Editor's Comments

On behalf of myself and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, I thank all those who have contributed to the production of the observer’s handbook for 1982. The individuals listed on the inside front cover deserve special mention. Of particular note is the continuing contribution made by Peter M. Millman (Meteors, Fireballs and Meteorites). Dr. Millman’s name first appeared in the handbook 53 years ago, in 1929, and he first provided the article on meteors in 1936. In 1981 he accepted the position of Honorary President of the R.A.S.C.

Special thanks are due to John Percy, Editor of the handbook for the past eleven years. The R.A.S.C. is in his debt for the standard of excellence which he set. His support and advice were invaluable in the preparation of the 1982 edition; however, the inevitable flaws and errors are solely the responsibility of the new editor.

A few changes and additions have been made for 1982. As an attempt to improve the order, several of the sections have been regrouped. Margin symbols have been added to aid rapid finding of sections. In recognition of increasing wide use of the handbook, Universal time (UT) is used throughout. The section of miscellaneous data has been revised and expanded. This section is now almost entirely based on SI units, and includes two formulae which replace the precession table of previous years. Some information on telescope parameters has been added in the hope that it may serve as a useful reference for users of small telescopes. The latitude range of the rise-set and twilight tables has been expanded to 20°–60° north latitude, and their formats have been standardized. The list of phenomena of Jupiter’s Galilean satellites is no longer limited to those visible from North America. An approximate ephemeris for the five brightest satellites of Saturn has been devised. The constellation and star name lists have been revised. A new Moon map has been drawn, together with a key and list of features. Six new maps of the night sky have been prepared.

The handbook is indebted to H. M. Nautical Almanac Office (U.K. Science Research Council) and to the Nautical Almanac Office (U.S. Naval Observatory). I am particularly grateful to P. K. Seidelmann, Director of the Nautical Almanac Office, U.S. Naval Observatory, for providing proof pages of the Astronomical Almanac in advance of its publication, and to Leslie Morrison and the Occultation Section of H.M.N.A.O. for providing the detailed information on total and grazing lunar occultations. Randall Brooks, St. Mary’s University, provided the expanded twilight and sidereal time chart, assisted with the table on grazes of double stars, and provided the base map for the path of Pluto. Alan Dyer provided the list of twenty Challenge Objects which have been added to his NGC list.

I wish to acknowledge the efficient support of Rosemary Freeman, the Executive Secretary, and the guidance given by the R.A.S.C. National Council. The handbook also benefits greatly from the direct and indirect support of the Department of Physics, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

Comments and suggestions should be directed to the Editor (address on inside front cover). Good observing quo ducit Urania!

Roy L. Bishop, Editor

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