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Preface to the Third Edition

A Dictionary of Astronomy

Ian Ridpath

Preface to the Third Edition

Around 90 entries have been added to this third edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy, ranging alphabetically from Akatsuki, a Japanese Venus probe, to NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope. Many of these new entries concern space missions, observatories, and telescopes that have been launched, built, or opened since the last edition.

At the same time, a similar number of obsolete or fringe entries have been deleted, so the overall number of headwords remains approximately the same as before, over 4300. As in previous editions, the existing entries have been reviewed by the undersigned and a team of specialist contributors to ensure they are as accurate and up to date as possible. Any errors or oversights remain the responsibility of the Editor.

One change of particular note is that star names have been brought into line with those officially approved by the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Star Names. Surprising as it may seem, there were no officially sanctioned names for stars before this working group was founded in 2016.

Ian Ridpath

Brentford, Middlesex

2017 July