A Guide Book to Astronomy

Written by Sten Odenwald
Copyright (C) 1995

At this web page, you will learn a little about how astronomers make their discoveries. You will also learn a little about why some people become astronomers. More importantly, you will get a bird's eye view to how at least one astronomer [...Me!] arrived at his profession from childhood. If you are in a hurry, you can also read my answers to 103 really good questions at Ask the Astronomer-Career FAQs


Astronomy Cafe

My Experiences in Astronomy

Grade School (1957-1971)
Undergraduate Life at UC Berkeley (1971-1975)
Graduate School Life at Harvard (1975-1982)
My First Research Job: The Naval Research Laboratory (1982-1991)
Working for Private Industry: BDM International (1991-1992)
Return to Research: The COBE Program (1993)
The COBE Years (1993-1996)
My Internet Years (1995-2003+)
Towards an Uncertain Future (1996)
The End of COBE (1997)
The IMAGE Years (1996-2004)
The Transit of Venus(2004)
Cosmological Research(2005)
Space Weather Research(2005+)


The Experiences of Other Astronomers

(Interviews held in 1986)

Case Study.....CS...Deceased
Case Study.....DL
Case Study.....MH
Case Study.....KJ
Case Study.....PS
Case Study.....SW
Case Study.....AN...Deceased
Case Study.....KM

Career Survey.

The Research Experience

The Laboratory Environment
Let's Go Observing to Get Fresh Data!!
High Altitude Balloons
Kuiper Airborne Observatory
Kitt Peak Observatory
The Very Large Array
Attending a Professional Meeting to Present Your Discoveries


How a Research Paper in Astronomy is Written

After an astronomer, or a group of astronomers, make a new discovery or contribution to our knowledge, they have to convert their months-long or sometimes even years-long research project into a final, published document. In this page, I will introduce you to what a research paper looks like in astronomy, and I will also embed within the document a variety of hot keys which will examine a number of issues that come up while a paper is being written. Because I can provide such in-depth commentary on my own research, I have chosen a paper that I wrote some years ago, and which was published in the Astrophysical Journal on July 15, 1987 : volumn 318, pages 702-711. This particular research paper consisted of the following sections which you can click on to bring up the relevant text and embedded hot keys:

First, you might want to read a short HISTORY explaining why I wrote the paper and what got me interested in this topic

Author List


This next section tells about submitting the paper, dealing with referee's and what finally became of the paper :

Comments by the Referee
The Citation History