Astronomische Nachrichten (Astronomical Notes), one of the first international journals in the field of astronomy, was founded in 1821 by the German astronomer Heinrich Christian Schumacher. It claims to be the oldest astronomical journal in the world that is still being published. The publication today specializes in articles on solar physics, extragalactic astronomy, cosmology, geophysics, and instrumentation for these fields. All articles are subject to peer review.
The January 2006 cover
|Discipline||Astronomy and Astrophysics|
|Language||English (solely since 1990)|
|Edited by||K. G. Strassmeier|
|Frequency||10 issues per year|
The journal was founded in 1821 by Heinrich Christian Schumacher, under the patronage of Christian VIII of Denmark, and quickly became the world's leading professional publication for the field of astronomy, succeeding where others had failed or not achieved the same renown. Schumacher edited the journal at the Altona Observatory, then under the administration of Denmark, later part of Prussia, and today part of the German city of Hamburg.
Schumacher edited the first 31 issues of the journal, from its founding in 1821 until his death in 1850. These early issues ran to hundreds of pages, and consisted mostly of letters sent by astronomers to Schumacher, reporting their observations. The journal proved to be a great success, and over the years Schumacher received thousands of letters from hundreds of contributors. The letters were published in the language in which they were submitted, mostly German, but also English, Italian and other languages.
The journal's renown was acknowledged by the British astronomer John Herschel (then secretary to the Royal Astronomical Society) in a letter to the Danish King in 1840, writing that Astronomische Nachrichten was:
Other astronomical journals were also founded around this time, such as the British Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, which was founded in 1827. It was the importance of Astronomische Nachrichten, however, that led the American astronomer Benjamin A. Gould in 1850 to found The Astronomical Journal in the United States.
Following Schumacher's death, the interim director of the observatory and editor of the journal was Adolphus Cornelius Petersen, who had worked at the observatory with Schumacher for 24 years from around 1825. Petersen, who died in 1854, was later aided as editor by the Danish astronomer Thomas Clausen, who had also previously worked at the observatory.
The editor from 1854 was the German astronomer Christian August Friedrich Peters, who had taken over as director of the observatory at Altona. In 1872, the observatory moved from Altona to Kiel, from where Peters continued to publish the journal until his death in 1880, aided in his final years by his son Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Peters. The journal would continue to be published in Kiel until 1938.
Following Peters's death, Adalbert Krueger served as the new director of the observatory and editor of the journal from 1881 until he died in 1896. At this time the journal was the organ of the Astronomische Gesellschaft. The editor from 1896 until his death in 1907 was the German astronomer Heinrich Kreutz, who had previously assisted Krueger. Kreutz edited volumes 140 to 175. Other staff members during the period from 1880 to 1907 included the astronomers Richard Schorr and Elis Strömgren.
The editor from 1907 to 1938 was the German astronomer Hermann Kobold.
After Kobold retired in 1938, the journal's editorial office moved from Kiel to Berlin, and during the Second World War the journal was published by the Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (Astronomical Calculation Institute) in Berlin-Dahlem. In 1945, the institute was relocated to Heidelberg, but the journal remained in the Berlin region.
After the war, Astronomische Nachrichten was edited by Hans Kienle, director of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam. The observatory was in Potsdam, on the outskirts of Berlin, and from 1948 the journal was published by the publishing company Akademie-Verlag, under the auspices of the German Academy of Sciences Berlin. One of Kienle's students, Johann Wempe (1906–1980) succeeded him as editor in 1951 and held the post for 22 years.
From 1949, and officially from the 1950s until the reunification of Germany in 1990, the journal was published in the German Democratic Republic, behind the Iron Curtain. From 1974 onwards, the journal issues list a chief editor and an editorial board, and the journal was bilingual, with the same material published in German and English. Akademie-Verlag was taken over by VCH in 1990.
From 1996 to the present day (from volume 317), the journal has been published by Wiley-VCH. This company was formed in 1996 when the German publishing company Verlag Chemie (founded 1921) joined John Wiley and Sons. The journal's editorial offices remain in Potsdam, at the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, and the current editor (2007) is K. G. Strassmeier.
The back catalogue of the journal includes 43,899 articles in 99,565 pages in 328 volumes, published over a period of over 180 years.
Although the journal was founded in 1821, the first volume was dated 1823. Volume 1 (1823) consisted of 33 issues and a total of 516 pages. The next year, volume 2 (1824), saw 34 issues and 497 pages. Apart from the years 1830–1832, when two volumes were published in 1831 and none in 1830 or 1832, single volumes of around 20–30 issues were published each year until 1846. Then it was mostly two volumes a year until 1884. There were a record number of five volumes published in 1884. Most years from 1884 to 1914 had three or more volumes. The years 1915–1919 (coinciding with World War I) saw a dip in publication, with 1916 and 1919 only featuring one volume. From 1920 to 1940, most years saw three volumes published. Only one volume per year was published from 1941 to 1943, and the journal was not published at all from 1944 to 1946 (Berlin suffered heavy damage in the closing years of World War II). From 1947 to the present, the journal has published a volume per year in most years, but did not publish at all in some years in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. From 1974 to 1996, the journal was published as 6 issues a year, with each volume being 300–400 pages.
