Northern Hemisphere

The first catalogue of double stars is due to Christian Mayer in 1779 and contains 80 entries. It was the work of Herschel and especially Struve who gave the whole subject a respectability which was lacking. Struve's Mensurae Micrometricae (to give the catalogue its shortened name), which appeared in 1837, was a huge work in more than one respect (Figure 24.1).

The next major catalogue did not come until 1906 when Sherburne Wesley Burnham produced his A General Catalogue of Double Stars within 121 Degrees of the North Pole, published by The Carnegie Institute of Washington. It contains 13,665 systems and is unique in that it includes all known references to the measures contained within. It did, however, include some wide pairs which were not binary but optical in nature.

In 1932, Robert Grant Aitken produced the New General Catalogue of Double Stars within 120 Degrees of the North Pole with 17,180 entries. It is usually known as the ADS. The limits for inclusion were stricter than those of Burnham so Aitken's catalogue contains more true binary systems.

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