He was born to Lewis Boss and Helen M. Boss. After attending The Albany Academy, he graduated from Harvard University in 1901 and worked at Dudley Observatory until 1905. Following a year at the U. S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., he became director of the U.S. Naval Observatory at Samoa, 1906-1908 and helped organized the expedition to Flint Island to observe the 1908 solar eclipse.
In 1908 he joined the Department of Meridian Astrometry of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, working as a secretary until 1912, then acting director until 1915 when he became director. He also served as director of Dudley Observatory since 1915. His primary work was in positional astronomy, particularly in the positions and motions of the stars.
His father served as editor of the Astronomical Journal from 1909 until his death 1912, whereupon Benjamin undertook the duty until 1941. In 1936 his General Catalogue of 33,342 Stars was published by the Carnegie Institution of Washington, DC. This publication replaced the Preliminary General Catalogue of 6,188 stars of Lewis Boss, and it became known as the Boss General Catalogue. (Star designations that began with GC are from this catalogue.)
- Benjamin Boss et al. (1936). General Catalogue of 33342 stars for the epoch 1950 (1st edition ed.). Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication. Retrieved 2007-07-23.
- Boss, Benjamin (2007). "Benjamin Boss". Dudley Observatory. Retrieved 2007-07-23.