Astronomy 790: Astro-ph Seminar (Spring 2022)

Instructors: Colby Hagerty (colbyh at hawaii), Eric Baxter (ebax at hawaii), Mike Bottom (mbottom at hawaii), Daniel Huber (huberd at hawaii), Jennifer van Saders (jlvs at hawaii), Benjamin Shappee (shappee at hawaii), Xudong Sun (xudongs at hawaii),

Schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10:30-11:00am. All seminars will be held online in the IfA Manoa Library Zoom Room until further notice. Friday seminars are replaced by IfA astrocoffee talks when scheduled.

Course description: Staying up to date with the latest publications and preprints is one of the most important aspects of being a professional astronomer, and often forms the starting point for ideas for research projects or proposals. The most widely used resource for pre-prints in astronomy is astro-ph, which is divided into six subcategories and updated five times a week. In addition to keeping up with the latest news in your own research field astro-ph also provides an excellent resource for learning about important results outside your own “research bubble”, and acquire general knowledge of observational and theoretical astronomy. This seminar provides students with training to efficiently read and discuss astronomy research papers by participating in the IfA Astro-ph journal club.

Course objectives & student learning outcomes:

– Identify important research results from the literature

– Efficiently and concisely present results from research papers

– Moderate the discussion of research papers

– Acquire general knowledge of current observational and theoretical astronomy research

Number of credit hours: 2

Prerequisites: Undergraduate degree in astronomy or physics

Textbooks/Resources: Research papers on astro-ph. Voting for papers will be performed on Benty Fields. All enrolled students are encouraged to create a Benty Fields account and become a member of the “UH Astronomy” journal club.


Grading and Student Evaluation: Pass/Fail. To pass, students must discuss ten papers over the course of the semester and participate in at least 60% of all seminars. Five papers must be discussed in the first half of the semester. If a student does not discuss one paper in the first two weeks the instructors will assign 2 papers for the third week. Students are strongly encouraged to use this spreadsheet to keep track of their progress.

Classroom Policies: Excused absences and seminars which are converted to IfA astrocoffee talks (typically on Fridays) are not counted towards the 60% participation requirement. Discussion of papers must last at least 5 minutes to be counted towards the ten paper requirement. Cameras must be on for the duration of the seminar in order to count as participation.