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Format for reporting observations to the Fachgruppe Kometen

The VdS-Fachgruppe Kometen has defined a format for sending observations via e-mail. This format is based on the ICQ-Format but includes additional fields. Our Software ICQ_Format.exe supports formatting the observation results.


Visual comet observations could be send via e-mail to Uwe Pilz and Andreas Kammerer (s. Contact). Please, follow the format which is defined below. Observations should be based on internationally accepted methods (see also "Anleitung zur visuellen und fotografischen Kometenbeobachtung".

If you are going to submit observations, please include at least the following information: comet designation (III or YYYYMn), date and time of the observation: year (YYYY), month (MM), day - including the time as a fraction of the day - (DD.DDd), aperture (AAA.A) and type (T) of the instrument, magnification (VVVV) and the name or ICQ-code of the observer (Beobachter##). An estimation of the magnitude should include: estimation method (M), total brightness (mm.m) and the used reference for the comparison star magnitudes (rf).

Concerning the parameters estimation method (M), type of instrument (T), extinction notes (e) and reference (rf), please use the ICQ Observation Codes.

                 1         2         3         4         5         6         7         8  
IIIYYYYMnL YYYY MM DD.DD eM/mm.m:r AAA.ATF/xxxx /dd.ddnDC /t.ttmANG        OBS

IIIYYYYMnL YYYY MM DD.DD eM/mm.m:r AAA.ATF/xxxx /dd.ddnDC /t.ttmANG        OBS
   1995O1  1995 08 17.564 S 10.5:GA 35.0L5  100   1.1  2/  0.05 235        Müller     5.7M false nucleus 12.5m
 17        2008 01 07.79  S  3.4 TJ  0.7E     1  90    3                   Pilz       6.5

III      Periodic Comet Code (see table below)
YYYY     Year of discovery
Mn       Half-month designation (letter and numerical)
L        Fragment to which the observation refers
JJJJ     Year of the observation
MM       Month of the observation
DD.DDd   Day and fraction of day (in UT) of the observation (d optional)
e        Extinction notes:
  & < 20°
  $ < 10°
M        Magnitude method:
  B - out-out
  S - in-out
  C - CCD
[mm.m:   Total visual magnitude of the coma ([ = fainter than, : = approximate estimate)
rf       Reference or source of comparison stars used for making the magnitude estimate. Selection:
   AE Planet
   GA Space Telescope Guide Star 
   HI Hipparcos
   HJ Hipparcos photometric system
   HS Hubble Guide Star Catalogue 
   HV visuell/Hipparcos
   TI Tycho Input cat.
   TJ Tycho1
   TK Tycho2
AAA.A    Aperture of instrument
T        Type of instrument :
  B binoculairs
  C Cassegrain
  E Eye
  L Newton
  M Maksutov
  R Refraktor
  S Schmidt-Newtonian
  T Schmidt-Cassegrain
F/       focal ratio of instrument
VVVV     magnification
>dd.dd   coma diameters in arcminutes (> = greater than, < = less than, & = approximate estimate)
  if the coma diameter is greater than 99.99' use the >-column
n        Special note concerning the appearance of a central condensation 
  d = faint disk within the coma
  D = bright disk within the coma
  s = faint stellar or nearly-stellar condensation
  S = bright stellar or nearly-stellar condensation
DC       Degree of condensation (0 = completely diffuse coma, 9 = stellar coma, 5/ means DC 5-6)
>t.tt    Tail lenth in degrees (> = greater than, < = less than, & = approximate estimate)
  If the tail length is greater than 9.99 degrees, use the >-column
GGG:     Position Angle (0 = north, 90 = east, 180 = south, 270 = west, : = approximate estimate)
Beob.    name or ICQ-code of observer
Mag:     Faintest Star Magnitude, visible to the naked eye in the direction of the comet:
  M = moon
  T = twilight
  C = city lights
  Z = zodiacal light

Given are the most important  abbreviations and recommended sources for stellar magnitudes.

Please, add additional notes and descriptions into the following line/record.