Observing and Measuring Visual Double Stars

Observing and Measuring Visual Double Stars book cover

2ND EDITION, Edited by R. W. Argyle.

There are more binary stars visible in the night sky than there are single stars, and there are enormous numbers of wide, faint pairs under-observed or not observed at all—professional astronomers just don't have the available time to study them. This is where amateur astronomers can help. Bob Argyle, a professional astronomer at Cambridge University, shows where enthusiastic amateur observers can best direct their efforts. The book caters for the use of every level of equipment, from simple commercial telescopes to micrometers and CCD cameras. Amateur astronomers who have gone beyond "sight-seeing” and want to make a genuine scientific contribution will find this a fascinating and rewarding field—and this book provides all the background and practical information that's needed. Includes a free CDROM represents an informative snapshot of continually evolving catalogues, including; the United States Naval Observatory catalogues, the WDS, the Second Delta-m catalogue, the Fourth Interferometric catalogue and the Sixth orbital catalogue to be used in conjunction with the USNO website.

The second edition of Observing and Measuring Visual Double Stars contains a significant amount of completely new material inspired by the work done by observers since the first edition was published. Fifteen skilled and experienced astronomers have contributed chapters on their own specialization in the various fields. These include how to use the Internet to carry out precise astronomical measurement, an excellent guide to sketching double stars, and information on how to image double stars of unequal brightness. This new edition is the definitive book for those who are serous about this fascinating aspect of astronomy!


2nd edition or eBook available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Double Star Reader: Selected Papers from the Journal of Double Star Observations

The Double Star Reader book cover

Edited by R. Kent Clark and Russell M. Genet.

The majority of stars are gravitationally bound systems of two or more stars that are only distinguishable through a telescope. Their orbital periods range from days to millennia, often making double star research a multi-generational endeavor. Thus, astronomers today contribute measurements of systems that have been observed, in many cases, for centuries. Since the fundamentals of double star research are straight-forward and entry equipment is low cost, double star research is open to amateur and student astronomers. This book exposes the reader to a diverse sampling from the Journal of Double Star Observations detailing both historical and modern observations as well as the techniques and technologies used by amateurs, students, and professionals.

Book Editors of The Double Star Reader



Available for advance order from Collins Foundation Press for $29.95.


Washington Double Star Catalog (WDS)

The world's principal database of astrometric double and multiple star information, updated nightly. Mason, Wycoff, and Hartkopf, 2001.

"Neglected Doubles" Observing Lists

Lists of unconfirmed binaries and systems which have not been resolved for many years. A section of the Washington Double Star Catalog.

Fourth Catalog of Interferometric Measurements of Binary Stars

All published measures of binary and multiple star systems obtained by high-resolution techniques, updated frequently. Hartkopf, Mason, and McAlister, 2001.

Sixth Catalog of Orbits of Visual Binary Stars

Series of compilations of visual binary star orbits, updated frequently. Hartkopf and Mason, 2001.

Calibration Candidates

Lists of binaries which might be used for scale calibration purposes. A section of the Sixth Catalog of Orbits of Visual Binary Stars.

Catalog of Orbits and Ephemerides of Visual Double Stars

Docobo, Ling, Prieto, Costa, Costado, and Magdalena, 2001.

Multiple Star Catalog

Last update April 2010. Tokovinin 1997.

USNO Third Photometric Magnitude Difference Catalog

Updated nightly. Mason & Wycoff 2001.

USNO Catalog of Rectilinear Elements

Updated occasionally. Hartkopf & Mason 2011.

SIMBAD Astronomical Database

Provides basic data, cross-identifications, bibliography and measurements for astronomical objects outside the solar system. Can query by object name, coordinates and various criteria.

SIDONIe: Site Informatique des étoiles Doubles de Nice

A database that recovered all the measurements of a handwritten file at the Côte d'Azur Observatory and is updated with new observations.

The SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System

A Digital Library portal for researchers in Astronomy and Physics, operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) under a NASA grant

Optical Long Baseline Interferometry News

A forum for scientists, engineers, and students who share an interest in long baseline stellar interferometry by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

NExScI: NASA Exoplanet Science Institute Headlines

The science operations and analysis center for NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program, which provides tools and archives for the exoplanet community.

NExScI: NASA Exoplanet Science Institute Headlines

The science operations and analysis center for NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program, which provides tools and archives for the exoplanet community.

The General Catalogue of Photometric Data

The GCPD is a comprehensive database of photometric data for more than 80 systems, and their references.