Astronomy & Astrophysics celebrates 50 years since its first issue
The high-impact journal, which ESO helped to found, celebrates a half-century of accomplishment
30 January 2019
January 2019 marks 50 years since the publication of the first issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics, which ESO played an important role in founding. Since its inception, Astronomy & Astrophysics has become recognised as a prestigious publication counted amongst the top journals in the field.
In January 1969 Astronomy & Astrophysics — known as A&A — published its first issue. This debut was achieved within a year of the first meeting of the founders in April 1968. The motivation behind its creation was to unite the individual astronomy publications of the founding European member states into a single larger journal, garnering increased recognition worldwide. In the 50 intervening years, A&A has grown into a highly influential publication.
Though itself only a few years older than A&A, ESO played a significant role in its establishment; as an existing European intergovernmental astronomy organisation, ESO was able to lend its legal status to A&A, smoothing the logistical aspects of its founding and helping to get the project off the ground. In return, ESO was acknowledged as an essential partner of the journal and represented on the Board of Directors. The shared goals of ESO and A&A led to a productive collaboration which continues to this day, with ESO still very much involved in this distinguished journal.
Like ESO, A&A has seen remarkable growth in the time since it was founded. From humble beginnings with only a handful of European member states, it now has 27 member states across the globe. The increased scope of the journal prompted the replacement of its original subtitle “A European Journal” with the more fitting “Worldwide astronomical and astrophysical research” in 2001.
Its significance as the only main astronomy journal that is not owned by any single nation or organisation is in keeping with its motto”‘by astronomers for astronomers” — a core principle shared with ESO. With a solid foundation built over the last 50 years, the partnership between ESO and A&A will continue to enrich the astronomical community for years to come.
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