The ALPO welcomes reports, articles, and letters
for publication in its quarterly Journal, The
Strolling Astronomer. All authors should observe
and follow the guidelines provided here for works
intended for publication in it.
Special instructions for ALPO Monographs /
Conference Proceedings are provided at the
end of these guidelines.
Submissions may be either electronic (as file
attachments or e-mails), or as traditional paper
copy sent via regular mail. Electronic submissions
are much preferred.
All submissions, including "Letters to the
Editor", should be accompanied by a notification
stating that the material is being submitted for
publication plus the following:
- Contact telephone number
- Fax number (if any)
- E-mail address (again, if any)
If a paper copy is submitted, a single copy is
usually sufficient, and the author(s) should retain
a copy for themselves.
In terms of content, we deal with the objects in
the Solar System; the Sun, Moon, major and minor
planets, satellites of the these bodies, comets and
meteors. Our emphasis is on observations and
observing techniques rather than theory or
cosmology, although papers which deal with these
alternative topics are not automatically rejected.
Ordinarily, submissions should not exceed a total of
10-12 printed pages including illustrations; allow
about 1,000 words per printed page.
The ALPO publishes in the English language only.
All submissions should be in clear, grammatically
Due to copyright laws, all submissions for ALPO
publication MUST be original and neither been
published nor currently submitted to any other
publication. Previously published submissions or
those currently being considered for publication
elsewhere will not be published by the ALPO.
Once material has been published by the ALPO, it
may not be published elsewhere without the
permission of both the author(s) and the ALPO
Authors who disregard these directives cause
ethical and potential legal problems, and therefore
risk rejection of all future submissions.
Unsolicited revisions of previous submissions
will be accepted only when requested by an Editor,
or in unusual cases, such as when new information
invalidates statements in the original.
If submitting paper copy, text and illustrations
should be on letter-size (8.5 x 11-inch) white
paper, unfolded and printed on only one side of the
Material not conforming to these guidelines may
be either rejected outright or returned to the
author for correction.
In summary, remember that ACCURACY is most
important, and that papers should be clearly written
and carefully typed.
Electronic Submissions (Online)
For all submissions provided in online:
- If the piece is short and no special
character formatting is required, it may be
included within the body of a standard e-mail.
Otherwise, the preferred method is via file
- Because of its almost universal use, the
text may be in Microsoft Word format.
Alternatively, plain text file (ASCII) format
for either a Macintosh or PC-compatible is also
- Accompanying illustrations (images) should
be formatted in either EPS if a line drawing,
and PICT, TIFF, or GIF if grayscale. Color
images are used ONLY in the pdf version of the
ALPO Journal and are converted to grayscale for
the paper Journal.
Electronic Submissions (CD / Diskette)
For all submissions provided in electronic format
on either CD or 3.5-inch diskette:
A paper copy of all text and illustrations should
The text must be in the form of a plain text file
(ASCII) and formatted for either a Macintosh or
Accompanying illustrations (images) should be on
a 3.5 inch diskette formatted for either Macintosh
or PC-compatible. The file format should be either
EPS if a line drawing, and PICT, TIFF, or GIF if
grayscale. Color images are used ONLY in the pdf
version of the ALPO Journal; color images are
converted to grayscale for the paper Journal.
Compress (ZIP) submitted files ONLY if there is
no other way to squeeze a file onto a diskette.
Label the disk as to the type of computer and the
Handwritten or hand-printed submissions are not
acceptable. The text should be either type-written
or computer-printed in clear black type, 1-1/2 or
The title and author's (authors') name(s) should
be centered at the top of the first page. If the
author(s) wishes, an affiliation or address may also
For articles longer than about 2 printed pages
(roughly 2,000 words), place a 75-100 word abstract
just preceding the main text (the JALPO is
Number all equations in order, beginning with
(1). Each equation should be placed on a separate
Pay particular attention to the following:
- Consistency in numerical values between
different parts of the text, between tables, and
between the text and tables.
- Accuracy and completeness of literature
- Consistency between English and Metric units
for telescope apertures; metric units are
preferred for astronomical dimensions.
Footnotes should be literature citations only, in
the form, "(Jones, 1973, 18)", where the last figure
is the page referred to. Use, for example, "Smith et
al." when there are four or more authors. Note that,
where italics are used in these guidelines, authors
may use underlining instead.
Literature references should be listed at the end
of the text, in alphabetical order by author,
formatted as in the following examples:
- (Book) Moriarty, J. (1885) Asteroid
Dynamics. Arkham, MA: Miskatonic University
- (Periodical) Ward, C.D. (1987) "Watching
Four Comet Halley Apparitions." New England
Journal of Astronomy, Vol. 285, No. 5 (July),
If there is more than one reference to the same
author in the same year, use, for example,
"(1994a)", "(1994b)", in the order of publication.
Note that the title should be given for all works,
including papers, and that the range of pages should
be given for papers, not just the first page.
If the author refers to a "personal
communication", a reference "in press", or to a
“www” (World Wide Web) page, then the appropriate
hardcopy should also be submitted with the paper.
