|Astronomy & Geophysics 42 (4) 4.04|
|Effects of the 2001 total solar eclipse on African wildlife|
Paul Murdin divided his attention between the total solar eclipse of 21 June 2001 and a pod of hippos.
About 250 naturalist members of Wildlife and Environment Zimbabwe (WEZ) made field observations of African wildlife in the Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe during the total solar eclipse of 21 June 2001. It is believed that this was the first systematic study of its kind. First contact was at about 11:45 UT, i.e. 13:45 ZT (local time), totality lasted three minutes from 15:12 to 15:15 ZT and last contact was at 16:20 ZT; local sunset over the Zambia mountains on the far shore was at 17:30 ZT.
Mana Pools National Park is well stocked with a variety of African game and occupies an extensive region of the Zambezi river valley below the Kariba dam. WEZ members had been granted exceptional permission to disperse away from designated camping sites into bush camps. The campsites were chosen to cover several different sorts of habitats spread out over a 50 km distance. Each observing party of two or three people was asked to note animal and other behaviour in the same place over three days centred on the eclipse. They recorded periods at sunset and sunrise and across the eclipse time, so as to form a controlled series, which might show reaction to the eclipse. I myself recorded hippos. Meteorological measurements were also made (the eclipse caused a 5.5 °C drop in air temperature compared to the previous day, with the minimum 20 minutes after totality).
The Zambezi at Mana Pools flows through a flood plain. Thousands of years of alluvial sediments lie deposited in the river and spread it thin and wide. A long, narrow island lies mid-stream. Between it and the Zimbabwe shore there are numerous sandbanks. Packed into a huddle on one of them was a group of hippopotamuses I learned to call such a group a pod or a school as if they were whales or dolphins. This was a maternal pod, consisting of numerous females and a similar number of juveniles and small ones, and one large, dominant male.
During the partial phases of the eclipse, the hippos had been sleeping in the warmth of the African midday. In the deepening dusk, the hippos stood and shifted about. The gathering of hippos loosened and they slipped into the river. The eclipse twilight reflected from the surface of the water and even during the darkness of totality I could see the hippos backs and heads, sometimes just eyes and ears, showing above the surface of the water. The diminishing light and warmth evidently reminded the hippos of sunset, when they normally disperse off the mid-stream sandbank and walk to the riverbanks along the bottom of the river (they are too heavy to swim). On land they graze through the night.
None of the hippos had reached the shore when totality ended and the sunlight returned. (The suddenness of the bright blaze of the diamond ring effect was startling.) The hippos paused and looked nervous. Their daily routine had been disrupted. They were evidently not sure whether night had fallen and it was time for breakfast or whether the Sun had re-risen and it was time to go to bed. They remained in the river eyes and ears alert above the surface.
At the return of the light from the Sun there was a crescendo of loud dawn-chorus-like calls from the many turtle-doves that live in Mana Pools. Other birds joined in the glossy starlings, bulbuls, weaver birds... Except for owl calls, bird calls had ceased during the period of the darkest part of the eclipse. By contrast, frogs in the river called at totality and ceased calling when the light reappeared.
Mana Pools is home to many species of geese and water birds such as egrets and herons. The roosts were downstream from my observing site. The birds usually flew upstream in the morning to feeding grounds, returning to roost at sunset. During the eclipse, several flights of birds were seen returning back towards their roosts. One flight flew downstream during totality and was seen performing a U-turn back towards their feeding grounds after the diamond ring effect proved that daylight was not yet over.
There is a lot of data from the observations and no doubt it will be some time before it is all analysed. WEZ plans to produce a research report at a later time, possibly in their magazine Wildlife Zimbabwe. However, in a debriefing session the day after the eclipse, WEZ members reported the following reactions to the eclipse by the African wildlife.
Sleeping hippo woke and dispersed into water; showed nervousness for the rest of the afternoon and possible disruption of daily routine the following day. Impala showed no reaction until the eclipse was well under way and it was too dark to see them, but were observed to be showing nervousness and vigilance when light returned, for the rest of the afternoon. Perhaps they were afraid that the change of environment concealed predators. Baboons stopped feeding and set off, possibly to their roosting place, but on the reappearance of light they settled again quickly, where they were. Baboons are rather matter-of-fact. A sun squirrel that fed in the afternoons at about 3 pm stayed in his hole on the eclipse day, apparently having concluded from the eclipse that he had overslept into nightfall. Warthog, crocodiles, zebras, eland and waterbuck showed no obvious reaction, nor did a stoic lion pair. The elephants observed were solitary males, not the more sensitive maternal groups with young, and appeared sanguine about the eclipse, although two did join up and stand passively side by side for the period of greatest darkness.
