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Physical Sciences


"Astronomy: The science concerned with celestial bodies and the observation and interpretation of the radiation received in the vicinity of the earth from the component parts of the universe (McGraw Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 5th ed)" -- Definition from the NCBI MeSH Database.


Occupational Outlook Handbook

Physicists and Astronomers

Branches of Astronomy: Astronomers can be classified as either observational or theoretical. Astronomy is also made up of subfields based on the objects being studied. These include Planetary Astronomy, Stellar Astronomy, Solar Astronomy, Galactic Astronomy, and Cosmology, the study of the universe.

Astronomy Organizations

American Astronomical Society
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy
Astronomical Society of the Pacific
European Southern Observatory
The International Astronomical Union
The Royal Astronomical Society


Astrobetter- Tips and tricks for professional astronomers.
Astronomy Image Explorer- a tool for researchers to find graphics that have appeared in the Astrophysical Journal and the Astronomical Journal
HyperPhysics- an online encyclopedia of physics topics.
NASA Citizen Scientists- Citizen science projects in Astronomy.


Unified Astronomy Thesaurus- an open, interoperable and community-supported thesaurus.

Astronomy and Data

Astronomy Data Archives and Catalogs- a list maintained by the Astronomy department at Caltech.
Astrophysical Data System (ADS)- a database of abstracts and full text articles in astronomy and physics, with links to astronomical object information, data catalogs and data sets.
National Space Science Data Center- an archive of space mission data from NASA.
Sloan Digital Sky Survey- detailed 3-D maps of the universe. Data includes images, spectra, and catalog data.
US Virtual Astronomical Observatory- “The Data Discovery Tool allows anyone to search the entire worldwide network of data archives of the VAO's participating institutions.” (virtualobservatory.org/use/,2017)


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Princeton University
University of Hawai’i at Manoa
Yale University


Astronomy is one of the oldest generators of big data, and has a long tradition of data sharing. For more information on the development of open data, see articles by A.S. Szalay and Jim Gray on the creation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

When use cases are not useful: Data practices, astronomy, and digital libraries
Wynholds L, Fearon Jr DS, Borgman CL, Traweek S.
Proceedings of the 11th annual international ACM/IEEE joint conference on Digital libraries. 2011 383-386. ACM.

edited 9/22/2020