Data usage guidelines

Revised 2018 Januray 05

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.

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.

Formal policy: Acknowledgement for Using COBS Data

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. These data are freely available to the community, but we appeal that users adhere to the policy outlined below. Doing so indicates that you support the purpose of the COBS, and respect the worldwide community of observers who provided these data to it.

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 resepect their and our work by using these data in accordance with these policies.

Policy for use and acknowledgement of the COBS and data from the International Database is as follows:

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

2) 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."

3) 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):

2015, Observations from the COBS International Database,

4) 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 will assist in making contact with those observers for this purpose if they choose to be included as co-authors.

Handling of data under GDPR

Revised 2018 May 25

The new data protection regulation (GDPR) applies from May 25, 2018. It gives you as a member of the COBS an improved protection in handling personal data.

Here we make it clear how COBS manages and uses the personal information about you.

Use of personal data

COBS processes and saves only personal information that is necessary for the business and communication with you as a member.

COBS uses your personal information for the following purposes:

  • send you information emails about your observations (if you apply to digest emails)
  • save your preferences to personalize functionality on the web page which is available after login.

We only save the information that is required according to the above. We never share your information with other organizations.

Your rights

As a member you have the right to:

  • get access to your information
  • correct your information
  • delete your data
  • be forgotten

You can view your personal information in your profile.

Only persons responsible for observer registration and distribution of information have access to the data.

Contact the COBS staff if you have questions or want to change your information.