AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 58 Stellar Personalities
HAD Oral, Monday, 2:30-4:00pm, January 9, 2006, Maryland C

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[58.05] S. W. Burnham and the Centennial of the BDS

W.I. Hartkopf, B.D. Mason (U.S. Naval Observatory)

Shelburne Wesley Burnham, stenographer for the U.S. Courts in Chicago and amateur astronomer, became one of the most celebrated double star observers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His monumental 1906 two-volume work, ``A General Catalogue of Double Stars" (a.k.a., the Burnham Double Star or BDS Catalog), was not only a standard reference in the field for a quarter of a century, but formed the basis of Aitken's ``New General Catalogue" (or ADS) in the early 1930's. The ADS was merged with the contemporaneous ``Southern Double Star Catalogue" (SDS) of Innes to create Lick Observatory's ``Index Catalog" (IDS) in the early 1960's, and finally transferred by an old Lick employee, Charles Worley, to the USNO, where it was renamed the ``Washington Double Star Catalog" (WDS) in the 1980's. Now updated nightly on the web, the BDS and its decendents represent one of the oldest continuously maintained catalogs in astronomy (and perhaps in all of science).

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