The Astronomer's Telegram (ATel) is for the reporting and commenting upon new astronomical observations of transient sources.

In addition to the Telegram Index on the web, readers may request a Daily Email Digest (see Email Options ). Readers select subject areas of interest, and Telegrams marked with those subject headings will be emailed after each 24-hr period (no email will be sent if no such Telegrams are received). Readers may also request the Instant Email Notices, used to report the discovery, with coordinates, of one of several different types of objects, as well as new outbursts of previously known transients. The Instant Email Notices also include a "Request for Observations", which provides alerts of observational opportunities in the coming 72 hours. The Instant Email Notices are sent immediately (within a few seconds) upon receipt.

Reports submitted to The Astronomer's Telegram are not filtered or edited: the final editing on all submissions is made by the author. Submissions are posted onto the web instantly, by software.

All reports are citeable, and referenced for fast retreival at the NASA/ADS Abstract Service.


Editorial Policy

The Astronomer's Telegram is for reporting and commenting on new astronomical observations.

The posting of a Telegram implies the permission of the authors to reproduce and re-distribute its contents electronically, either in whole or in part, when such reproduction or re-distribution does not alter the substantive meaning of the Telegram, and when such reproduction or re-distribution does not exclusively serve a commercial purpose. This does not suspend the ethical requirement of correct citation. The copyright for each Telegram remains the property of the authors. By posting a Telegram, the authors grant non-exclusive royalty-free license to archive and redistribute the Telegram in electronic form for the life of the copyright to The Astronomer's Telegram.

Editors exercise no control over content. The authors are responsible for the content of their Telegrams.

In using The Astronomer's Telegram, all are expected to adhere to commonly accepted standards of professional conduct. Behavior which is to be avoided includes sabotage of software, hardware, or contents of The Astronomer's Telegram ; failure to exercise professional decorum in the content of a Telegram; or purposeful inclusion of fraudulent content in a Telegram. Users who do not adhere to these standards of use may have their access to this site restricted.

"Editor" Authored Telegrams

The practice of the editor posting Telegrams, under the Editor's authorship, was discontinued effective May, 1998.

Submitting a Telegram

Telegrams are submitted with the web interface . The Telegram may be authored by anyone; however, all telegrams must be approved by a user who possesses a credential granted by the Editors.

Credential

A ''credential'' is permission of the Editors to approve ATels for publication. A user who posseses an email/password account (with which they manage their email settings) can request a credential. These are granted, typically within a 7 day period, to active astronomers of professional standing, who have agreed to carefully enforce the standard policies, procedures and practices of ATel. The owner of the credential need not be a co-author in order to approve an ATel. Failure to carefully enforce the standard policies, procedures and practices of ATel can lead to temporary or permanent suspension of the credential.

Style -- Do's and Don'ts

When writing a telegram DO and DON'T

Authorship

As is the common practice, authors will submit only original research results of their own production.

Contents of a Telegram

Telegrams are for reporting or commenting upon new astronomical observations. The instantaneous nature of ATel distribution means it is the optimal medium for distributing observational results in the context of an unfolding transient astrophysical event. Content is limited to 4000 characters. HTML formatting is encouraged, although we restrict some tags (see
HTML ). Do not, however, use HTML formatting to change the typefaces throughout the telegram, or throughout the page.

Authors reporting discoveries of supernovae or comets are strongly encouraged to also report these to the Central Bureau of Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT), which is the body designated under Commission 6 of the International Astronomical Union which designates the discoverer of supernovae and comets. The Astronomer's Telegram is not affiliated with CBAT.

Theoretical Content of ATELs

As of December, 2000, it is the editorial policy of ATel that observers posting new observational results may include whatever theoretical interpretataion they have of these results in as great a detail as they think appropriate and can fit within the HTML and 4000 character limits of the posting. However, ATel is an inappropriate forum for theoretical interpretation of other's observational results; this belongs in the peer-reviewed journals. This encourges observers to provide time-critical guidance to others pursuing the source observationally, while discouraging the use of ATel as a forum for debates on the nature or detailed physical interpretation of phenomena.

Format of a Telegram

Telegrams must be in HTML formatted text, and written in English. Other formats (such as postscript, LaTeX, Tex, Word) are not permitted.
Some HTML tags are not permitted (the message checker will tell you if you have included any which are not permitted).

Daily Email Digest

Upon signing up for the Digest (on our
Email Options form), the reader selects from among the available subjects. Once a day, the reader will be sent the complete contents of all those Telegrams which were posted with any of the selected subjects. If no such telegrams were posted, no email will be sent. Also, Telegrams sent previously as Instant Email Notices are only distributed in the Daily Email Digest to you if you have not already received it.