Like most other birds, doves fell silent as darkness wore on and greeted the reappearance of light with a dawn chorus. Owls called during totality. Egrets, oxpeckers, ibis, trumpeter hornbill and geese stopped feeding and set off for roosts. Some returned to feed after the light reappeared, others appeared to lose the remainder of the afternoon feed. Impassive waders and herons showed no reaction.
Butterflies settled during the late stages of the partial eclipse and did not restart flying after the light was re-established. Mosquitoes and midges immediately appeared at totality and bit unsuspecting and unprepared eclipse watchers. They settled afterwards; there was no evidence of diminished activity at the true sunset! Bees withdrew into a hive in the late stages of the partial eclipse. Two scout bees left the hive after the eclipse and returned later, but, whatever they reported, the swarm of bees did not leave the hive again that afternoon.
For further information, visit the Wildlife & Environment Zimbabwe (WEZ) website at http://www.zimwild.co.zw, where the first results of the observations will be posted.
Paul Murdin works for the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council and is the RAS Treasurer (firstname.lastname@example.org). His cousin, Shirley Cormack, is the WEZ President.
Eclipse photographed at ZASTI, Lusaka International Airport, Lusaka, Zambia by Aadil Desai of the Amateur Astronomers Association (Bombay).
|Dark energy lives?|
Light from the most distant supernova known has been cited as the first observational evidence that gravity slowed the early expansion of the universe, reports Peter Bond.
By a kind of perverse logic, the Hubble Space Telescopes detection of light emitted by the furthest supernova explosion yet discovered has greatly bolstered the case for the existence of a mysterious form of dark energy pervading the universe. The concept of dark energy, which pushes galaxies away from each other at an ever-increasing speed, was first proposed, and then discarded, by Albert Einstein early in the last century. The Hubble discovery also reinforces the startling idea that the universe began accelerating only recently, a suggestion made three years ago when the unusually dim light of several distant supernovas indicated that the universe is expanding more quickly than in the past.
The supernova 1997ff, which is at a redshift of 1.7 (equivalent to a distance of approximately 10 billion light years from Earth), was found by comparing two pictures of the Hubble Deep Field North taken two years apart. According to a team led by Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, supernova 1997ff appears brighter than it should if the expansion had taken place at a steady rate. If gravity had slowed the expansion of the early universe, galaxies would remain relatively close together and objects in them would appear brighter because they would be closer.
Long ago, when the light left this distant supernova, the universe may have been slowing down due to the mutual tug of all the mass in the universe, said Riess. Billions of years later, when the light left more recent supernovas, the universe had begun accelerating, stretching the expanse between galaxies and making objects in them appear dimmer. Observations of several distant supernovas by two teams of astronomers in 1998 led to the prediction that the universe began to accelerate when it was half its present age. The new HST findings appear to rule out other explanations.
The new observation provides the first observational evidence that gravity began slowing down the expansion of the universe after the Big Bang. Only later did the repulsive force of dark energy win out to give the picture deduced from younger supernovae.
While we dont know what dark energy is, we are certain that understanding it will provide crucial clues in the quest to unify the forces and particles in the universe, and that the route to this understanding involves telescopes, not accelerators, said astrophysicist Michael Turner of the University of Chicago.
The record-breaking supernova.
The Hubble Deep Field in 1997, showing the supernovas cosmic neighborhood, its home galaxy and the dying star itself. Left: the supernova in detail, taken from the small box at the top of the image above. The Hubble Deep Field was first explored in 1995 and detects galaxies up to 10 billion years old. (WFPC2 NASA and A Riess (STScI).)
As I look back on my first year in office I am struck by the range of affairs, some old but others very new, in which the Society is involved. We carry on, of course, with our traditional activities, organizing meetings and publishing MN and GJI, our two leading journals with high profiles. It is very gratifying that Monthly Notices has the highest impact factor of any journal in astronomy; the RAS has invested in a fibre-optic link to UCL and the FTP submission procedure now under trial will soon become generally available. Then there is Astronomy & Geophysics too. As you can see, this journal has found its place and flourishes as well. The glossy colour format offers a marvellous opportunity for us to present our own research to wider audiences: for instance, an article here is just what one needs to show to a prospective student. So I do hope that more members of our community will take the time to write about their work for A&G.
