January 2014

How does an astronomer break into data science? Interview with Dr. Andrea Leistra

by Jane January 29, 2014

Data Science is a rapidly growing field, with natural opportunities for astronomers moving to industry.  Recently, we’ve heard from  Jessica Kirkpatrick about becoming a data scientist at Microsoft: part 1 and part 2.  We’ve also heard from Stephanie Gogarten on switching to biostatistics at UW. Let’s pick up where Jess and Stephanie left off, and […]


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AAS Hack Day 2014

by Elizabeth January 22, 2014

On Thursday, January 9th, a band of intrepid astronomers gathered for the second AAS Hack Day. Hack Days are traditional events in software development circles, where people with skills, ideas, and the willingness to dedicate a day of their lives get together to make interesting projects happen. Much like the first Hack Day at AAS […]


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My Successful Experience with Sexual Harassment

by Jess K January 22, 2014

Cross-posted from Women in Astronomy: The following is an anonymous guest post from a regular reader of the Women in Astronomy Blog. The below is a description of an individual’s experience with sexual harassment.  What worked for her, might not work for everyone.  If you are being sexually harassed, please contact the sexual harassment officer at […]


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Slim down your bloated graphics

by Jessica Lu January 17, 2014

This post was originally written by Erik Petigura who is a graduate student at UC Berkeley and visitor at the IfA, Hawaii working on exo-planet hunting. The post was modified by Jessica R. Lu to incorporate suggestions from a Facebook Astronomers Group thread on the same topic.  Have you ever encountered a paper or proposal PDF […]


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How to improve the winter AAS meeting? (2014 edition)

by Jane January 15, 2014

We’ve had a week to recover from the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).  Let’s talk about what we thought worked, what didn’t and how we can improve the “Super Bowl of Astronomy”?   (Last year’s discussion got 57 comments; this is a topic our community feels strongly about.) What did our Society do […]


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Astropy v0.3 Release

by Guest January 15, 2014

This is a guest post by Erik Tollerud, a member of the Astropy Coordination Committee and a Hubble Fellow at Yale University. His research focuses on Local Group dwarf galaxies and their connections to cosmology. In November 2013, we published the second public release (v0.3) of the Astropy package, a core Python package for Astronomy. Astropy is a […]

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Escape of the Clones: How to Get a Non-Academic Job

by Guest January 13, 2014

This is a guest post by Bethany Johns, a former AAS John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow.  She has worked in science policy for commercial space flight companies and now works in energy, environment, and agricultural policy for the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America. […]


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Advanced Design Patterns in Python

by Jessica Lu January 8, 2014

If you have been using python for a few years, I suggest looking over the following tutorial: Advanced Design Patterns in Python The tutorial covers some of the basics of comprehensions, generators, decorators, context managers, descriptors, and meta classes. If you don’t know what any of these things are, the tutorial will at least give […]


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Linking Visualization and Understanding in Astronomy #AAS223 #AASviz

by Guest January 5, 2014

This is a guest post by Alyssa Goodman and accompanies her talk by the same name, presented at the AAS Meeting, at 11:40 AM on Monday. Talk slides will be online after the talk. Alyssa is a Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University and a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution. She studies interstellar gas and […]


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Newbies Guide to Town Halls at #AAS223

by Kelle January 3, 2014

When I first started going to Town Hall meetings at AAS Meetings, I was very disappointed. I couldn’t understand what was going on. It felt like I had turned on an episode of a soap opera in the middle of a season. There was clearly a plot playing out, but 1) I didn’t have any […]


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