Under the new publishers, Wiley, this pattern continued until 2003, at which point the number of issues per year increased to 9 due to the publication of supplementary issues. Since 2004 there have been 10 issues a year. In 2006, volume 327, there were 10 issues and 1100 pages.
|1–31||1821–1851||Heinrich Christian Schumacher|
|32||1851||Adolph Cornelius Petersen|
|33–37||1852–1854||Adolph Cornelius Petersen and Peter Andreas Hansen|
|38||1854||Peter Andreas Hansen|
|40–96||1855–1880||Christian August Friedrich Peters|
|97||1880||Christian August Friedrich Peters, Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Peters|
|98–99||1881||Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Peters|
|140||1896||Adalbert Krueger, Heinrich Kreutz|
|175||1907||Heinrich Kreutz, Hermann Kobold|
|267||1938||Hermann Kobold, Astronomisches Recheninstitut|
|268–274||1939–1943||Astronomisches Recheninstitut, Name 1939–1944: Kopernikus-Institut|
[Astronomische Nachrichten] is the oldest astronomical journal of the world that is still being published
Gould had decided to use his own funds to help start a new journal, to be modeled explicitly on the prestigious German Astronomische Nachrichten, then in its 28th volume.
1155 Aënna, provisional designation 1928 BD, is an asteroid from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 11 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 26 January 1928, by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth at Heidelberg Observatory in southwest Germany. It is named for the astronomy journal Astronomische Nachrichten.850 Altona
850 Altona is a minor planet orbiting the Sun. It is about 81 km in diameter.It is named after Altona, Hamburg, the location of the Altona Observatory, at which Heinrich Christian Schumacher began publication of the astronomical journal Astronomische Nachrichten in 1821.Adalbert Krueger
Karl Nikolaus Adalbert Krueger (9 December 1832 – 21 April 1896) was a German astronomer. Born in Marienburg, Prussia (now Malbork, Poland), he was editor of Astronomische Nachrichten from 1881 until his death.
Krueger died of a heart condition in Kiel at the age of 63.Altona Observatory
The Altona Observatory (German: Sternwarte Altona) was an astronomical observatory situated in the Palmaille, in Altona, Hamburg. The observatory was founded by Heinrich Christian Schumacher in 1823 and continued to operate until 1871, 21 years after his death. It closed due to funding being cut off following the cession of the 'Elbe Duchies' of Schleswig, Holstein, and Saxe-Lauenburg by Denmark to Austria and Prussia following the Second Schleswig War.
The Astronomische Nachrichten journal was founded at the observatory by Schumacher and was edited there until its closing.Astronomical symbols
Astronomical symbols are abstract pictorial symbols used to represent astronomical objects, theoretical constructs and observational events in European astronomy. The earliest forms of these symbols appear in Greek papyrus texts of late antiquity. The Byzantine codices in which many Greek papyrus texts were preserved continued and extended the inventory of astronomical symbols. New symbols were further invented to represent many newly-discovered planets and minor planets discovered in the 18th to the 20th centuries.
These symbols were once commonly used by professional astronomers, amateur astronomers, alchemists, and astrologers. While they are still commonly used in almanacs and astrological publications, their occurrence in published research and texts on astronomy is relatively infrequent, with some exceptions such as the Sun and Earth symbols appearing in astronomical constants, and certain zodiacal signs used to represent the solstices and equinoxes.
Unicode has formally assigned code points to most symbols, mainly in the Miscellaneous Symbols Block and the Miscellaneous Symbols and Pictographs Block.Carl Wilhelm Wirtz
Carl Wilhelm Wirtz (24 August 1876 in Krefeld – 18 February 1939 in Hamburg) was an astronomer who spent his time between the Kiel Observatory (526) in Germany and the Observatory of Strasbourg, France. He is known for statistically showing the existence of a redshift-distance correlation for spiral galaxies.Christian August Friedrich Peters
Christian August Friedrich Peters (September 7, 1806 – May 8, 1880) was a German astronomer. He was the father of astronomer Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Peters. He was born in Hamburg and died in Kiel.
