The Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT) operates at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, under the auspices of Commission 6 of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and is a nonprofit organization, with principal funding coming from subscriptions to the various services offered by the Bureau.
The CBAT is responsible for the dissemination of information on transient astronomical events, via the IAU Circulars (IAUCs), a series of postcard-sized announcements issued at irregular intervals as necessary in both printed and electronic form, and (as of 2002 Dec. 20) often now also via the electronic-only Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams (CBETs). The CBAT is the official worldwide clearinghouse for new discoveries of comets, solar-system satellites, novae, supernovae, and other transient astronomical events. The first Central Bureau was formally created in the 1880s in Kiel, Germany, remaining there until World War I when it was moved to Copenhagen Observatory (Denmark), where it remained until the end of 1964; the IAU (formed in 1919) adopted the Copenhagen Observatory's Central Bureau as its official Bureau Central des Télégrammes Astronomiques in 1922. On 1965 Jan. 1, the CBAT moved from Copenhagen to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the Harvard College Observatory had been acting as the western hemisphere's astronomy information center also since 1883. The CBAT has operated in Cambridge since 1965 under the successive directorships of Prof. Owen Gingerich (1965-1968), Dr. Brian G. Marsden (1968-2000), and Dr. Daniel W. E. Green (2000-present).
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