Mission Statement for the Working Group on Maintenance of the Visual Double Star Database

The mission of the Working Group on Maintenance of the Visual Double Star Database and Catalogs (henceforth WG) is to produce and systematically update databases and catalogs dedicated to visual double and multiple stars, as specified in van de Kamp (1966IAUTB..12..267V). In 1964 the visual double star database was transferred from Lick Observatory to the USNO, where it has remained. The database and catalogs on visual double and multiple stars currently maintained at USNO include:

Since they represent fundamental tools for studying long-term motions and possible dynamical interactions, it is essential that catalogs be updated regularly and that members of the astronomical community, upon request, be provided with all available data on pairs of interest. The USNO-based editors are charged with instituting these updates and with providing information to the user in a timely manner.

It is however also essential that data entered into any of the catalogs be of a sufficient quality to be of use in analysis of relative motions, duplicity surveys, and other studies. The editors will work with those publishing relevant data to ensure that all necessary information is provided and that any perceived errors are rectified if possible. The editors maintain the right to exclude data from the catalogs if, after examination, they conclude that the data are of insufficient quality, or are inconsistent with other data at such a scale that it may discredit the catalogue's utility for scientific purposes.

It is expected that all day-to-day activities in maintaining these catalogs will remain under the purview of the editors. The WG, however, may be called upon to lend their expertise in discussions of major format change or other changes to any of the catalogs, and to help resolve any disputes which may arise between authors and editors concerning nomenclature, rejected data, or equivalent matters.