Instant Email Notices

Readers may also request (on our
Email Options form) various topics for Instant Email Notices. These are sent out immediately on posting of the Telegram, when the author has requested it. Authors are instructed to only request Instant Email Notices when they are reporting new coordinates, a new outburst of a transient object, or an observational opportunity within the next 72 hours. "New Coordinates" includes both the coordinates of a newly discovered object, or a smaller error box for a previously known object (for example, an optical transient associated with a gamma-ray burst). "New Coordinates" are always the result of more precise observations, and not the result of a re-interpretation of previous observations and reclassification of an object.

Because of the potential for misuse of the Instant Email Notices and the subsequent annoyance of observers who use these to keep vigilant watch for new, observable objects, credential owners are cautioned to pay strict attention to the requirement of using them only for distributing new coordinates. Credential owners who violate this or other ATel policies may have their credential suspended.

Charges

There are no charges for any use of any ATel facilities. There never will be any charges for any use of ATel facilities. Making ATel available free of charge is a design specification, and motivates its operational methods.

However, if you would very much like to spend some money, we suggest a visit to our official Astronomer's Telegram online store where you can purchase an official logo coffee mug, or an official logo T-shirt in comfortable combed cotton. Be the envy of your colleagues!

Producing a Telegram Index

To search Telegrams for specific content, the option Index Display Options (at the top of the Index page) permits several options to do so (including a date filter, and a keyword search in the text and author listing). For example, you may not be interested in Telegrams more than 1 month old, so you can set your defaults on the Refine Selection page so that they do not appear on your Index.

Correcting Errors After a Telegram is Submitted

Authors are responsible for the content of their telegrams. Should the authors discover an error after posting which will result in a scientific misunderstanding, the authors must make another submission, providing the correction. Changes cannot be made to Telegrams after posting. Authors should not make corrections to ATels excepting those which result in scientific misunderstanding.

Contents of a Correction

Corrections should be as brief as possible, and must include the following:

The correction should not include an entire re-printing of the original text with the corrected information inserted.

Authors (Affil.)

This should be the complete list of authors, and their institutional affiliations. While a collaboration name is permitted appended to the complete author list, we require at least one author name. Examples:
I. Newton (Cambridge), M. Planck (MPA)

E. Hubble, on behalf of the Full-Sky Optical Survey Team (Palomar)

Email address

A valid email address where readers might send queries to the authors.

Telegram Title

A descriptive and brief title. Example:
New Outburst of GRO J1744-28

Wavebands

Select all wavebands which are relevant to the content of the Telegram. This is one of two filters which will be used by readers to find your Telegram (the other is Objects), so it is important to be accurate.

Objects

Select all Object-types relevant to the content of the telegram. This is one of two filters which will be used by readers to find your telegram (the other is Wavebands), so it is important to be accurate.

Text

The text must be < 4000 characters in length. Many (but not all) HTML tags are permitted. (See
HTML ).

Auto-linking to other Astronomer's Telegrams, IAUCs, CBETs and GCNs

If you include in your message the text: ATEL #25 (for example), a link to the appropriate Telegram will be placed automatically. For auto-linking to work each number must be immediately preceeded (with no intervening spaces) by the "#" symbol, such as: ATEL #23, #24, #25, and #26.

This procedure will also auto-link to IAU Circulars (like: IAUC #6273) CBETs (CBET #33), and Gamma-ray Burst Coordinate Network (GCN) Circulars (GCN #114). The following is a valid list of references, which will be auto-linked: (ATEL #22, #23; IAUC #6004, #6005; GCN #200, #202).

"Recently" and "Related" ATels

The "Recently" list on the home page, and "Related" ATel lists on Telegram pages, are automatically generated, using the auto-links included in ATels by authors, to determine which ATels are related.

The "Related" ATel list is generated from auto-links in the Telegram itself, and from future ATels which refer to the Telegram, using a friends-of-friends algorithm. The "Recently" list is the longest list of related ATels which are connected by auto-links from among recent ATels. To insure that your ATels are included in these lists, we recommend you use an auto-link to refer to the first ATel announcing the recent activity, or to other related ATels.

HTML in Text

We permit many HTML tags to be used in text. Those which we do not permit are APPLET, FRAME, HR, IMG, and META. These restrictions are in place so that the information content of the Telegram does not change after posting, and so that the Telegram documents are identical in layout. We may add other HTML tags to this list in the future, and we may remove some; this depends partially on whether researchers report that their postings are being adversely affected in clarity or content. Note that you may use the "anchor" tag A so that you can directly include links to other sites (such as your own) which may contain additional information.

Optional Link URL

This link will be placed at the bottom of your Telegram, as a highlight. You may use it to direct readers to a website, or to provide them with a figure. Links may be included directly in the body of text, so this is an option largely for aesthetic purposes.

Optional Link Title

A brief, descriptive title which describes the contents of the link. Example:
V-Band Finder's Chart for GRB970828
Table of Ephemeris for 1997 QK1

Email address and Password

To insure the identity of the author, the text must be submitted with an accepted email address +Password, which together are referred to as a "credential". Requests for an approved credential may be submitted
at this website .