Peters was the son of a merchant and, although he did not attend secondary school regularly, he obtained a good knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. In 1826 he became assistant to Heinrich Christian Schumacher at Altona Observatory. Schumacher encouraged him to study astronomy and Peters did a PhD under Friedrich Bessel at the University of Königsberg. In 1834 he became an assistant at Hamburg Observatory and in 1839 joined the staff of Pulkovo Observatory. In 1849 he became professor of astronomy at Königsberg and soon after succeeded Bessel as director of the observatory there. In 1854 he became director of the Altona Observatory and editor of the Astronomische Nachrichten. Peters edited the journal for the rest of his life, being responsible for 58 volumes of the journal. In 1872 the observatory moved to Kiel and he moved there and continued in his post. In 1866, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Peters became a name in the literature on the theory of errors for his 1856 note on the estimation of precision using absolute deviations from the mean.
Peters won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1852.Elis Strömgren
Svante Elis Strömgren (31 May 1870 – 5 April 1947) was a Swedish–Danish astronomer.
Strömgren was born in 1870 in Helsingborg, Scania. He received his doctorate at Lund University in 1898, becoming docent there the same year. He worked at the University of Kiel from 1901, and assisted in the publication of Astronomische Nachrichten from 1901 to 1904. He became Professor of Astronomy and director of the Copenhagen Observatory of the University of Copenhagen in 1907. He died in Copenhagen in 1947. The minor planet 1422 Strömgrenia was named in his honour.
Strömgren worked in a variety of fields but was particularly interested in theoretical astronomy and celestial mechanics, publishing works on the origin and orbits of comets. He also worked on the calculations for Jens Olsen's World Clock after 1928.
His spouse, the dentist and writer Hedvig Lidforss (1877–1967), was daughter of the philologist Edvard Lidforss in Lund, and sister of the publicist and botanist Bengt Lidforss. Elis Strömgren's sons were the astronomer Bengt Strömgren, who succeeded his father in Copenhagen in 1940 and Erik Strömgren notable danish psychiatrist.Friedrich Bessel
Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (German: [ˈbɛsəl]; 22 July 1784 – 17 March 1846) was a German astronomer, mathematician, physicist and geodesist. He was the first astronomer who determined reliable values for the distance from the sun to another star by the method of parallax. A special type of mathematical functions were named Bessel functions after Bessel's death, though they had originally been discovered by Daniel Bernoulli and then generalised by Bessel.Giovanni Battista Lacchini
Giovanni Battista Lacchini (20 May 1884 – 6 January 1967) was an Italian astronomer.
He is primarily noted for his work in the study of variable stars. He published over 100 works, including papers in "Astronomische Nachrichten" and "Memorie della Società astronomica italiana". He was originally a postal worker.Heinrich Kreutz
Heinrich Carl Friedrich Kreutz (September 8, 1854 – July 13, 1907) was a German astronomer, most notable for his studies of the orbits of several sungrazing comets, which revealed that they were all related objects, produced when a very large sun-grazing comet fragmented several hundred years previously. The group is now known as the Kreutz Sungrazers, and has produced some of the brightest comets ever seen.
Kreutz was born in Siegen in 1854, and obtained his PhD at the University of Bonn in 1880 on the orbit of comet C/1861 J1. In 1882 he moved to Kiel, working at the observatory and university there. In 1896 he became the editor of the Astronomische Nachrichten, the leading astronomical journal of the time, and held the position until his death in 1907.
The minor planet 3635 Kreutz, discovered by Luboš Kohoutek in 1981, was named after him.Hermann Kobold
Hermann Kobold (5 August 1858 – 11 June 1942) was a German astronomer.Jorge Bobone
Jorge E. Bobone (1901 – October 21, 1958) was an Argentinian astronomer.
He performed his work at the Observatorio Nacional Argentino in Córdoba, established in the 1870s by Benjamin Apthorp Gould and now belonging to the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba.
Between 1928 and 1954 he published multiple papers in the Astronomical Journal and the Astronomische Nachrichten. The majority of his papers were regarding photographic observations of comets, the ephemerides of Jupiter VI, and some asteroids.
The crater Bobone on the Moon and the asteroid 2507 Bobone were named after him.Julius Bauschinger
Julius Bauschinger (January 28, 1860 – January 21, 1934) was a German astronomer.Orest Khvolson
Orest Danilovich Khvolson or Chwolson (Russian: Орест Данилович Хвольсон) (November 22 (N.S. December 4), 1852 in Saint Petersburg – May 11, 1934 in Leningrad) was a Russian physicist and honorary member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (1920). He is most noted for being one of the first to study the gravitational lens effect.Orest, son of the noted Orientalist Daniel Chwolson, graduated from St. Petersburg University in 1873. He began teaching at his alma mater in 1876 and would become a professor in 1891. Orest Khvolson authored a number of works on electricity, magnetism, photometry, and actinometry. He proposed the designs of actinometer and pyrheliometer, which would be used by the Russian weather stations for a long time. After 1896, Khvolson was mainly engaged in compiling the five-volume Physics Course (Курс физики), which would improve immensely the teaching of physics throughout the country and remain a principal textbook in universities for years to come. It was even translated into the German, French, and Spanish languages.