Beyond these activities, the RAS is rapidly developing a new and much more active role as the representative of astronomy in the UK. This was symbolized by our taking over from the Royal Society as the adhering body to the IAU this year. In addition, we are increasingly involved in providing advice and information to various national bodies. Last year the RAS joined with the Institute of Physics in co-sponsoring a report by an external panel on International perceptions of UK research in physics and astronomy and we are discussing the follow-up to their recommendations. We have joined the newly-established Science Council, along with other learned and professional societies, and we are constantly responding to requests from Parliamentary Committees and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, from the OST and from the Research Councils.
We naturally have a close relationship with PPARC as demonstrated by our joint sponsorship of the annual National Astronomy Meeting. While it is absolutely essential to maintain our independence, there is still scope for fruitful collaboration, helped by overlapping membership of various committees. I believe that the meeting organised by the RAS last year on joining ESO demonstrated the importance of this relationship. We were able to provide an open forum where these proposals could be discussed and I personally was amazed by the nearly unanimous support that emerged. So we were very pleased when the OST decided to go ahead. This is a great step forward for optical astronomy and (with ALMA) for millimetre observations too. Nevertheless, we recognize our responsibility to the rest of the community and we are anxious to see that high-quality observations are maintained across the full electromagnetic spectrum.
On its own, the Society is undertaking various other initiatives: the generous Hosie bequest has allowed us to offer grants totalling almost £100k for research projects; the Norman Lockyer Fellowship is being filled again; and further proposals will emerge soon. Council has also introduced changes to our bye-laws that will encourage younger members to join, together with a package of reforms in the membership structure and subscription rates.
All these extended activities do of course carry a financial cost. The RAS has three sources of income: its investments, Fellows subscriptions and the journals. Investment income is unlikely to increase (and is actually falling at the moment), while the future of all scientific journals is clouded by the inevitable but unpredictable effects of electronic publishing. So Council is trying to increase the amount raised from subscriptions. To this end a new category of Corporate Members has been introduced. It is also important to ensure that the RAS does indeed represent the whole UK astronomical community. After all, it is their Society. It represents them and it responds to their views. So I urge everyone to play their part in it.
Prof. Nigel Weiss, President of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Citation on the award of the Chapman Medal 2001 to Prof. Jeremy Bloxham, by Prof. Nigel Weiss, President of the RAS, at the A&G (Ordinary) Meeting of the Society on 11 May.
Jeremy Bloxham has made major contributions in both observational and theoretical geomagnetism, a remarkable combination. In the last 10 years he has turned to the theoretical topics for which the award is made. With W Kuang, he developed a self-consistent dynamical model of the geodynamo, which implemented a different set of boundary conditions from the earlier Glatzmaier and Roberts model. Kuang and Bloxhams careful analysis has shown that, although both models produce Earth-like fields external to the core, the field within the core and the method of dynamo action are quite different in the two cases. He has treated his dynamo model output in the same way as geomagnetists use field and secular variation models to deduce coremantle boundary fluid-flow and he has shown that this method correctly recovers the main features of the actual dynamo flow.
Similarly, he has compared model predictions with palaeomagnetic field measurements from rocks, such as the difference between the inclination measured and that expected for dipole field.
Jeremy Bloxham has also pioneered the imposition on dynamo models of inhomogeneous boundary conditions at the coremantle boundary inferred from seismic tomography studies, interpreting velocity variations as temperature anomalies. Working with Stephen Zatman, he has also established that short-term torsional oscillations could be identified using the parameter range achievable in a numerical simulation. They successfully modelled the observed secular variation with torsional oscillations, and proposed an explanation for the so-called 60-year oscillation. Additionally, together with Zatman, he has worked on the role of coremantle interactions and the implications for the length of the day.
Jeremy Bloxham is now Chairman of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, where he was appointed a Full Professor in 1993. He is also North American Co-ordinating Editor of Geophysical Journal International.
It is appropriate that the Royal Astronomical Society honours Jeremy Bloxham with the Chapman medal for his work on theoretical geomagnetism and core dynamics.
Prof. Jeremy Bloxham of Harvard University receives his award.
