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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is this the only journal of its kind? If not, what others are there?
2. How is the journal being paid for?
3. What kind of people do you anticipate a. reading b. submitting to the journal?
4. Why is communicating astronomy to the public important?

1. Is this the only journal of its kind?  If not, what others are there?

There are many thousands of journals and magazines around, but in some ways this initiative is a bit special. We know of two science communication journals that are also issued in printed form – something we find very important as communicators, such as ourselves, tend to spend far too many hours in front of the computer screen – "Public Understanding of Science" (Sage) and "Science Communication" (Sage). These journals however have (partly) a broader scope covering all of science communication, but are also somewhat narrower as they focus on theoretical issues and mainly have "research-type" articles. We encourage other type of articles, like "hands-on" articles, and welcome announcements, reviews, innovations, etc. For astronomy educators there is an excellent online journal called Astronomy Education Review, CAPjournal and AER are complementary and together they provide important resources for the astronomy educational and public outreach community.

2. How is the journal being paid for?
Currently, the CAPjournal is being run by the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach, doing the editorial work, marketing, distribution, design/prepress etc. CAPjournal is a collaboration with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), supporting web site maintenance and digital publication. The peer-reviewers are volunteers (as for the more "standard" scientific journals). The print costs are supported by the IAU and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ).

3. What kind of people do you anticipate reading and submitting to the journal?
The target group of the CAPjournal consists of all types of astronomy communicators – from Public Information Officers, planetarium or science centre staff, amateur astronomers to communicating scientists. We naturally hope that most readers will consider contributing, taking the effort to document their experiences – good or bad – in communicating astronomy with the public.

4. Why is communicating astronomy to the public important?
Astronomy has a very special place in the area of science communication, and, as a tool to communicate science, astronomy possesses almost magical powers. Astronomy touches on the largest philosophical questions facing the human race: Where do we come from? Where will we end? How did life arise? Is there life elsewhere in the Universe? Space is one of the greatest adventures in the history of mankind: an all-action, violent arena with exotic phenomena that are counter-intuitive, spectacular, mystifying, intriguing and fascinating. The science of astronomy is extremely fast moving, and delivers new results on a daily basis. We strongly believe that astronomy, in many ways, can lead the way for other natural sciences and be a front runner for the communication of science in general. The public communication of astronomy provides an important link between the scientific astronomical community and society, giving visibility to scientific success stories and supporting both formal and informal science education.