Last updated on
4/11/
2006

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Glossaries of Common Acronyms and Terms

Here are a few lists of terminology that I believe you will find helpful:

An Annotated Glossary of Common Amateur Astronomy Acronyms and Terms

As you become more involved with observing and start exploring and participating in Internet discussion groups or reading amateur astronomy books, you will likely come across a variety of abbreviations, acronyms, and terms with which youre not familiar.  Ive created a document that describes the more common abbreviations, acronyms, and terms, many of which are ones that beginners find are not all that easy to track down (such as CPM). Click here to view the Annotated Glossary of Common Amateur Astronomy Acronyms and Terms, or you may download it as a PDF file: Annotated Glossary.pdf
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Star Databases - Common Acronyms and Terminology

The star database used by modern GoTo SCT scopes is a portion of the SAO database. As you peruse other lists of interesting stars to observe, youll find that those stars are usually listed with designations other than their SAO number. Ive created a simple table that itemizes the most common star database acronyms and terminology (including SAO in case you dont know what that acronym means) - click here to view the Star Database Notations list, or you may download it as a PDF file: Star Database Notations.pdf.
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Deep Sky Objects (DSO) Databases:  Other Acronyms, Names, and References

Modern GoTo SCT scopes include the Messier, NGC and IC databases (whose origins are described in my Annotated Glossary above).  Over time you will come across recommendations of DSOs worth viewing, that are not in those three lists. 

These DSOs will typically have designations comprising an acronym and number; should you be interested in what catalog lists those objects come from, Ive created a table that itemizes the more common DSO catalogs used by astronomers, beyond the Messier, NGC and IC databases.  At some point you are likely to wonder where the designation B33 (which is the Horsehead nebula) came from - trust me on this.  So click here to view the DSO Database Notations table, or you may download it as a PDF file: DSO Database Notations.pdf.  If you try to track down this information by yourself, after a while I believe you will quickly come to appreciate having this table available <grin>.

 

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