What Kinds of Discovered Objects to Report for Publication on IAUCs
The IAU Circulars
), published by the Central Bureau
for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT), officially announce new discoveries of
supernovae, novae, comets, satellites of major/minor planets,
and other interesting transient astronomical objects (particularly
those that are unusual, such as cataclysmic variables that have outbursts
less frequently than once every year or two, or very unusual variable stars
or non-stellar objects discovered at optical or non-optical wavelengths,
often assessed in consultation with referees who may or may not be members
of Commission 6). The IAUCs
are also the official source giving new IAU designations and
names of such objects as comets, supernovae, satellites of
solar-system planets, and some unusual variable stars such as
novae. Meteors and fireballs,
which are technically part of the earth's atmosphere (and thus
not astronomical), are generally not covered on IAUCs
though some of the more interesting meteor showers (or storms) are
covered if public and scientific interest is high.
Novae in nearby galaxies outside the Milky Way are a particular problem,
because (for example) novae in M31 are relatively common
with respect to those in the Magellanic Clouds or the Milky Way,
which have only a few observed novae each year.
There are roughly a couple dozen novae to be discovered (brighter
than about mag 20) in M31 each year [cf., e.g., Capaccioli
et al. 1989, A.J. 97, 1622;
Hatano et al. 1997, Ap.J. 487, L45; Aguirre 2000,
Sky Tel. 99(6), 80]. Historical precedent has
been therefore to publish announcements of all novae discoveries in
the Milky Way and in the Magellanic Clouds on IAUCs, but
not all discoveries of novae in M31. Occasionally, as space
permits, the IAUCS will publish some information on
newly discovered novae in M31, particularly if they include detailed
information that include precise astrometry and spectroscopic data;
brighter novae in M31 (i.e., those of mag 15 or brighter; cf.
Sharov 1989, Sov. Astron. Lett. 15, 5) will
naturally receive stronger attention.
But traditionally, for many decades, M31 novae discoveries have been
announced in the main astronomical literature in groups, representing
novae discovered over spans of a year or often many years
(e.g., Sharov and Alksnis 1997, Astronomy Letters 23, 540),
and the IBVS
are another proper location for publishing novae
discoveries in other galaxies more promptly. There is also
a new CBAT webpage
for apparent M31 novae.
Faint supernovae suspects (especially those fainter than visual or red
mag 19) can also be problematical. Because of the large numbers of
these objects and the relatively few observers/telescopes able to observe
them, discoverers of such faint objects should be sure that such objects
close to galactic nuclei are in fact not parts of active galactic nuclei
instead of being supernovae (this is a fairly common problem); in particular,
observers of any objects fainter than mag 17 or 18 that are within a couple
of magnitudes of their limiting magnitude for reference frames are encouraged
catalogue by the Vérons. Foreground
variable stars are also relatively commonplace objects in front of (or
near) distant galaxies, and the best way to rule out such foreground
variables is to provide spectroscopic confirmation or else deep images
showing nothing several magnitudes fainter than the supernova suspect.
Supernovae that are confirmed spectroscopically, or that satisfy the
guidelines set down on IAUCs 6737 and 6739, are given permanent
designations and announced on CBETs and/or IAUCs
(and tabulated here at
CBAT supernova catalogue webpage).
Strong candidates that generally are fainter than mag 20 and
lack spectroscopic confirmation are now being provisionally
designated and listed at
the PSN webpage.
The IAUCs also publish scientific contributions of a follow-up nature
regarding astronomical objects of a transient nature. With the exception
of initial announcements and confirming astrometric and/or spectroscopic
information regarding novae and supernovae, published items are subject to
line charges (cf. IAUC 6529).
the current line charges are available.
When sending reports to the CBAT for possible publication,
please try to follow the IAUC conventions regarding textual items (e.g.,
affiliations, units, references, defining acronymns, etc.).
- Remove any and all html-encoding from your e-mail, as we do not use
web browsers to read e-mail; the inclusion of html encoding in your
e-mail may cause messages to be delayed or even deleted by accident.
- To avoid delays, please use IAU-approved designations (see
information on IAU
for designations; an example is
- To avoid delays, please use standard IAUC procedures for listing
authors (first and middle initials, last full name; maximum of three
authors, if possible*) and affiliations (providing FULL institutional
names, not abbreviated names or acronyms unless defined first, with
diacritical marks in TeX form; amateurs should
not give their private observatory name but rather city/town and state/country).
- *Ideally, the "author(s)" whose name(s) appear(s) at the beginning of the
published item should be only the person communicating the item
to the CBAT (and that is almost always only one person) and/or the person(s)
who actually wrote the text to be published. Affiliations need only be
given to these one (or two, or three) people, to save space. Other people
who made observations, reduced data, or contributed in an important way to
discussions involving the published item can be mentioned by name in the
text where appropriate (without affiliations). Please note that we generally
require that the person contributing the item for publication be listed
either as the first name for the item or as one of the co-authors. It
is not appropriate to publish an item contributed by a person whose name
does not appear prominently near the beginning of the item, and the IAUC
editors will add on the name of the contributor to the very beginning if
- Include references as much as possible, to explain any concept that is
not obvious to general astronomy readers; reference to previous items
regarding the same object on IAUCs is particularly encouraged.
- References should be given as follows: last name of author, year of
publication, journal name volume number, page number. (In
the case of two authors, both last names should be given; in the case of
more than two authors, give only the first author's last name, followed by
et al.; example: Clinton et al. 1925, Ap.J.
- To avoid delays, please use IAU-approved units (s for
seconds, optical wavelengths in nm, instrument apertures in meters, etc.);
- Use TeX notation for exponents,
subscripts, and special math characters);
positions (give to proper number of digits -- R.A. usually given
to one more significant digit than Decl., e.g.), and times (give to
decimals of a day in Universal Time; never use MJD), etc.
- Those reporting discoveries of new objects need to give full information
regarding proper sources (atlases, catalogues, etc.) that have been checked,
in order to bolster their evidence.
IMPORTANT NOTICE (2001 Sept. 11):
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