Comet Section        



We request that comet magnitudes be submitted to the ALPO using the International Comet Quarterly (ICQ) format. The ICQ has been the primary international repository for comet magnitude measurements for over 30 years. The ICQ format consists of a 80 character ASCII text line for visual magnitude measurements and a 160 character line for CCD magnitude estimates. The ICQ format also includes fields for the reporting of coma diameters, degree of condensation of coma, tail lengths and tail P.A.

A detailed description of the ICQ format can be found here. An alternate description in Spanish (and the Google translation to English is also very good) can be found on J. J. Gonzalez’ website. A key to abbreviations for use with the ICQ format can also be found here.

A Windows-based program for producing ICQ formatted data can be found at the German Comet Section site. You can also use the COBS site to produce ICQ formatted data (registration required).

Finder charts for comets bright enough for visual observations can be found at the following sites: Astrosite Groningen, Comet Chasing, BAA Comet Section.

For help on using the ICQ format, please contact the Comet Section coordinator at < chergen (at) >.

Thanks to ALPO member John Sabia for suggestions to improve this page!

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