Citation on the Award of the 2001 Hannah Jackson (née Gwilt) Medal and Gift to Prof. J E Baldwin by Prof. Weiss at the A&G (Ordinary) Meeting on 11 May.
Prof. John Evan Baldwin has had a distinguished career at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory in Cambridge, which he headed for 10 years from 1987 to 1997. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and has been awarded the Guthrie Medal of the Institute of Physics and the Hopkins Prize of the Cambridge Philosophical Society.
John Baldwin conceived and led the design teams for a series of highly productive aperture synthesis telescopes, as well as guiding subsequent research on them. Starting with the Half-Mile Telescope, designed for high-resolution mapping of neutral hydrogen and velocity fields in nearby galaxies in the 1970s, he continued with low-frequency aperture synthesis at 151 MHz and designed the two telescopes that carried out the major sky surveys, 6C and 7C. The Cambridge Low Frequency Synthesis Telescope on a baseline of 5 km is still in operation. Finally, exploiting geomagnetically quiet conditions at sunspot minimum, he was responsible for a 5 km synthesis telescope at 38 MHz which again made a successful sky survey. The operation of these instruments during severe ionosopheric phase irregularities was a major achievement.
In the 1980s Baldwin turned his attention to aperture synthesis at optical wavelengths and his crowning achievement has been the construction and use of COAST (the Cambridge Optical Aperture Synthesis Telescope), recognized worldwide as a major advance in optical astronomy. The surface structure of nearby stars has been reliably mapped for the first time. This has opened new fields of research, such as monitoring the angular sizes of long-period variable stars in relation to their intensity variations. Radial pulsations of about 35% have already been observed. The next stage is to develop a more advanced telescope on a better site than rain-swept Cambridgeshire.
Although John Baldwin retired from the Cavendish Laboratory in 1999, he is still actively pursuing improved techniques in this area. Throughout his career he has not only been an innovator of advanced technology; he has been equally concerned with observational programmes resulting therefrom, and he has guided the research of dozens of students.
The President presents the award.
|Deep Impact mission to blast comet in 2005|
NASA has given the go-ahead for the Deep Impact mission, the first mission to fire a projectile into a comet nucleus.
Deep Impact comprises a comet flyby spacecraft and a 350 kg impactor. They will travel together to Comet Tempel 1s orbit, where they will separate and operate independently.
The flyby spacecraft will release the impactor into the comets path, then watch from a safe distance as the impactor collides with the comet, making a football-field-sized crater in the icy nucleus.
Launch is scheduled for January 2004 and the explosive encounter is set for 4 July 2005.
Scientists hope it will reveal clues to the origin of comets and the composition and structure of these mysterious objects.
For more information see deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov.
|New observing award from SETI for align signals|
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence mounted by the privately funded SETI League Inc. is renowned for its creative use of an army of interested amateurs, notably in radio astronomy. To recognize this contribution, the SETI League has started the Extra-Terrestrial Century Club, which rewards the confirmed reception of a significant number of distinct extraterrestrial radio emissions: manmade, natural and even (dare we hope?) alien! The first award comes when you have detected five properly documented unique extraterrestrial radio sources. Endorsements will be awarded for increasing numbers up to 100. Such signals may originate from satellites, natural phenomena, transmissions bounced off the Moon or another planet, or even from another civilization in space. The categories and criteria for this award can be found on the website of The SETI League Inc. at http://www.setileague.org. Applicants do not need to be members of the SETI League, but should be aware that there is a fee for entering for the awards.
|Solar neutrino mystery solved|
Sue Bowler reports on a vindication of solar and stellar theory.
British scientists have been part of a multinational team based at Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, working to detect neutrinos from the Sun over the past decades. Now, their data, combined with results from a neutrino observatory in Japan, show that the pattern of emission of neutrinos from the Sun is just as theory predicts. This means that the ideas of stellar evolution, widely used to interpret data on stars and galaxies, are valid. And the result implies that estimates of the temperature of the Suns centre (15.7 million K) are accurate to better than 1%.
The solar neutrino mystery arose three decades ago, when measurements found fewer electron neutrinos coming from the Sun than predicted. The question then was: is the theory wrong, or do the neutrinos change as they travel to Earth?
Evidence for such a change in character for solar neutrinos has been elusive, until now. The results from SNO provide what John Bahcall, of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, calls the smoking gun.
