Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams
The Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT) is the official international clearing house for information relating to transient astronomical events.

The CBAT collects and distributes information on comet
A comet is an icy small Solar System body that, when close enough to the Sun, displays a visible coma and sometimes also a tail. These phenomena are both due to the effects of solar radiation and the solar wind upon the nucleus of the comet...

s, natural satellites, nova
A nova is a cataclysmic nuclear explosion in a star caused by the accretion of hydrogen on to the surface of a white dwarf star, which ignites and starts nuclear fusion in a runaway manner...

e, supernova
A supernova is a stellar explosion that is more energetic than a nova. It is pronounced with the plural supernovae or supernovas. Supernovae are extremely luminous and cause a burst of radiation that often briefly outshines an entire galaxy, before fading from view over several weeks or months...

e and other transient astronomical events. CBAT also establishes priority of discovery (who gets credit for it) and assigns initial designations and names to new objects.

On behalf of the International Astronomical Union
International Astronomical Union
The International Astronomical Union IAU is a collection of professional astronomers, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, active in professional research and education in astronomy...

 (IAU), the CBAT distributes IAU Circulars (IAUCs). From the 1920s to the 1992, the CBAT sent telegrams in urgent cases although most circulars were sent via regular mail
Mail, or post, is a system for transporting letters and other tangible objects: written documents, typically enclosed in envelopes, and also small packages are delivered to destinations around the world. Anything sent through the postal system is called mail or post.In principle, a postal service...

; when telegrams were dropped, the name "telegram" was kept for historical reasons, and they continued as the "Electronic Telegram" of the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBETs). Since the mid 1980s the IAUCs and the related Minor Planet Circular
Minor Planet Circular
The Minor Planet Circulars is a scientific journal that is generally published on the date of each full moon by the Minor Planet Center. The Circulars contain astrometric observations, orbits and ephemerides of minor planets, comets and certain natural satellites...

 (MPC) have been available electronically.

The CBAT is a non-profit organization
Non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

 but charges for its services to finance its continued operation.


The Central Bureau was founded by Astronomische Gesellschaft
Astronomische Gesellschaft
The Astronomische Gesellschaft is an astronomical society established in 1863 in Heidelberg, the second oldest astronomical society after the Royal Astronomical Society....

 in 1882 at Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

, Germany. During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 it was moved to the Østervold Observatory
Østervold Observatory
Østervold Observatory is a former astronomical observatory in Copenhagen, Denmark owned and operated by the University of Copenhagen . It opened in 1861 as a replacement for the University's old observatory at Rundetårn....

 at Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, to be operated there by the Copenhagen University Observatory
Copenhagen University Observatory
Københavns Universitet Astronomisk Observatorium on Østervold is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by Copenhagen University . It is located in Copenhagen, Denmark, and has been in operation since 1861. It has IAU code 035.*Alt 10 m asl-External links:**...

. In 1922, the IAU made the Central Bureau its official Bureau Central des Télégrammes Astronomiques (Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams), and it remained in Copenhagen until 1965, when it moved to the Harvard College Observatory
Harvard College Observatory
The Harvard College Observatory is an institution managing a complex of buildings and multiple instruments used for astronomical research by the Harvard University Department of Astronomy. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and was founded in 1839...

, to be operated there by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. It has remained in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

to this day. The HCO had maintained a western-hemisphere Central Bureau from 1883 until the IAU's CBAT moved there at the end of 1964, so logically the HCO staff took over the IAU's Bureau.

External links

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