BD - Bonner Durchmusterung


The BD database contains the Bonner Durchmusterung visual survey of stars in the declination zones +89 to -01 degrees. The survey, completed by Argelander and his assistants in the years 1852-1861, was performed and the stars cataloged by allowing the telescope to drift along the mean declination of each zone and recording the positions and magnitudes of stars crosssing the transit line of each field. The goal of the survey was to obtain a position and estimated visual magnitude for every star visible with the 78-mm Bonn telescope. Actual magnitude estimates were made and reported to 0.1 mag for all stars down to 9.5 mag, with fainter stars being assigned to 9.5. Thus, the BD actually contains a rather large number of stars fainter than 10.0 mag. Positions are given to the nearest 0.1 sec in right ascension and 0.1 arcmin in declination.


The name of the star. This name has been created from combining the Catalog Prefix, the Zone the star is found in, and the number of the star itself.

The letters "BD" are included in each record in order to distinguish the BD from all other machine-readable Durchmusterungen. Thus, all of the DM catalogs can conceivably be combined into a single file, and the individual source catalogs will still be identifiable.

The declination zone part of the BD number. The sign is always in byte 3, with preceding zeros on single-digit zones where appropriate.

Sequentially increasing star number within the specified zone.

The Right Ascension of the object.

The Declination of the object.

The galactic longitude of the object.

The galactic latitude of the object.

Identification. This is derived from the code parameter. Upper and lowercase codes are used. All lowercase letters represent supplemental stars added to the catalog in the 1903 or later editions. Uppercase letters and other characters are flags that indicate changes to the original data or to the status of a star in the catalog. They have the following meanings:

   "*"  - Data have been corrected as a result of corrigenda, or there are special
  notes associated with the star.

   "?" - Existence of star was questioned by Kuestner in the 1903 edition or in
  one of his or Sticker's corrigenda lists. Many of these stars contain the "M"
  flag instead of the "?" because they were later investigated as a result of
  other lists (see "M" below).

   "D" - The star has been deleted in a later edition of the catalog. This was
  done by overstriking entries with horizontal lines.

   "M" - The star was noted as "missing" in lists published by Chandler (1896) or
  by Pickering (1907).

The visual magnitude of the star.

Magnitude as estimated by the observer or magnitude code to denote non-numerical entries in the published catalogs. The following codes are used:

  20.0  neb (denoting a nebula);

  30.0  var (denoting variability);

  40.0  nova or nova?;

  50.0  cum (denoting the cumulative [integrated] magnitude estimate for a
  cluster of stars).

BROWSE classification type. The classification is based on the `Type` parameter, if one is available. Otherwise, one has been assigned, or the classification is left blank.


For more detailed descriptions of how the observations were made and for additional statistics of star counts and distributions within each zone, the source references should be consulted. The reader can also find additional information on the compilation and scale of the BD, published in English, in papers by Pickering (1885, see pages 361 and 478; 1892; 1913).

Argelander, F. W. A. 1859-1862, Bonner Sternverzeichniss, erste bis dritte Sek- tion, Astronomischen Beobachtungen auf der Sternwarte des Koeniglichen Rhein., Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat zu Bonn, Bande 3-5.

Becker, F. 1951, Bonner Durchmusterung, Noerdlicher Teil, Deklinations-Zonen -1 bis +89 grade Sternverzeichnis, dritte, berichtigte Auflage (Bonn: Ferd. Duemmlers Verlag).

Contact Person

Questions regarding the BD database table can be addressed to the HEASARC User Hotline.
Page Author: Browse Software Development Team
Last Modified: Thursday, 18-Jul-2002 12:56:07 EDT