SNO can detect only electron neutrinos, not the other two types that theory suggests come from the Sun. But the JapaneseAmerican Super-Kamiokande observatory detects all types of solar neutrinos, although it is most sensitive to electron neutrinos. So if what SNO detects is what comes from the Sun, then both instruments should be seeing about the same numbers of neutrinos. But Super-Kamiokande detects significantly more neutrinos.
So the theory seems to be about right (a conclusion bolstered by calculations from the new data of the total number of neutrinos emitted) and neutrinos change character on their journey from the Sun to Earth. This also means that neutrinos do have mass, although it is less than about 107 of the mass of an electron. The challenge now is to find out yet more about these tantalizing particles.
Bahcall J 2001 Nature 412 29 31.
The 1999 RAS Blackwell and RAS Michael Penston Prizes were awarded at the A&G (Ordinary) Meeting on 8 December 2000. These prizes are awarded for the best PhD thesis in geophysics and planetary science and in astronomy, respectively.
The 1999 RAS Blackwell Prize was presented to Dr Marcus Bruggen of the University of Cambridge for his thesis Physics of the Sun. A cheque and certificate were presented to Dr Bruggen by Robert Campbell, Group Managing Director of Blackwell Science Limited which sponsors this prize.
The 1999 RAS Michael Penston Astronomy Prize was presented to Dr Anthony Challinor of the University of Cambridge for his thesis Applications of geometric algebra in physics and cosmology. Dr Challinor gave an extract of his thesis later at the meeting. A cheque and certificate were presented to Dr Challinor by Prof. Nigel Weiss, President of the RAS.
Dr Bruggen receiving his prize from Robert Campbell, Managing Director of Blackwell Science Ltd, with Dr Challinor and Prof. Weiss.
The name of Otto von Guericke (16021686) does not appear frequently in texts on the history of astronomy as he is mainly associated with studies in physics. Von Guerickes interests were wider than that, however, and he was active in a range of fields such as civil engineering, diplomacy, barometers and the nature of a vacuum, speculations on the nature of space, properties of celestial bodies, and early gropings towards theories of magnetism and electricity (Dictionary of Scientific Biography 1972).
This plate comes from Von Guerickes Experimenta nova (ut vocantur) Magdeburgica, published in Amsterdam in 1672 (the volume which contains the description of the famous Magdeburg Hemispheres). It shows a diagram of the solar system as knowledge then stood, surrounded by alarmingly proximate fixed stars. Von Guericke was perhaps ahead of his time in regarding all the fixed stars as suns each with its planetary system.
The plate is optimistically entitled Typus Emendatiet Perfectioris Systematis Mundi. His solar system includes Saturn, with its then solitary satellite (Titan), Jupiter with the four Galilean moons and Venus with the solitary moon it was then thought to have. The plate also depicts Von Guerickes belief that planetary orbits in this perfect universe were circular and concentric and irregular motions a result of atmospheric effects.
Most intriguing of all, however, are the two innermost objects orbiting the Sun. The idea that sunspots as observed were caused by objects in orbit round the Sun arose from the desire to retain the Aristotelian image of creation as perfect and unspotted and the Sun as an immaculate disk.
This idea was also held by the Jesuit, Christoph Scheiner (15731650), which led him into controversy with Galileo, who held that the spots were on the surface of the Sun (Hoskin 1997).
I am indebted to Dr Allan Chapman for useful discussion of this image.
Dictionary of Scientific Biography V 1972 Scribners, New York, 574 576.
Hoskin M 1997 Cambridge Illustrated History of Astronomy Cambridge University Press 128.
P D Hingley, Librarian of the RAS.
|The new Council of the RAS|
The Council of the RAS for the year 200102 is as follows:
Prof. N O Weiss,
University of Cambridge.
Prof. A Boksenberg CBE FRS,
University of Cambridge.
Prof. S C Chapman,
University of Warwick.
Dr C M R Fowler,
University of London.
Dr M J Penston,
University of Cambridge/PPARC.
Dr P G Murdin, BNSC.
Dr M A Hapgood,
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Prof. I D Howarth,
University College London.
Dr H J Walker,
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Prof. J D Barrow,
University of Cambridge.
N Calder, London.
Dr S K Dunkin,
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Dr M M Grady,
The Natural History Museum.
Prof. P K H Maguire,
University of Leicester.
Dr B W Jones,
The Open University.
