The 2016 edition of "Chronological Scientific Tables" -- a collection of scientific facts reorganized and issued annually by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) -- has gone on sale, having grown to over three times the size of the first edition 90 years ago.
This kind of massive collection of fundamental scientific data across a range of fields including astronomy and physics is unique in both Japan and the rest of the world. The 2016 issue published this November adds the latest data, such as photographs of Pluto taken by a NASA space probe.
The Chronological Scientific Tables' history stretches back to 1925, when it was first published by the Tokyo observatory, predecessor to the NAOJ. Except for a period during World War II, the tables have been published every year, with the 2016 issue marking the 89th publication.
Earlier issues included five categories: calendar dates, astronomy, meteorology, physical chemistry and geology. In 1984 biology was added, and in 2005 environmental science was included in the lineup. The first issue was 334 pages, but the latest publication has grown to 1,126 pages.
In recent years the books have been printed at an average of around 35,000 copies. The latest edition sells for 1,400 yen at A6 size, and 2,800 yen at A5 size, not including tax.