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Some Like It Hot, Part 2: The Humphreys catalog of luminous stars

Submitted by Kevin Jardine on 24 April, 2018 - 09:25
Humphreys catalog detail
A detail from the Humphreys catalog of luminous stars. A full all sky image in galactic coordinates is available here.

Roberta Humphreys first published her catalog of luminous stars in her highly cited 1978 paper, Studies of luminous stars in nearby galaxies. I. Supergiants and O stars in the Milky Way [ADS link: 1978ApJS...38..309H].

The catalog was further refined by Cindy Blaha and colleagues and divided into two sections on luminous stars in associations and field stars. There are about 5000 stars in total.

The catalog was completed in 1984 and eventually made available for download from several locations, including NASA and ADS servers. However, over time the catalog disappeared from these servers and for some reason does not appear to have been uploaded to Vizier.

You can click here to download a zip of the catalog files here, along with a SIMBAD cross match I did recently. The cross match includes ids for existing star catalogs like 2MASS, Tycho and UCAC4. The Gaia DR2 dataset will include best neighbour cross matches for these catalogs when it is released, so the cross match file can be used to look up parallaxes for these stars.

I was able to find cross matches for almost all the stars in the Humphreys catalog and will put up a simple face on map of the data set after Gaia DR2 is released. For now you can click here to download an image of the data in the sky with galactic coordinates. Blue dots are O, B and Wolf-Rayet stars. Red dots are cooler stars.