Tables are treated as text rather than
illustrations, and may be submitted either as
separate pages or embedded in the main text. Number
tables consecutively with Arabic numbers, beginning
with "Table 1". No table should exceed the size of
one full page (6.5 by l 1.0 inches).
Use your word processor's "Table" feature to
create a proper table – do NOT use the spacebar to
vertically align columns. With Microsoft Word, click
on the "Table" pull-down menu, then choose "Insert",
then "Table", then pick the number of columns and
rows in your table, leave the rest alone and click
on "OK". To align the text within the cells,
highlight the cell or cells and use the text
alignment choices in the toolbar across the top of
your screen for Centered Text, Left-Aligned Text,
Right-Aligned Text or Justified Text.
- Illustrations submitted on paper should be
clearly drawn, with good contrast. Normally,
they will be scanned and placed in the final
copy by an Editor. As stated earlier, color
images are used ONLY in the pdf version of the
ALPO Journal; color images are converted to
grayscale for the paper Journal. Paper
illustrations are returned only if requested.
- Photocopies ("Xerox" copies) of grey-scale
drawings, photographs, or images are not
acceptable. This is because such copies usually
are too contrasty, with little or no
- On the other hand, such copies of
black-and-white originals (e.g., line drawings)
are still acceptable. For grey-scale originals,
we advise either making photographic copies, or
scanning them and either e-mailing them to the
Editor or sending the Editor a diskette with the
illustration in the form of a graphics file in a
standard format (JPEG, GIF, TIFF, or PICT). You
can also send the original drawing, 35-mm slide,
or film negative, or photographic print to an
Editor, along with a self-addressed, stamped
return envelope, who will scan your originals
and then return them to you.
- The author should select which illustrations
are to be used; rather than, for example,
providing an Editor with an envelope full of
illustrations and letting him choose. There is
no point to submitting illustrations that are
not referred to in the text of a paper.
- Number all illustrations on their backs,
with Arabic numbers beginning with "Figure 1".
For astronomical views (drawings, photographs,
electronic images), celestial north MUST be
indicated; if the image is laterally reversed,
indicate this as well.
- Do NOT place text within images; instead,
include the explanatory material at the end of
your paper. This is because the text within the
image grows or shrinks with the size of the
image when images are scaled to fit on the page;
this makes for extremely unprofessional and
often unreadable graphics.
- Graphs should be clearly drawn and labeled,
with scales provided on all four margins.
Provide captions for all figures, using
consecutive page numbers, starting with "Figure 1."
- For astronomical views, supporting
information is essential. At the minimum, this
should include: Observer name
- Date and time in UT
- Telescope type, aperture (in centimeters
[cm]), and magnification (if a drawing)
- Filters used, if any
- Atmospheric Seeing conditions, using the
0-10 ALPO Scale
- Atmospheric Transparency conditions, as
limiting stellar magnitude in the vicinity of
- Any other data pertinent to the object
Object-specific data include, for example:
- Colongitude for the Moon
- Central meridians for most planets
For photographs or electronic images, the
exposure time and effective focal ratio should also
Occasionally, authors wish to submit
illustrations intended for publication exactly as
they appear. Most often, these are groups of small
drawings or photographs that are to appear together.
Such submissions must:
- Be in clean, reproducible form with good
contrast and linework
- Not exceed 6.5 by 11.0 inches for the actual
- Contain NO captions or figure numbers
(although these may be provided separately)
- May contain letters to identify separate
figures within the illustration
Bear in mind that Journal, ALPO illustrations are
reduced to about 70 percent of their original size
These reports present some special problems for
- A large volume of observations need to be
summarized in no more than 10-12 pages of
printed text and illustrations if at all
- Not every observer can be trusted to
calculate correct central meridians and other
ephemeris quantities; these all need to be
checked by the author/Section Coordinator.
- It is important to give credit to observers
by name, so every Section Report should include
a list of contributing observers, containing at
the least their names and locations (both
spelled correctly). If space allows, observers'
telescope types and apertures, and the number of
observations contributed by type, should also be
given. Statistical information about the
apparition should be included; with information
such as dates of conjunction, opposition or
greatest elongation, declination at opposition,
angular diameter, length of observing season,
and so forth.
- The author/section coordinator may need to
convert to American or ALPO standard usage
foreign usages, such as the Antoniadi Seeing
Proceedings / Monographs
All material for Convention Proceedings is to be
camera-ready, both text and illustrations. All an
editor will do before photocopying is to add
continuous page numbers. Thus, what the author
submits will be reproduced exactly in appearance.
Page numbers should be on the back of each page.
Also, illustrations must be submitted mounted on
pages with captions in place.
ALPO Monographs comprise special publications
that are too lengthy for Journal publication. Unless
intended for Convention Proceedings (see below),
Monograph submissions follow the same guidelines as
for the Journal, except for the latter's length
* * * * *
These guidelines are intended to help produce a
higher-quality Journal. Obviously, no paper will be
perfect, but the Editors are happy to work with
authors to improve submissions when the author makes
a good-faith effort to comply. However, repeated
disregard of these guidelines will result in a paper
With all communications with ALPO staff, please
furnish a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
(This page last updated
April 7, 2007)