Amateur meteor workers have always been interested to exchange information and experience. In the past this was only possible via personal contacts by letter or by specialized journals. With internet a much faster medium became available and plenty of websites, mailing lists, Facebook groups, etc., have been created in order to communicate about meteors. Today there is a wealth of meteor data circulating on internet, but the information is very scattered and not directly available to everyone. The authors have been considering how to organize an easy access to the many different meteor related publications. The best solution for the current needs of amateur meteor observers proved to be a dedicated website combined with a PDF journal, both being free available without any subscription fee or registration requirement. The authors decided to start with this project and in March 2016 the website meteornews.org has been created. The year 2016 will be a test period for this project. The mission statement of this project is: “Minimizing overhead and editorial constraints to assure a swift exchange of information dedicated to all fields of active amateur meteor work.”
Amateur meteor work is booming since video meteor observing became easily accessible for a large number of amateurs. However it is very difficult to follow all the developments as there are too many different sources to check. Some journals impose time-consuming editing procedures and require a semiprofessional level. Most amateurs don’t have the time for that and therefore seek alternatives in social media such as Facebook and Twitter, various online Newsgroups and blogs. So far internet and social media in particular prove to be a jungle of information and it became impossible to keep track of all interesting news. The traditional media like specialized journals, serve mainly as reference source for ongoing research. These journals are not suitable for amateurs who just wish some ‘easy reading’ information about the meteor community. Something is missing and the question is if and how amateurs can improve the situation.
Aims and mission statement
It is obvious that there is a gap between the swift publication online and the advanced paper publications. Could a new meteor platform fill the gap in the market? eRadiant as online journal in PDF is still very popular among Dutch speaking amateurs. Would it be useful to set up something similar for the international community of amateur meteor observers? Discussions with several leading amateur meteor workers in recent months proved very positive. The idea was suggested to consider a new online publication with as name eMeteorNews which is straightforward for what it stands for. The first idea was to produce an online journal as PDF, inspired by eRadiant. But another brilliant idea is to set up a dedicated website to publish meteor news as soon as possible when it becomes available. The main purpose is to share meteor news, quickly and easy, with a minimum of editing constraints. Combining the advantages of a Meteor News website with these of a PDF journal, we can ‘eat from two bags of food’ and have something as fast as social media, combined with a PDF journal for archiving and reference purposes. Some of the advantages would be:
- Free of charge as the production would require zero costs;
- No membership required being independent from any society;
- Fast publication on the website;
- Flexibility in volume and periodicity;
- Archiving as PDF for storage with the ADS Abstract service;
- Ease of use with no editing constraints to submit content;
- Printable as PDF format allows local printing;
- Searchable content on both the website and in the PDF archive;
- Full color publication on the website and in the PDF;
- Boost outreach in this field being unlimited free available;
With eMeteorNews we hope to bring the essential information together in a single source. The new eMeteorNews should be complementary and not compete with any existing publications. There is no restriction to the type of content. It should remain dedicated to the active amateur meteor workers for quick and efficient dissemination of meteor news without any bureaucratic overhead.
The mission statement of this project: “Minimizing overhead and editorial constraints to assure a swift exchange of information dedicated to all fields of active amateur meteor work.”
Who will take care of this? Several people volunteered to become MN-editor. Meteor workers interested to join the editorial board are welcome to join the current editorial board:
- Karl Antier (France)
- Paul Jones (USA)
- Richard Kacerek (U.K.)
- Jakub Koukal (Czech Republic)
- Bob Lunsford (USA)
- Koen Miskotte (Netherlands)
- Roman Piffl (Slovakia)
- Paul Roggemans (Belgium)
- Your name here?
When? Discussions about this project started begin of 2016. The response to the idea was very positive. Several people offered to help and are interested to participate. Since we start from scratch, we’ll work out a prototype as experiment and use the rest of 2016 as a test period. We hope to collect news on the website meteornews.org and to compile a few online issues in PDF format. If the test period proves successful we’ll register an ISSN number and start archiving with ADS abstract service.
What to publish? We welcome input from all meteor workers: reports on visual observations, reports from camera networks, reports on radio observations, fireball and particular meteor sightings, anything related to meteor work. The content should focus on practical aspects, the style should be informal easy reading text.
How to submit content?
Send your text and pictures by mail to one of the MeteorNews.org editors. Short announcements can be published easily in WordPress without any layout requirements. To keep MeteorNews.org easy reading, submit the following as text without bothering about editing aspects:
- A short title (mandatory);
- Name of author(s) (mandatory);
- Contact address(es) of the author (optional);
- Abstract (optional but recommended for articles);
- Body text (mandatory);
- Pictures (optional, but if pictures are submitted a caption is mandatory);
- References (optional).
If you have a relative long and elaborated contribution it may be worth the effort to prepare this as a Word document. In such case we recommend to use the Word template which can be downloaded here. Save this dotx file on your computer. In Word you find under ‘File’ – ‘Options’ – ‘Add ins’, here at the bottom you see ‘Manage’ select ‘Templates’ & click ‘Go’ in the tab ‘Templates browse to select the eMeteorNews dotx file. Make sure to mark ‘Automatically update document styles’.
As soon as some content is received by an editor, it will be published as soon as possible on the MeteorNews.org website.
Every now and then a selection of articles collected on the website will be assembled as a journal in PDF which will be reported and archived with the ADS abstract service (from 2017 onwards). All papers published in MeteorNews.org and its PDF journal eMeteorNews will be archived for consultation and reference purposes.