International Comet Quarterly

ICQ Guide to Observing Comets

The Guide to Observing Comets was issued in 1997 as a special publication of the International Comet Quarterly. That first edition, which had been in preparation for years and which was issued in an early-draft form to aid observers of comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp), contains the contributions of some 20 comet experts and totals 225 pages. Following a Preface by Dr. Fred L. Whipple, the Guide contains the following chapters: (1) Introduction; (2) Basic Information; (3) Historical Overview of the Observation of Comets [back to antiquity]; (4) Visual Observation of Comets [techniques and procedures for making useful observations]; (5) Non-Visual Observations of Comets at Optical Wavelengths [photography; CCD; spectroscopy; occultations; etc.]; (6) Non-Optical Observations of Comets [infrared, radio, radar, ultraviolet, x-ray, in-situ spacecraft]; (7) Astrometry of Comets [techniques for measuring comet positions]. There are several appendices, A-H, including references, sources on comparison-star magnitudes for use in comet photometry, comet designations, ICQ reporting procedures, glossary, etc.

Unfortunately, in July 1998 we ran out of our printed supply of Guides. If you wish to be alerted when the revised second edition is published, contact the ICQ Editor ( [Note that there is no intention to print additional copies of the first edition because of the forthcoming revised second edition (see below), but it is possible that a limited number of revised-edition copies will be printed at SAO for distribution to serious comet observers.]

Contrary to our earlier plans, we did not produce a second ICQ/SAO edition of the Guide in the latter part of 1997. Rather, we are working on a greatly-revised second edition for publication by a major publisher under a different cover title, hopefully to be available in print no later than the end of 2007.

Index to the CBAT/MPC/ICQ pages.

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