars, to which he added 27 stars from al-Sufi's Book of Fixed Stars (964), which were too far south for observation from Samarkand. This catalogue, one of the most original of the Middle Ages, was edited by Thomas Hyde at Oxford in 1665 under the title Tabulae longitudinis et latitudinis stellarum fixarum ex observatione Ulugbeighi, by G. Sharpe in 1767, and in 1843 by Francis Baily in vol. xiii. of the Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In 1437, Ulugh Beg determined the length of the sidereal year as 365.2570370...d = 365d 6h 10m 8s (an error +58s). In his measurements over many years he used a 50 m high gnomon. This value was improved by 28s, 88 years later in 1525 by Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), who appealed to the estimation of Thabit ibn Qurra (826-901), which was accurate to +2s. However, Ulugh Beg later measured another more precise value as 365d 5h 49m 15s, which has an error of +25s, making it more accurate than Copernicus' estimate which had an error of +30s. Ulugh Beg also determined the Earth's axial tilt as 23;30,17 degrees in sexagesimal notation, which in decimal notation converts to 23.5047 degrees.

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