IAU Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams

Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams -- Image credits

How to Submit Scientific Items for Publication in the IAUCs and CBETs

The IAUCs and CBETs 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). Details on the current line charges are available. Note that wide latitude is given to those who have financial difficulty in paying line charges, so a contributor should not feel that he/she should not submit an item due to the line-charge policy but rather ask the CBAT if such charges can be waived.

IMPORTANT: When submitting an item for possible publication, please provide a postal address to which any necessary line-charge invoice should be mailed. Submissions omitting this information will be subject to delay. Do not send any html encoding in your e-mail, as this may cause delays (or even accidental deletion).

If your item is rather lengthy (for example, as in the case of reporting long lists of faint confirmed supernovae for announcement), it may be more appropriate to publish the item only on the unlimited-length, electronic-only CBETs rather on the limited-length, printed IAUCs. A brief mention of the CBET content may then be published as a same-titled abstract on an IAU Circular for a printed record of the report.

For discovery reports, please see our object-specific instructions.

If you are e-mailing your submission directly to cbatiau@eps.harvard.edu, please note the following:

  • Do not send files that require a particular wordprocessor or DTP package. If you must use such software, please export your submission as text before sending, but it is likely to be delayed by many days before being reduced to plain ASCII text (and it is highly likely in this day of spam e-mail to be deleted altogether without further consideration); it is strongly recommended that if you cannot send plain ASCII text by computer e-mail that you send a fax or write a postal-mail letter instead. ASCII text also means that you put in HARD carriage returns MANUALLY every 60-70 characters on a line -- i.e., do not let your word processor do this for you, as word processors often put in soft carriage returns that are omitted in e-mail transfer (leaving the text strung out on very long lines).
    • Please read this to see how to represent non-standard characters such as diacritical marks, degree symbols, raised or superscripted letters or numbers, Greek letters, etc.
  • Do not encode the text in any fashion--send it as plain text.
  • ALERT! We have introduced additional screening software to block spam e-mail, due to its prolific increase; it is strongly recommended that those sending e-mail to the CBAT (or ICQ or MPC) remove ALL html-encoded text, as we cannot read such text easily (we do not use web browsers for reading e-mail) and such text may be deleted by our anti-spam software. (This means: send plain ASCII text *only*, *not* plain ASCII text plus html-encoded text in same message.) Additionally, you should put some text in the subject header that mentions what sort of report and what sort of object is included in the text of the message (e-mails with blank subject lines are filtered out by out anti-spam software as probably spam). [11/14/03]
  • Any supporting images should be UUENCODED.
    • No images should be sent until requested by Bureau staff.

If reporting an item that will be subject to line charges, please ensure that you have indicated the mailing address to which the line-charge invoice should be sent.


Please try to follow the IAUC conventions regarding textual items (e.g., affiliations, units, references, defining acronymns, etc.). Specifically:
  • If you are a professional astronomer and are including a new proposed designation for a newly reported object, to avoid delays, please use IAU-approved designations (see information on IAU designations and IAU recommendations for designations; an example is SDSS designations). All designations with prefixes exceeding one letter must have a space inserted between the prefix and the catalogued number. Official genitive forms of the constellation names are given at the IAU website.
  • To avoid delays, please use standard IAUC procedures for listing authors (first and middle initials, last full name) 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).
  • For printed IAUCs (vs. electronic-only CBETs, which do not have space constraints), the number of "author" names should be kept to a minimum due to space constraints on the final printed cards. The person actually contributing the information is the only name required for publication, if a group is involved; at the option of the contributor, other people who made observations, contributed to discovery of an object, 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 (the person submitting the text to the CBAT) to the very beginning if deemed necessary. Except for discoverers of new comets, novae, or very bright supernovae (mag < 10) -- where the press may be interested in full names -- first and middle names should be reduced to single initials (first letters) only. [Where IAU guidelines suggest that credit for discovery goes to the entire team (as in the case of large spacecraft teams; see http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/rules.html), the contributor will normally be the team leader unless the team leader delegates this task to another team member; thus, while a published item may begin with "(Team-leader name) and the (spacecraft name) Science Team reports ...", discovery credit is assumed to not rest with the team leader but rather with the entire team, the initial name being a practical addition to the item to identify the actual person submitting the item to the CBAT for publication.]
  • 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 [no punctuation between journal name and volume number] 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. 252, 16.) References to previous IAUC publications should be given as (IAUC 9999). Some standard journal abbreviations used on IAUCs: Ap.J. = Astrophysical Journal; A.J. = Astronomical Journal; MNRAS = Monthly Notices; A.Ap. = Astronomy and Astrophysics. Book titles should be given as: Johnson (1900, title, Cairo: Crescent Press, p. 222), or Johnson (1901, in title, ed. by Thompson et al., Berlin: Springer, p. 333). [The use of WWW URLs are strongly discouraged, as most WWW pages cannot be guaranteed to be kept going longer than a few months or years, and the IAUCs are a long-term archival publication, meaning that it is preferable that all citations be to references that will be available for centuries to come.]
  • To avoid delays, please use IAU-approved units (s for seconds, optical wavelengths in nm, instrument apertures in meters, etc.). Give positions to proper number of digits (R.A. is normally given to one more significant digit than Decl. for declinations within about 70 degrees of the celestial equator). Give times to decimals of a day in Universal Time; use of JD is discouraged, but be sure to never use MJD. Dates should be given in the order YEAR MONTH DATE.
  • Use TeX notation for exponents, subscripts, and special math characters. Be very explicit for displaying any chemical transitions (in the text) -- that have subscripts or superscripts -- as to how these should be displayed. Spell out "degrees" instead of using the special control character that makes a superscript "o". Write positions thus: R.A. = 23h23m23s.23, Decl. = +23o23'23".2 (equinox YYYY.Y).
  • Be clear with regard to technical abbreviations that are presumed known by the general readership; a good example is in the specification of chemical lines, which many astronomers routinely utilize -- but often they eliminate the necessary space between the two-letter chemical-element abbreviation and the roman numerals customarily used in astronomy to denote ionization state: be sure to write "Fe II" or "Si II" or "Ni II", and not "FeII" or "SiII" or "NiII". Likewise, please put a space between "SN" and the supernova designation, and put a space between any designation prefix that exceeds 1 letter and the numerical catalogue value that follows, and put spaces between mathematical delimiters (such as the symbols for "times" and "plus-or-minus') and the values before and after them, rather than running them all together.
  • 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):

We regret that the WWW report form ceased to function following an upgrade of the OS on the webserver (note that no recompilation or relinking was performed...). Until such time as this form is fixed, use this mailto link or your own e-mail software to send messages.

If you send your discovery report or proposed IAUC item via e-mail, but please do not send e-mail encoded in HTML or in any kind of PC-software binary language -- only in plain ASCII text. Especially if using a PC, please physical enter a RETURN character (by typing your RETURN or ENTER key) at the end of each on-screen line (i.e., after every 70 characters or so) to prevent very long lines being mailed.


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