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Communications from the University of London Observatory

Before the ubiquity of the internet, and when the Observatory was still went under the name of the University of London Observatory, much research was published under the umbrella of 'Communications from the University of London Observatory'.
Comm. ULO Nos. 1 to 79

Information regarding the availability of previous, printed issues and detailed index of Comm. ULO issues 1 to 79.
Comm. ULO No. 80 onwards

Comm. ULO issues from No. 80 onwards are available online.

University of London Observatory 'Communications' began in 1938 as a serial presentation of both original monographs and reprints of articles published elsewhere. At its peak, the series was circulated in paper form to nearly 400 institutions and individuals around the world.

As UK Universities fell foul of budget cuts, 'Comm. ULO' became an inevitable casualty, and suspended publication in 1977. Moreover, less material being published in this way, and more in the refereed journals. However, there was still room for the publication of supplementary material, such as software listings, tables of data, and special material related to teaching, which did not easily fit into the usual journal format.

In 1984, the heirs of the late Frank Norman Jenkins, a resident of Essex and a veteran of WWI, generously donated a sum of 1000 pounds to University College London for the express purpose of supporting the renewal of the publication of the Communications. Two issues of Comm. ULO were subsequently produced, substantially draining the fund that provided for their preparation, printing and posting. Comm. ULO then went into hibernation.

It is intended that the Frank Norman Jenkins Fund will be used for special items of equipment and to support student research, with part of it continuing to support the preparation and maintenance of web-based publication of material in the following categories:

  • PhD theses by UCL astronomy students not planning to publish full details elsewhere;
  • Details of astronomical software or databases developed at UCLO;
  • Descriptions of equipment and techniques in use at UCLO;
  • Reports of research of a minor nature, such as outstanding undergraduate projects;
  • Descriptions of archive material held by the Observatory;
  • Material (including pictures and recorded sound) related to the history of U(C)LO.
  • Scripts of original laboratory experiments devised at UCLO.


Future communications from the Observatory will be presented in the most appropriate format for the particular item.  For example, we will make documents such as theses or monographs available in postscript formats, with compression such as .gz which can be decompressed using the GNU gunzip command in Unix and Linux systems.  As new capabilities become available to us we will try to develop additional formats.

The first publication in this new format is the 1997 PhD thesis of Dr Caroline Sarah Allen, bearing the number 80 in the Comm. ULO series.

Dr. Mike Dworetsky
Director, University of London Observatory

2nd February 1998