BAA Website Inconsistancy

Forums History BAA Website Inconsistancy

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #574132
    Bill Barton

    1, In ‘Publications’, ‘Handbook’ section of the main BAA website  “The BAA handbook has been published annually since 1911”.

    2, On the Computing Sections external website “Until 1919 there had been published a Companion to Observatory which contained mainly tabular and ephemeral matter, and which was greatly missed by observers when it ceased publication. Hepburn then proposed that the new Computing Section should make good the loss, and the Handbook thus took shape, appearing for the first time in 1922.”.

    Which is correct 1911 or 1922? 

    Martin Mobberley

    Hello Bill,

    Pasted straight from my Hepburn files, with no attempt to sort out the line length etc….Hepburn said the following at the
    October 26th 1921 BAA AGM (JBAA Vol 32, 1, pages 4 – 5) re. the imminent 1922 Handbook.

    Very many of us must have felt that we had lost a friend
    when we learnt that the Editors of that excellent magazine
    The Observatory found themselves unable to continue publication
    of their annual Companion. Perhaps the best compliment
    I ever heard paid to it was that of a somewhat lukewarm
    admirer, who said he had but little use for it, since there was
    not much of its contents that he could not find either in the
    Nautical Almanac, Whitaker’s Almanac, or the English Mechanic.
    It has been felt that something ought to be produced to
    take its place, and the Council has decided that this Association
    should publish an annual ” Observer’s Handbook ” on somewhat
    similar lines. The work has been very ably carried out under
    the direction of Mr. Comrie, with the assistance of the Computing
    Section and other Members of the Association, and I hope that
    the number for the ensuing year will be in your hands before
    the end of next month. Besides the ” almanac ” matter, it
    will be found to possess features of great interest. There is,
    for instance, a comprehensive list of Astronomical Constants
    from authoritative sources, such as is published in some foreign
    national Ephemerides, but is conspicuously lacking in our own
    Nautical Almanac. There is also an instalment of a glossary
    of astronomical terms, the need for which was pointed out by
    my predecessor in this Chair at the last annual meeting. In
    place of tables of the times of rising and setting of the planets
    is an ingenious diagram which enables one to see at a glance
    what planets are at an observable distance above the horizon
    at any hour of any night in the year, as well as the exact times
    when they become observable in the evening either by rising
    or by the Sun’s setting, and, conversely, when they cease to be
    observable by setting or with the dawn.
    The expense of this publication has to be closely considered,
    and it has been decided to provide for it at present by dropping
    the number of the Journal following the Conversation Meeting.
    There will, however, be some saving of space which will be
    available for other matter, by relegation to this annual Handbook
    of detail which would otherwise appear in the Journal,
    as, for instance, tables of phenomena of Saturn’s satellites,
    and cometary search ephemerides. It is hoped that many
    Members will make a point of ordering an extra copy of the
    Handbook for knockabout daily use, so as to preserve a clean
    copy for binding. This will be well worth while, as it contains
    much matter which is not ephemeral and which will not
    necessarily be repeated from year to year. If a considerable
    proportion of Members will do this the Handbook may soon
    become nearly self-supporting.


    Yes, 1922 it is! It will soon be a Centenary for the Handbook.

    And for those who collect back numbers we can sell you almost any year back to 1936, when the cover was changed to stiff card instead of the original thin pink paper. The earlier ones are much less common, and it is a pity the Council tried to save pennies in 1922. Mind you the Journal also had a very thin paper cover until 1936 when it too was redesigned.

    The Handbook for many years was without a pictorial cover. Some opposition was encountered in adding one some two decades ago, but so long as the pink colour of the cover was retained, the Council seemed happy to support the change.

    Andy Wilson

    Thanks for pointing this out Bill. I have amended the Publications -> Handbook page to 1922.


Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.