Mr A J Kinder, London.
Dr A J Penny,
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Dr A J Smith,
British Antarctic Survey.
Prof. F W Taylor,
Prof. M J Ward,
University of Leicester.
Dr D Ward-Thompson,
Standing, left to right: Dr Dunkin, Prof. Maguire, Dr Browne, Prof. Barrow, Dr Hapgood, Prof. Howarth, Dr McNally, Dr Walker, Dr Ward-Thompson, Dr Smith, Prof. Lawrence.
Seated: Dr Fowler, Prof. Weiss, Dr Penston, Dr Murdin.
Absent: Prof. Cargill, Prof. Boksenberg, Prof. Chapman, Prof. Drew, Prof. Grande, Prof. Ward.
|A & G Subscriptions|
A note from the RAS Treasurer, Paul Murdin.
Readers of A&G have often commented on the interest expressed in this publication by people outside professional astronomy and geophysics, whether they are amateur astronomers or professional scientists working in other fields. Yes, A&G is available to all who would like to subscribe.
I would like to draw attention to the subscription rates, especially to the discounted rate for members of the British Astronomical Association and other associated societies: £30 per year.
For libraries: in Europe £140, overseas £150 and in North America US$235.
Individual subscriptions are: Europe £72, overseas £79 and USA $125.
The RAS would like to form reciprocal associations with other societies to exchange rights to purchase A&G and similar journals at reduced rates. Officers of interested societies should contact The Treasurer at The Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BQ.
|Discussion at the 181 st AGM|
John Lane reports on membership matters.
The 181st Annual General Meeting was held at the Savile Row Lecture Theatre on Friday 11 May 2001. Some changes to the Societys byelaws were proposed by the Council to the AGM. Its intentions were twofold: to increase the membership and make it more attractive to younger astronomers and geophysicists; and to sustain the overall financial health of the Society.
The proposed changes were:
abolishing the separate title of Junior Member (so that all individual members would be Fellows), while keeping subscription rates low for those in full-time education
replacing free membership for those reaching the age of 65 (byelaw 38) by a reduced contribution
simplifying procedures for the election of new members, making membership more accessible
introducing a new category of membership, that of Corporate Members, following the practice of a number of other similar organizations.
While a quorum of Fellows was present at the AGM, the total attendance was disappointing and never exceeded 43 Fellows. The proposal to abolish byelaw 38 was defeated by 21 votes to 18 with 3 abstentions. Other changes were accepted unanimously.
In putting forward its proposals, Council had been mindful that the expenses of running the Society now far exceed the income from the membership. Council is concerned to keep its calls on the membership low, but it is already clear that the alternative revenue streams that subsidize membership costs are drying up somewhat. The demographic profile of the Fellowship (about a quarter of whom are currently relieved from paying a subscription) looks likely to place an increasing and an increasingly unfairly distributed burden on those members who do pay.
During a very lively discussion several Fellows argued against the change. They made the following points:
the move would discourage members from leaving bequests to the Society
there would be resultant ill feeling, with potential resignations
some older Fellows, having supported the Society through their contributions over the years, had formed an expectation that at 65 they would not need to contribute any further.
The AGM suggested several potential solutions to this problem, which Council will take into account when it submits revised proposals at the next AGM, hoping to gain the support of the Fellowship for its plans for the future of the Society.
|MNRAS introduces ftp submission|
From August 2001 it will be possible to submit papers to Monthly Notices electronically, announces John Randall.
Following a successful trial period, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society is about to introduce a new ftp submission process. Authors will be able to submit a single PDF or PS file to the ftp server in the Editorial Office instead of sending the traditional paper copy, although this will remain an option. Indications are that the new procedure will prove very popular.
Although the journals publisher, Blackwell Science Ltd, has handled accepted papers in electronic form for some time, it has not previously been possible for authors to submit new papers to Burlington House in anything other than paper format. Electronic submissions will be offered to editors and referees in PDF format, although paper copies of submissions will be made available to referees who require them. It is hoped that the new system will make submission and processing of papers faster and easier for both authors and referees.
Guidelines for authors will appear in an editorial in MNRAS as soon as possible. Meanwhile, instructions will be available by e-mail from email@example.com.
Thanks are due to all those authors and referees who were brave enough to participate in the trial.
John Randall is Senior Editorial Assistant at Burlington House on Monthly Notices.
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