I am very pleased that once again this Handbook opens with a Foreword by Canada’s most distinguished astronomer, Dr. Helen Sawyer Hogg. Also, it is worthy of note that, 60 years ago, the name “Mr. P. Millman” is cited in the Editor’s comments for assisting with the preparation of The Observer’s Handbookfor 1929.

Among the many changes in this edition: with the assistance of David Levy, Dr. Brian Marsden, and Ian Shelton, the note Reporting of Astronomical Discoveries has been revised; Dr. Joseph Veverka has updated the table Satellites of the Solar System; several of the constants appearing on pages 16 and 17 have been revised in accordance with the 1986 adjustment of the fundamental physical constants (Rev. Mod. Phys., 59, 1121, 1987); the section Solar Activity has been revised by Dr. Gaizauskas and a new contributor, J. W. Dean of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics; a new section, Observing Comets, has been introduced by David Levy of Tucson, Arizona, USA; on the recommendation and with the assistance of Patrick Kelly of the Halifax Centre of the Society, pronunciations have been added for the genitive forms in the table Constellations; once again Dr. Robert Garrison has updated The Brightest Stars table; Dr. Janet Mattei has provided information concerning the variable star P Cygni in the section Variable Stars; Dr. Anthony Moffat has added information on the Hyades in the section Star Clusters; a new section consisting of a brief description and finder chart for the black hole candidate Cygnus X-1 has been added, and thanks are due to Dr. Tom Bolton of the University of Toronto for reviewing this section; Alan Dyer has completely revised The Messier Catalogue and the table The Finest N.G.C. Objects, and he and a new contributor, Alister Ling of the Edmonton Centre of the Society, have prepared an expanded table entitled Deep-Sky Challenge Objects; a new contributor, James Himer of the Calgary Centre of the Society, has collaborated with Dr. Barry Madore to expand the table Galaxies with Proper Names. Revisions of a more routine nature (but, in many cases, no less time consuming) have been made to several other sections by the respective contributors (see the inside front cover), and I apologize for not mentioning them individually here.

In addition to the regular contributors, several individuals have provided information and/or made recommendations that have been incorporated into this edition: Brian Beattie, the Librarian of the Society; Randall Brooks, Douglas Pit­cairn and Joe Yurchesyn, all of the Halifax Centre of the Society; and Max Radloff of the Minnesota Astronomical Society. Overall, significant additions and/or re­ visions have been made to more than three-quarters of the pages of this edition, the largest ever.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is once again 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. The Astronomy Department of St. Mary’s University provided the Vehrenberg chart used in preparing the diagram of Pluto’s path. The Society’s Executive-Secretary, Rosemary Freeman, deserves much credit for efficiently handling many details concerning the advertising and distribution of 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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