Concluding 1 year of Astrobites

We made our first post in late December of 2010, so we’d like to take a look back at what Astrobites has become over its first year. Do you have a favorite Astrobite that has stuck in your mind? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.

A birthday cake for Astrobites.

Astrobites was founded with one goal: to help undergraduates participate in research by introducing them to the astrophysical literature. But we’ve also tried to address broader needs in the astronomical community. We’ve opened up our site to undergraduates to share their own research (you can submit your research abstract here). We’ve collected our best advice for navigating every stage of graduate school as part of our Astrobites glossaries. We even visited the AAS meeting in Boston this summer, distributing free cookies to any astronomer who stopped by (this was perhaps the greatest need in the community at the time).

We’ve summarized about 250 research papers on everything from exoplanets to galaxies. We’ve racked up nearly 200,000 page views and grown from just five contributors at Harvard University to 27 graduate students from around the world. We are grateful for all the support we’ve received along the way; especially to everyone who has contributed to Astrobites, all the readers who have given us their feedback, for generous introductions from Phil Plait and Astrobetter, and for hosting from VoxCharta.

Whether you’ve been with us since the beginning or this is the first time you’ve seen Astrobites, thank you for visiting the site! If you missed them the first time around, you may want to read some of our most popular Astrobites to date:

Paper summaries: (find more here)

• December 27: Origin of the Chemical Elements (Rauscher et al.)
• February 2: Astronomical methods for the year 1 trillion (Loeb)
• February 5: Anthropic Reasoning in Cosmology (Yurov et al.)
• May 4: Can the CMB Alone Provide Evidence for Dark Energy? (Sherwin et al.)
• July 5: Quakes on Jupiter: a new look at a familiar object (Gaulme et al.)
• July 7: Football on Mars: a lesson in creative thinking (Meredith et al.)
• July 26: Astrostatistics: How to fit a model to data (Hogg et al.)
• October 14: Observing the inner workings of star formation (Goddi et al.)
• October 27: It’s Not Easy Being Blue (Geller and Mathieu)
• December 2: Where are all the (intelligent) aliens? (Wiley)

Career Navigation: (find more here)

• February 3: The Hubble Effect: How to Advance Astronomy By Working for Free
• March 9: How to use SAO ds9 to examine astronomical images
• June 11: Running your first SPH simulation
• October 12: How to Attend your First Conference
• November 16: Some Preliminary Results from the Social Perceptions of Astronomy Survey

Guest pieces: (other personal experiences)

• April 16, John Johnson: Zen and the Art of Astronomy Research
• May 14, Jonathan Fortney: Scientific Temperament
• July 1, Amandeep Gill: Why I Chose Grad School
• July 11, 13 astronomy grad students: A day in the lives of astronomy grad students
• November 26, Benjamin Nelson: Your Gateway to the Bayesian Realm

If you like Astrobites, don’t forget to check out our sister site Chembites.

About Nathan Sanders

I am one of the members of the team that founded Astrobites in 2010 and a co-founder of ComSciCon, the Communicating Science Workshop for graduate students. I earned my Ph.D. in astronomy at Harvard University in 2014, focusing on observations of supernovae and their host galaxies; investigating how massive stars explode and enrich the interstellar medium. I did my undergraduate work at Michigan State University.


  1. Many thanks to the Astrobites team. I’m an undergrad who has learnt a huge amount from this site over the past year… It’s becoming a “go to” place for astro info….

    best wishes for 2012

  2. This is my favourite astrophysics site. Thanks for the awesome work you’ve all put in!

  3. My favourite post was Nathan’s “How to use SAO ds9”. I’m an enthusiastic amateur not an undergraduate, so this site helps me keep up to date with the latest research I might not otherwise find on the web. So, congratulations, guys – and keep up the good work.

  4. Thanks for the approx 250 research paper summaries! Hope you guys have an equally successfully 2012!


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