Just a quick link to share with everyone today.

For those of you who are particularly interested in the programming side of astronomy (and I know there are a lot of you), I would like to share this extensive list of all software-related offerings at AAS 225. This list was compiled by those at the Astrophysics Source Code Library, so a huge thanks to them for doing all the hard work! Enjoy!


It’s that time of year again. The Winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society (the Superbowl of Astronomy, as I like to call it) is nearly upon us. To make the most of your time at the meeting, we at AstroBetter would like to remind you of some resources available on the Wiki.

First, the post that everyone attending a winter AAS meeting should read (even if you’re not a first-timer), Jason Wright’s guide to Getting the Most Out of AAS Meetings. This resource is especially useful for students attending their first AAS meeting, so make sure your students have seen this!

Second, if you are giving a presentation, whether it be a talk or a poster, the AstroBetter Wiki has you covered with a number of resources to help you with your Presentation Skills. [Read more...]


Thomas Robitaille (@astrofrog) is a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy working on star formation and radiative transfer. He is an active developer in the Python Astronomy community and is one of the co-ordinators and core developers for the Astropy project.

python-blackWe are holding a workshop on the topic of Python in Astronomy at the Lorentz Center in Leiden from April 20th to 24th 2015. The workshop will adopt a very interactive format – inspired by the .Astronomy conference series – including presentations, tutorials, unconference sessions, and coding sprints, and should be great fun!

The main aims of the workshop will be to:

  • Share information about state-of-the art Python Astronomy packages
  • Discuss and improve interoperability between astronomical Python packages
  • Provide training for people who are interested in contributing to open source packages
  • Develop a common set of educational materials for Python in Astronomy

[Read more...]

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Ian Short is an Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Saint Mary’s University, has taught the core first and second year courses in the undergraduate astrophysics program, and is a published researcher in the field of stellar atmospheres and spectra.

Do you teach a course in which students should understand why some spectral lines are always strong in hot stars, but weak in cools stars, or vice versa? Or why some spectral lines are always broad in dwarfs, but narrow in supergiants? Or the role that radiation plays in supporting a star against its weight? Or why an image of the Sun is darker near the limb than at the centre?  Or even why hot stars are blue and cool ones red, and how colour can be quantified? These, and many other similar questions, are central to the stellar component of the undergraduate astrophysics curriculum at the second year and above, and even in first year courses aimed at science majors, and are key concepts for students going into any area of astrophysics.

How would your teaching be enhanced if you could bring to class a virtual star equipped with “parameter knobs” that responds instantly when the “knobs” are adjusted? What if you could then equip each student with a virtual spectrograph, photometer, and interferometer so that demonstration-based classroom pedagogy can be employed? How would your course be enriched if you could assign laboratory-style homework projects in which students investigate the structure and observable behavior of such a virtual star and independently investigate key relationships?  What possibilities would be opened up in more advanced courses if students could view and capture the source code for such a virtual star? [Read more...]

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Applying to Grad School

by Danny Barringer November 5, 2014

Now that November is upon us, it’s time for undergraduates thinking about grad school to begin the whole application process, if you have not done so already. For those of you looking for a little guidance or information, the AstroBetter Wiki has you covered with advice on what to do when scouting out programs, and […]


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Web Apps in the Cloud: Even Astronomers Can Write Them!

by Guest October 20, 2014

Philip Cowperthwaite and Peter K. G. Williams work in time-domain astronomy at Harvard. Philip is a graduate student working on the detection of electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave events, and Peter studies magnetic activity in low-mass stars, brown dwarfs, and planets. Astronomers that study GRBs are well-known for racing to follow up bursts immediately after […]


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NSF Deadline Approaching!

by Danny Barringer October 15, 2014

As we’re sure many of you know, the deadline for all things NSF, including the NSF Graduate Fellowship, is fast approaching (some faster than others!), and will be on us before we know it. To make your lives easier, we would like to remind you of the resources the AstroBetter Wiki has at your disposal. […]


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Career Profiles: Astronomer to Tenured Full Professor

by Laura Trouille October 9, 2014

Latest Career Profile: Joan Schmelz, an astronomer turned full professor. If you have questions, suggestions, advice to share, etc. about this career path, please leave a comment below or on the CSWA site. The AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA) and the AAS Employment Committee have compiled dozens of interviews highlighting […]

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Career Profiles: Astronomer to Data Visualization Specialist and Adjunct Associate Professor

by Laura Trouille October 2, 2014

Latest Career Profile: Doug Roberts, an astronomer turned Data Visualization Specialist for Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope and Adjunct Associate Professor at Northwestern University. He spends 75% of his time on research and content creation for WorldWide Telescope and 25% of his time on his astronomy research. If you have questions, suggestions, advice to share, etc. about […]


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LaTeX hyperref and emulateapj

by Guest September 29, 2014

Jonathan Foster is a YCAA Prize Fellow at Yale University. He studies how stars form, both through large-scale surveys of the galaxy and in detailed studies of nearby regions. He is also interested in how visualizations of large astronomy datasets can aid discovery. If you want your paper on the arxiv/astro-ph to be read by […]


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