Star Charts

Bonner Durchmusterung Star Catalog
Bonner Durchmusterung (BD), English Bonn Survey, star catalog showing
the positions and apparent magnitudes of 324,188 northern stars.
Compiled at Bonn under the direction of the German astronomer F.W.A. Argelander,
it required 25 years’ work and was published in 1859–62.
The accompanying charts, published in 1863, were the most complete and accurate made until that time.
The catalog, which consisted of 325,037 stars in 1989, was periodically updated and reissued.

  • plotting the positions of the stars in the sky is complex because there are a vast number of them and because they are at hugely different distances.
  • the first modern star charts were the German Bonner Durchmuserung (BD) charts of 1863, which show the positions of 324,189 northern stars. The German word Durchmuserung  means ‘scanning though’.

The 1863 first modern star charts were
the German Bonner Durchmuserung (BD) charts.


  • published 1890 to 1945, the AGK1 chart of the German Astronomical Society showed 200,00 stars.
  • the AGK charts are now on version AGK3 and remain the standard star chart they are compiled from photographs.
  • the measurement of accurate places for huge numbers of stars depends on the careful determination of 1535 stars in the Fundamental Catalog (FK5)
  • photometric catalogues map the stars by magnitude (see star brightness) and colour, as well their position.
  • photographic star atlases do not actually plot the position of every star on paper, but include photos of them in place instead.
  • three main atlases are popluar with astronomers – Norton’s Star Atlas, Tirion Sky Atlas and Photographischer Stern-Atlas.

Star Chart

  • celestial coordinate are the figures that plot a star’s position by its altitude (its angle in degrees from the horizon) and its azimuth (its angle in degrees clockwise around the horizon, starting from north).
  • the ecliptic system does the same, using the ecliptic rather than horizon as a starting point.
  • the equatorial system depends on the celestial equator, and gives figures called right ascension and declination, just like latitude and longitude on Earth.

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