Sixth Catalog of Orbits of Visual Binary Stars

William I. Hartkopf & Brian D. Mason

U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, DC

(catalog updated nightly)

This catalog continues the series of compilations of visual binary star orbits previously published by Finsen (1934, 1938), Worley (1963), Finsen & Worley (1970), Worley & Heintz (1983), and most recently by Hartkopf, Mason, & Worley (2001) in their Fifth Catalog of Orbits of Visual Binary Stars. That catalog, containing orbits published through 1 January 2001, was one of four double star catalogs maintained at the USNO that were written to CD-ROM in 2001 and distributed. While that CD is now long out of print, a new version, containing catalog data as of 30 June 2006, is now in production and will be available upon request. Although still available on the web as well, the Fifth Catalog has been supplanted by the Sixth Catalog, so is no longer updated.

As of 30 June 2006, the Sixth Catalog included 2,024 orbits of 1,888 systems (from a "master file" currently containing 5,693 orbits). All orbits have been graded on a 1 - 5 scale, as in earlier catalogs; the grading scheme has been modified, however, as described below. Ephemerides are included for all orbits, as are plots including all associated data in the current Washington Double Star database.

Note: The format of the catalog was extensively modifed as of 1 March 2005. A description of the new format is given here.


Your comments regarding either style or substance are welcome. Please inform the authors of any errors you run across in the catalog, as well as missing orbits, etc. We would also welcome notification (and/or copies) of any newly published elements.