Catalogues of Fundamental Stars

The Catalogue of Fundamental Stars is a series of six astrometric catalogues of high precision positional data for a small selection of stars to define a celestial reference frame, which is a standard coordinate system for measuring positions of stars.

Publication history

The six volumes in the fundamental catalogue series are as follows:

The Fundamental-Catalog (FC) was compiled by Auwers and published in two volumes. The first volume, published in 1897, contains 539 stars and the second, published in 1883, contains 83.[1]

The Neuer Fundamentalkatalog (NFK) was compiled by J. Peters and contained 925 stars.[1]

The Third Fundamental Catalogue (FK3) was compiled by Kopff and published in 1937, with a supplement in 1938.[1]

The Fourth Fundamental Catalogue (FK4) was published in 1963, and contained 1,535 stars in various equinoxes from 1950.0 to 1975.0.[1]

The Fourth Fundamental Catalogue's Supplement (FK4S) was an amendment to FK4 that contains a further 1,987 stars.[1]

The Fifth Fundamental Catalogue (FK5) was a 1988 update of FK4 with new positions for the 1,535 stars. It was superseded by the quasar-based International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF).

The Fifth Fundamental Catalogue Extension (FK5), published in 1991, added 3,117 new stars.

The Sixth Fundamental Catalogue (FK6) is a 2000 update of FK5 correlated with the ICRF through the Hipparcos satellite. It comes in two parts: FK6(I) and FK6(III). FK6(I) contains 878 stars, and FK6(III) contains 3,272 stars. Both are updated and amended versions of FK5, using Hipparcos catalogue data.[2]


See also

Astronomical Calculation Institute


  1. Walter, Hans G.; Sovers, Ojars J. (2000). Astrometry of fundamental catalogues : the evolution from optical to radio reference frames. Berlin: Springer. p. 38. ISBN 9783540674368. OCLC 43919630.
  2. ReadMe for Sixth Catalogue of Fundamental Stars (FK6) at VizieR Service at Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg
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