Electronic Manuscript Submission Instructions

Astronomical Journal
Department of Astronomy
Box 351580
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-1580
Phone: (206) 685-2150
FAX: (206) 685-0403
email: astroj@astro.washington.edu

Importance of Electronic Submissions

All AASTeX and Word/WordPerfect files that are submitted electronically to the Astronomical Journal office, according to the following instructions, are used by the University of Chicago Press to electronically produce the pages of the published Journal. This includes all table and figure files. Your electronic submissions are important, so please submit electronically if at all possible.

Instructions For Electronic Submission

The Astronomical Journal is accepting electronic submissions via its anonymous FTP site. The FTP address is ftp.astro.washington.edu ( Log in as "anonymous" and give your full email address as a password. Submissions should be placed in the /astroj directory. You will be able to write to this directory but not read its contents.

Please do not submit manuscripts by email. If you are unable to submit electronic manuscripts by FTP please contact smith@astro.washington.edu for further submission instructions.

It is important that all Word/WordPerfect files are transferred in binary mode. The easiest way to do this is to type bin at the ftp> prompt after you log in.

If your submission is particularly large you may wish to compress your files. The preferred method is to place all of the files into one tar file and compress it with gzip. You may also use compress (.Z) or zip (.zip) on the files. Please do not use Macintosh specific compression utilites (i.e. StuffIt).

If you send a compreesed file make sure you send it in binary mode and that you send a copy of the .readme file seperate from the compressed archive.

Please use the following conventions for naming the files placed in the ftp site:

Cover Letter         FirstAuthor.readme
Manuscript           FirstAuthor.tex
Tables               FirstAuthor.tab#.tex (e.g., Smith.tab2.tex)
Figures              FirstAuthor.fig#.ps (e.g., Smith.fig2c.ps)
Compressed Archive   FirstAuthor.tar.gz (e.g. Smith.tar.gz)

Cover Letter         FirstAuthor.txt
Manuscript           FirstAuthor.doc      (Word documents  DOS/Win/Mac)
                     FirstAuthor.wpf      (WordPerfect documents DOS/Win/Mac)
Figures              FirstAuthor.fig#.ps  (e.g., Smith.fig2.ps)
Please make sure each of the above .tex files is self-contained, i.e., DO NOT use the \include or \input command or reference local files or pathnames.

The cover letter should be a plain ASCII text file that includes the email address of the corresponding author, detailing the contents of the submission, noting the names of the files submitted, number of figures and tables in the manuscript and any other information that may be helpful to the editorial office.

An email message acknowledging the receipt of the FTP submission will be sent to the corresponding author within one working day of the submission. If a message is not received please contact smith@astro.washington.edu to inquire about the submission.

Paper Copies: If the electronic submission is complete (all table and figure files are submitted electronically as well as the manuscript file), paper copies of the manuscript do not need to be submitted.


If your paper lists objects that are newly-discovered, the IAU Commission 5, through its Task Group on Designations, requests that such objects be designated according to IAU specifications. The proper procedure is to design a name according to IAU rules and then to register it with the commission before the paper is published. Please be sure that all of your object that might have been named in the past are not now given new, redundant, names. This whole procedure is especially important now that virtually all astronomical literature is searchable by computer.

Preparation of LaTeX Manuscript

Manuscripts submitted electronically should be formatted with the AASTeX macro package. Instructions for retrieving the AASTeX package as well as a very informative Author's Guide and FAQ are available at the AASTeX Home Page. Instructions for retrieving the AASTeX package are also available via electronic mail at: AASTEX-INSTRUCT@AAS.ORG.

[Please note that a new version of AASTeX (v4.0) was released in May 1995; the v4.0 distribution uses the LaTeX 2.09 command set but should process under LaTeX 2e in compatibility mode. However, authors should avoid using any LaTeX 2e extensions in their manuscripts.]

Following are a few specific guidelines for the preparation of documents comprising the electronic manuscript (please refer to the Author's Guide for a complete set of guidelines).

Formatting Style

AASTeX has two main formatting styles, the MANUSCRIPT style (aasms4.sty) and the PREPRINT style (aaspp4.sty). Manuscripts should be formatted with the MANUSCRIPT style. This insures that the manuscript will be double-spaced and that the title page and abstract are on separate pages. Please do not use the \tighten option in the document preamble.

All author-defined commands should be placed in the preamble, after the \documentstyle command and before the \begin{document} command. Author-defined commands should not be used to define new symbols. If additional symbols are required, authors should use the AMS symbols as discussed in Appendix B of the AASTeX macro package author guide. Newly defined symbols may used only if they are given exactly the same name as a preexisting AMS symbol.

Authors should use \newcommand rather than \def when defining new macros. Author-defined commands that take more than one argument or use numbers in the macro name cannot be accepted at this time and should not be used.

Page Order

Manuscripts should be arranged in the following order:

  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract and key words
  3. Text and acknowledgements
  4. Appendices (if any)
  5. References
  6. Figure Captions Page

Title and Author Information

The \footnote{TEXT} command for footnotes to titles and the \altaffilmark{KEY NUMBER(S)} and \altaffiltext{KEY NUMBER(S)}{TEXT} commands for footnotes to author names should be used. If an author has more than one affiliation, all KEY NUMBERS should be placed within the same \altaffilmark, eg, John Smith\altaffilmark{1,2}; Jane Smith \altaffilmark{2,4,5}. Each KEY NUMBER must point to a separate \altaffiltext command.

Abstract and Keywords

The \keywords{TEXT} command for subject headings must be placed after the \end{abstract} command and not before it. A list of keyword can be found here.


Pages should be numbered from Title Page (Page 1) through Figure Captions Page.


The appendices should be separated from the text by an '\appendix' command. Page, table, and figure numbers of the appendix should continue the numbering sequence of those in the text.

