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 one credit course will start with two lectures on tips & tricks of efficiently using astro-ph (both for reading and publishing), followed by bi-weekly discussions of the latest astronomy research papers appearing on the arxiv for the remainder of the semester. Papers for discussion will be decided through votes on VoxCharta.

The discussion leader for each session is responsible for setting up a laptop to display papers, and discuss 1-2 papers of choice for ~15 minutes. Each student is required to lead at least one discussion per semester. The sign-up sheet for discussion leaders throughout the semester is here.

Lecture 1 Slides
Lecture 2 Slides
Sign-up sheet for hosting discussions

Contact: Dan Huber (, Ben Shappee (, Jen van Saders (

Time & Place: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11:00-11:45am, Moon Room

Course Schedule:
Week 1: No seminar
Week 2: Introduction to Astro-ph: Tips & Best Practices
Weeks 3-10: Discussion Sessions

Grading Policy: Final grades will be based on in-class participation (25%), attendance (25%), and in-class hosting of a discussion session (50%).