Data usage guidelines

Revised 2021 June 28

COBS is an international archive of comet observations, hosted at Crni Vrh observatory. The database was launched in 2010 and is used by a number of national comet associations/sections for reporting, archiving and distributing comet observations.

The COBS Comet Observation Database is a collection of comet observations made primarily by the amateur astronomical community, and includes data from observers affiliated with other astronomy organizations that share and archive data with us. Data are accessible through the COBS Analysis page.

The COBS Comet Observation Database is the product of the ongoing efforts and expertise of the volunteer observers who contribute the data and the COBS technical staff who prepare and maintain the database. Please respect their and our work by using these data in accordance with these policies.

Observations are stored in standard ICQ format. New ICQ-style codes for observers, instruments, CCD cameras, telescopes and star catalogs are created as needed by the COBS team. In 2015, upload of historic observations from the ICQ data archive to COBS was completed.

Database statistics may be found on the Statistics page. Observers may receive a monthly e-mail report with observation statistics made by observes of their assigned comet association by ticking the appropriate box in the personal profile.

Since 2017 magnitude estimates of selected non-comets may be uploaded to COBS. Contact the COBS administrator if you wish to add observations of minor bodies with suspected cometary activity. We recommend that CCD light curve photometry of minor bodies are uploaded to Brian D. Warner's Light Curve Database (LCDB; using the ALCDEF format which supports higher photometric and temporal precision than the ICQ format.

Data usage license:

This data and work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
All data, images and other material are freely available to the community and can be used under the following conditions:

You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. The source of the data, image should be duly credited (Examples: “Credit: COBS Comet Observation Database – CC BY-NA-SA 4.0”).You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.


a) For publication in all AAS Journal Publications:
Please use the AAS facilities keyword "COBS" in your AAS journal publications.

b) Acknowledgement for data correlation/reference:
If COBS data are used for correlation with other types of data, or as reference material, we appeal that you use the following acknowledgement or one similar to it:
"We acknowledge with thanks the comet observations from the COBS Comet Observation Database contributed by observers worldwide and used in this research."

c) Direct use of data:
When unpublished COBS data are specifically referred to in the text, they should be referenced in the following manner (using appropriate format):
2018, Observations from the COBS International Database,

d) Coauthorship for key observers:
If one or more observers provide data that are critical to the outcome of your research, we strongly encourage you to offer co-authorship to those observers in papers resulting from that research. COBS staff may assist in making contact with observers whose data are used in your research.