IAU Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams

Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams -- Image credits

Line Charges

Historically, the items subject to line charges have generally been those relating to other than discovery and initial confirmation of comets, unusual minor planets (most of which are now covered instead on the Minor Planet Electronic Circulars anyway), new natural satellites of planets, novae, and supernovae (all objects for which the Central Bureau, sometimes in collaboration with the Minor Planet Center, assigns provisional or permanent designations, as part of its IAU mandate in announcing discoveries of such new objects).

A few years ago, the Central Bureau dropped line charges for initial reports of unusual outbursts of objects at all wavelengths -- though follow-up reports may be subject to line charges if publication is requested on the printed IAU Circulars, which are expensive to issue (inquire of the Editor if not certain; requests for lowering or eliminating line charges on a per-item basis are routinely approved). Professional astronomers with financial difficulty regarding paying line charges are given wide latitude, and such (potential) contributors should contact the CBAT Director to request a reduction or elimination of line charges; such requests are usually honored. Note that announcement of outbursts of objects on the non-printed CBETs are not levied line charges; line charges are intended to help defray the high printing costs of the IAU Circulars only. Nowadays, for example, most supernovae discoveries and follow-up information appear first on CBETs; if contributors desire items to appear (also?) on printed IAU Circulars, they may be levied line charges. Some discoveries reported well past the event -- such as the finding of a recurrent nova on plates from decades ago -- would be assessed line charges if publication on printed IAU Circulars is desired, as opposed (or in addition) to the non-printed CBETs.

Contributions by amateur astronomers that are accepted for publication are generally exempt from line charges (though much of this material also now appears only on the non-printed CBETs.

The current line-charge rate for those chargeable items published on the IAU Circulars is $20.00 per line (in the printed version) plus $50.00 per item (the latter reduced to $40.00 for shared items). The charges are levied on the printed (TeX) version of the IAU Circulars; one can estimate the charges by taking a plain ASCII text version of the item and assuming an average of 69 characters per line (including spaces). Income from line charges go to help run the CBAT, but they are levied only on the printed IAU Circulars (not on CBETs) because of the higher cost of printing the IAUCs.

On receipt of line-charge payments, the CBAT will supply contributors with five copies of the printed Circulars containing their contributions.

While payment of line charges have normally been permitted to be made by credit card, this procedure is temporarily unavailable in early 2008. We hope that it will be available again soon.

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