His most noted accomplishment was in 1924, when he published about gravitational lenses in Astronomische Nachrichten, a scientific journal on astronomy. In the article he mentioned the “halo effect” of gravitation when the source, lens, and observer are in near-perfect alignment (now referred to as the Einstein ring), although he did not explicitly discuss the use of the ring as lens.
The concept of gravitational lenses, did not get much attention until 1936, when Albert Einstein wrote about the gravitational lens effect. The "halo" effect of a gravitational lens, where one source (sun or galaxy) produces a ring around another source is referred to as an Chwolson ring, or Einstein ring.
He became an honorary member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. The crater Khvolson on the Moon is named after him.R Coronae Borealis variable
An R Coronae Borealis variable (abbreviated RCB, R CrB) is an eruptive variable star that varies in luminosity in two modes, one low amplitude pulsation (a few tenths of a magnitude), and one irregular, unpredictably-sudden fading by 1 to 9 magnitudes. The prototype star R Coronae Borealis was discovered by the English amateur astronomer Edward Pigott in 1795, who first observed the enigmatic fadings of the star. Only about 150 RCB stars are currently known in our Galaxy while up to 1000 were expected, making this class a very rare kind of star.
It is increasingly suspected that R Coronae Borealis (RCB) stars – rare hydrogen-deficient and carbon-rich supergiant stars – are the product of mergers of white-dwarfs in the intermediary mass regime (0.6 SN 1885A (also S Andromedae) was a supernova in the Andromeda Galaxy, the only one seen in that galaxy so far by astronomers. It was the first supernova that was ever seen that was outside the Milky Way, though it was not appreciated at the time how far away it was. It is also known as "Supernova 1885". William Frederick Denning (25 November 1848 – 9 June 1931) was a British amateur astronomer who achieved considerable success without formal scientific training.Denning devoted a great deal of time to searching for comets, and discovered several including the periodic comet 72P/Denning–Fujikawa and the lost comet D/1894 F1. The latter was the last comet discovered on British soil until the discoveries of George Alcock. Denning also studied meteors and novae, discovering Nova Cygni 1920 (V476 Cyg). He won the Prix Valz of the French Academy of Sciences for 1895. He won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1898. He won the Donohoe Comet Medal for his July 23, 1890 discovery of a comet. He also directed the British Astronomical Association’s Comet (1891-1893) and Meteor (1899-1900) Sections. From 1869 Denning held the combined post of secretary and treasurer of the short-lived Observing Astronomical Society.During his life, Denning published 1179 articles in prominent scientific journals including Nature, The Observatory, Astronomische Nachrichten, Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Journal des Observateurs, and Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.Craters on Mars and the Moon are named in his honor. Winnecke Catalogue of Double Stars is a list of seven "new" double stars published by German Astronomer August Winnecke in Astronomische Nachrichten in 1869. Winnecke later noted that three of the double stars he catalogued had been discovered earlier (30 Eridani, Bradley 757, and 44 Cygni). The stars are sometimes given Winnecke designations (e.g. Winnecke 4), and sometimes abbreviated to WNC.
SN 1885A (also S Andromedae) was a supernova in the Andromeda Galaxy, the only one seen in that galaxy so far by astronomers. It was the first supernova that was ever seen that was outside the Milky Way, though it was not appreciated at the time how far away it was. It is also known as "Supernova 1885".William Frederick Denning
William Frederick Denning (25 November 1848 – 9 June 1931) was a British amateur astronomer who achieved considerable success without formal scientific training.Denning devoted a great deal of time to searching for comets, and discovered several including the periodic comet 72P/Denning–Fujikawa and the lost comet D/1894 F1. The latter was the last comet discovered on British soil until the discoveries of George Alcock.
Denning also studied meteors and novae, discovering Nova Cygni 1920 (V476 Cyg). He won the Prix Valz of the French Academy of Sciences for 1895. He won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1898. He won the Donohoe Comet Medal for his July 23, 1890 discovery of a comet. He also directed the British Astronomical Association’s Comet (1891-1893) and Meteor (1899-1900) Sections. From 1869 Denning held the combined post of secretary and treasurer of the short-lived Observing Astronomical Society.During his life, Denning published 1179 articles in prominent scientific journals including Nature, The Observatory, Astronomische Nachrichten, Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Journal des Observateurs, and Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.Craters on Mars and the Moon are named in his honor.Winnecke Catalogue of Double Stars
Winnecke Catalogue of Double Stars is a list of seven "new" double stars published by German Astronomer August Winnecke in Astronomische Nachrichten in 1869. Winnecke later noted that three of the double stars he catalogued had been discovered earlier (30 Eridani, Bradley 757, and 44 Cygni). The stars are sometimes given Winnecke designations (e.g. Winnecke 4), and sometimes abbreviated to WNC.