This edition has fewer pages than the previous one, primarily due to the departure of Halley’s Comet, the absence of both a transit of Mercury and an opposition of Mars in 1987, plus more efficient use of space in the section on the configurations of Saturn’s satellites. Additions include an expansion of the Satellites of Uranus section (a consequence of the Voyager 2 mission) by Dr. Joseph Veverka; an expansion of the section Telescope Parameters, and a new section, Telescope Exit Pupils (thanks are due to Dr. Larry Bogan, Terence Dickinson, and Leo Enright for reviewing this new material); the Times of Moonrise and Moonset tables have been prepared camera-ready and although the type style is perhaps less desirable than before, typesetting costs and associated proofreading have been eliminated; Terence Dickinson has added an introduction to The Planets for 1987 section; Dr. Robert Garrison has updated The Brightest Stars table, and thanks are due to him and to Brian Beattie for the effort required in providing a laser-printed version of this extensive and valuable table; Dr. Alan Batten has added some historical material to the section, The Nearest Stars. Information on a “symbiotic” variable star is presented in the section Variable Stars. Dr. Anthony Moffat has included information on the Perseus Double Cluster in the section Star Clusters. In addition there are numerous other minor corrections and expansions of material throughout the Handbook (e.g. see “optical wavelength data” on p. 16).

On behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, once again it is my pleasant task to thank all of the twenty-four contributors listed on the inside front cover for their invaluable support of the Observer's Handbook. The Society is also indebted to the Nautical Almanac Office of the U.S. Naval Observatory and its Director, Dr. P. K. Seidelmann, for essential pre-publication material from The Astronomical Almanac. I wish also to acknowledge the assistance ofRandall Brooks and Dr. Norman Scrimger in the preparation of the chart for the path of Pluto. The Society’s Executive-Secretary, Rosemary Freeman, deserves much credit for her efficient handling of the many details surrounding this publication throughout the year. Special acknowledgement is also due to Acadia University and its Department of Physics for providing an editor for the Observer's Handbook.

Suggestions for making this Handbook more useful to observers, both amateur and professional, are always welcome and should be sent directly to the Editor. Good observing quo ducit Urania!

Roy L.Bishop, Editor
Department of Physics
Acadia University
Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Canada B0P 1X0

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