Sunday, July 25, 2021

asked for a clarification

I spotted something a little mysterious in the lists or tables for the Deep-Sky Gems in the Observer's Handbook. Couldn't find an explanation. So I reached out to the editor, James Edgar.

I asked, "What does the parenthesis mean around the magnitudes?" I cited an example. Winter. Near bottom of page. Levy 158. It appears to be 3 galaxies.

I guessed it was the combined or average mag?

James quickly replied. "From the last sentence of para. 1 on p. 324: Chart numbers in parentheses indicate unlabelled objects."

Oh brother.

I countered, "No. I'm not asking about chart numbers. Magnitude."

He responded quickly, "In that case, it's a combined magnitude."

I thought that a funny way to say it... Was he guessing?! Seemed like it and that didn't sit well.

So I asked, "Should a footnote go somewhere to clarify this?" 

Thanked him for his time.

To which he said, "I'll check with Doveed (David)."

Good. That's what should have been done.


A couple of days later, James relayed a message from Mr Levy.

"Good catch! The parenthesis means that the magnitude is probably a combined value for the three. But the magnitude is only a guess, so you can easily remove the parens without causing any problem."



More wingin' it...

James said to Doveed, "That was a catch by Blake Nancarrow of Toronto. I think I'll leave the parens, and create a footnote. There are a couple of others."

At last. Something to aid the reader of the fine Observer's Handbook!


The 2023 edition of the handbook shows a footnote.

You're welcome.

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