Figure Captions

Figure captions should be grouped together on a captions page following the references page and can be marked in one of two ways:

1) Using the \figcaption{TEXT} command (only with AASTeX 4.0), where the optional parameter refers to the PostScript file name, e.g., Smith.f2.ps, if it exists; labels are permitted. For example:

  \figcaption[Smith.f1.ps]{Caption text here for Figure 1. \label{f1}}
  \figcaption[Smith.f2.ps]{Caption text here for Figure 2. \label{f2}}
2) Using the figure environment as follows:
The \label{KEY} command is optional; it must be placed either at the end of the TEXT within the \caption command or immediately after the \caption command. Please use the \begin{figure} and \end{figure} commands at the beginning and end of each figure caption.

Figure captions should not be marked up using the enumerate environment, the \noindent command, or any markup other than the two methods listed above. Authors do not need to place numbers in either form of figure caption markup; LaTeX will number the figures automatically. There should be only one \figcaption command or one figure environment per figure (e.g., do not make Fig. 1a and Fig. 1b separate \figcaption commands or figure environments).


Each table should be formatted using either the AASTeX deluxetable environment or the standard table and tabular environments. The table and tabular environments must be used together, with the tabular environment placed inside the table environment.

For footnotes in tables, authors should use the \tablenotemark{KEY LETTER} and \tablenotetext{KEY LETTER}{TEXT} commands rather than superscript letters. For a general note to a table, the \tablenotecomments{TEXT} command should be used. For a list of references to the table, the \tablerefs{TEXT} command should be used. When using the table/tabular mechanism, the \tablenotetext{KEY LETTER}{TEXT}, \tablecomments{TEXT} and \tablerefs{TEXT} must be placed after the \end{tabular} command but before the \end{table} command. When using the deluxetable environment, these commands must be placed after the \enddata command and before the \end{deluxetable} command.

The deluxetable environment automatically places the appropriate lines at the top and bottom of the table. Authors who use the table/tabular mechanism should place two \tableline commands before the column heads, one \tableline command after the column heads, and one \tableline command after the last line of data. Tables should have no vertical rules or other horizontal rules.

Please use the \tablenum{} command to number the tables and the \pagestyle{empty} command to suppress the page numbers if they interfere with the table's data.

n.b. If you are having problems centering captions and notes in your tables or your landscape tables print near the bottom of the first page refer to the AASTeX FAQ for a possible workaround.

Figures, Graphics and Images

Graphics are acceptable in PostScript (PS) or Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) format only. Each figure should be submitted as a separate file. Do not format several PS or EPS files into one file. Rather, submit the parts of the figure separately with a letter describing how they should be laid out. The graphics processing software and the typesetting software have difficulty distinguishing multiple bounding boxes in one file.

Photographs or images needing high resolution or dye-sublimation printing should be submitted via regular post and as electronic files, if available. PostScript figures should NOT be embedded in the manuscript. The \plotone, \plottwo, or \plotfiddle commands which are described in the AASTeX documentation are for PREPRINTS only.

Leave page numbers, figure numbers, file information, etc., out of files. If figures are part of a lettered, multipart figure, the letters should appear within the box of the figure, not outside of it. If letters cannot be placed within the box, lettered tags will be typeset.

Figures should not include text along the top axis outside of the box, unless that text is an axis label. Any information about the figure should be contained within the caption or in the labels that appear inside the box.

When using SM, avoid using the default font (outline font). Use a smaller, bolder font for axis labels, lettering, etc. The lines that make up the outline font are very thin and are at risk for dropping out during the publication process.

Be sure that all lines in a figure are heavy enough to withstand substantial reduction. If the lines are less than 1 pixel thick after reduction, they may drop out.

Avoid using color in files that not intended to be reproduced as four-color figures; format files as black line or grayscale.

Figures to be reproduced in four-color should be prepared as CMYK (i.e., four color) files, not RGB (i.e., three color) files. Optimum resolution for CMYK files is 300 dpi. CMYK EPS files created with PhotoShop seem to produce the best results. Authors should submit a hard copy of the figure that represents how the color should look.

Be sure to use only the standard PS fonts and embed all fonts in the PS or EPS files. Remember to check proofs carefully to be sure all fonts in figures are correct.

When preparing gray-scale figures, authors are encouraged to use gray levels between 20% and 80%, with at least 20% difference between the levels of gray. Use a screen of 80 lpi or lower (coarser) and make the figures as close to final publication size as possible, as reduction can cause levels of gray to drop. Whenever possible, use different patterns of hatching instead of grays to differentiate between the areas of a figure.

The following operators cannot be used in EPS files. PS files are converted to EPS files for importing to the typesetting system, so these operators should be avoided in PS files:

*These operators are used frequently in the PS and EPS files we receive.

If operators cannot be avoided, the file will be converted to bitmapped EPS, which may result in lower quality reproduction or may be unusable in the typesetting system (especially if the file comes from a TeX or LaTex file that has been printed to a PS file using dvips), in which case the figure will have to be scanned.

Figures should be no larger than 7.5 in x 9.5 in (19cm x 24cm) and should be CENTERED on the page. Please note that the Astronomical Journal office uses US LETTER paper rather than A4 paper; if the figures are formatted for A4 paper, please place the figure at the TOP of the page.

If you are unable to submit figures in PostScript format, please submit the manuscript and tables in electronic format and mail in laser-printed original figures.


To assist with the electronic production of the Journal we requests that authors extensively use the cross-referencing capabilities provided by Latex and AASTeX.

Preparation of Word or WordPerfect Manuscript

Updated instruction for Word and WordPerfect manuscripts from the University of Chicago Press.

© Copyright 1998 The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Last modified: Mon Nov 30 09:03:52 1998