Apply to Write for Astrobites!

Astrobites is seeking new graduate students to join the Astrobites collaboration.


Please share the information below with your graduate student colleagues. Applicants must be current graduate students. The deadline for applications is November 15, 2019. You can find the application form here. Please check out our FAQs below and/or email us at hiring@astrobites.org if you have any questions. Come join us!

Application Details:

  • Deadline: November 15, 2019
  • Required information: (1) One sample astrobite post, (2) why you want to write for Astrobites, and (3) a description of your research field, all of which can be submitted at here.
  • All graduate students in astronomy and astrophysics may apply. We aim to cover a wide variety of research topics from a diverse set of perspectives. Individuals from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. If you are passionate about sharing the latest research in astronomy and astrophysics and enjoy writing, we want to hear from you!
  • Astrobites is a volunteer collaboration and does not offer compensation. The benefits of joining our team include public outreach (disseminating journal articles to a wider audience) and professional development (reading papers, writing, and editing).
  • Applications are reviewed anonymously. Please do not include your name, affiliation, or other identifying information in your short essays or sample astrobite.

Sample Post Guidelines

Your astrobite should summarize a published astronomy or astrophysics journal article that is at least three months old and has not been featured on astrobites. (Note: This is different from our usual posts, which cover very recent papers.) Do not write about one of your own papers. Your post should discuss the motivation, methods, results, and conclusions of the paper. Title your sample astrobite as you would title a post on the site.

Write at a level appropriate for undergraduate physics or astronomy majors. Effective astrobites avoid jargon and thoroughly yet succinctly explain unfamiliar concepts. We encourage you to provide links to previous astrobites or other websites where appropriate. Your sample post should include at least one figure from the paper with an appropriate caption (not just the original caption). Astrobites are usually between 500-800 words in length, and your post should definitely not exceed 1000 words. We suggest you read a few published astrobites by different authors to get a sense how posts are written.


Author Responsibilities

Authors write one astrobite each month and edit another author’s astrobite once per month.

Writing an astrobite typically takes about 6 hours (on average) for experienced authors, which includes selecting and carefully reading a paper. It takes somewhat longer for new authors. Editing another author’s astrobite usually takes less than 30 minutes. Some of us also spend time contributing to the glossary pages, arranging for guest posts, representing astrobites at conferences, and maintaining the website. These activities are optional, so new astrobiters can choose how much time they would like to devote to the collaboration. Authors typically write for two years, but this can be adjusted on an individual basis.


The Hiring Process

The hiring committee will review submissions based on the quality of their sample astrobites and their responses to the two short essay questions. The names and affiliations of the applicants will be concealed from the hiring committee until after the final list of candidates is selected to promote equity.

The application also includes a brief optional survey about the applicant’s background and demographics. We encourage applicants to participate in this optional survey, so that we at astrobites can further understand our applicants’ backgrounds and promote diversity among the astrobites team in the future. Note that the applications will be reviewed anonymously and reviewers will not have access to the demographics survey responses.

Upon submitting the complete application, applicants will receive a confirmation email. Successful candidates will be notified approximately one month after the application deadline

Regardless of whether an applicant is selected to write for astrobites, submitted sample astrobites may be posted on astrobites as guest posts (with the applicant’s permission). We will notify applicants before posting their submissions.


FAQs: how to apply

  • Where do I submit my application? Fill in this form (or click on the button at the top of this page)
  • When are applications due? All applications are due by the end of the day on Friday, November 15th, 2019
  • What does the application involve? There are several required elements:
    • Some basic information about you (your name, email, where you are a student, etc.)
    • A sample Astrobite post (see more instructions below)
    • A short essay on why you want to write for Astrobites (200 words max)
    • A paragraph describing your research interests (100 words max)
    • In addition to the required elements above, there is also an optional demographics survey at the end of the application. This is not a required element, and leaving it blank will not affect the review of your application. The applications will be reviewed anonymously and reviewers will not have access to the demographics survey responses. We encourage applicants to participate in this optional survey, so that we at Astrobites can further understand our applicants’ backgrounds and promote diversity among the Astrobites team in the future.
  • Do I have to answer the questions in the demographics survey at the end of the application? No, all of the questions in that survey are optional and none are required for your application to be considered complete. The applications will be reviewed anonymously and reviewers will not have access to the demographics survey responses either way.

FAQs: who can apply

  • Who can apply to write for Astrobites? All graduate students in astronomy and astrophysics may apply, as well as graduate students from other disciplines whose research is related to astronomy or space in some way. We aim to cover a wide variety of research topics from a diverse set of perspectives. Individuals from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. If you are passionate about sharing the latest research in astronomy and astrophysics and enjoy writing, we want to hear from you!
  • I am a graduate student in physics / planetary science. Can I apply? Yes, we have had plenty of authors in both physics and planetary science. It is probably helpful if your research is related to astronomy or space in some way. In one case, we even had a graduate student in Creative Non-fiction as a regular author.
  • I am a Masters student / I just started graduate school. Can I apply to be a regular Astrobites author? Yes.
  • I am a post-doc. Can I apply to be a regular Astrobites author? No, but you can submit a guest post. Here are examples of guest posts by post-docs: (1) Galaxy Zoo, (2) Astronomy Sound of the Month.
  • I am an undergraduate. Can I apply to be a regular Astrobites author? No, but you can submit a write-up of your research. Here are some examples: (1) Solar Tornadoes, (2) NEOCam Detector Arrays, (3) Measuring the Solar Radius. You can also submit a guest post (see previous question).
  • I want to write for Astrobites, but not in English. Is that possible? Yes, we have sister sites in Spanish (Astrobitos), Portuguese (Astropontos), and Persian (Staryab). You are welcome to apply to write for them, but note they have separate application processes with different deadlines. Contact them directly for more information.

FAQs: preparing your sample Astrobite

  • What does a sample Astrobite look like? Astrobites are usually between 500-800 words in length, and your post should definitely not exceed 1000 words. Your post should discuss the motivation, methods, results, and conclusions of the paper. It should include at least one figure from the paper with an appropriate caption (not the original caption). You may also include figures from outside the paper. Title your sample Astrobite as you would title a post on the site. We suggest you read a few published Astrobites by different authors to get a sense how posts are written.
  • Which paper should I pick to write about? Your Astrobite should summarize a published astronomy or astrophysics journal article that is at least three months old and has not been featured on Astrobites. (Note: This is different from our usual posts, which typically cover very recent papers.)
  • Why do I have to pick a paper from more than three months ago? / Can I write about a more recent paper? We include this as a requirement to avoid the possibility of a current author writing a post about the same paper while you are preparing your application. If you are unsure about a specific paper, please send us an email to hiring@astrobites.org.
  • Who should be able to understand my sample Astrobite? Astrobite posts are directed at undergraduates in astronomy (and related fields), and are intended to help undergraduates learn how to read research papers. Effective Astrobites avoid jargon and thoroughly yet succinctly explain unfamiliar concepts.
  • Should I include links in my sample Astrobite like in a normal Astrobite? Yes. We encourage you to provide links to previous Astrobites or other websites where appropriate. In most cases, the links should not be too technical in nature.
  • Do the figures in my application post have to be taken from the paper? Not necessarily. Often, other figures can help explain the topic of the paper (see this post, and this other post for examples). You can also annotate a figure from the paper (e.g. here) or take part of a figure (e.g. see here) if it’s not exactly what you want.
  • Can someone else look over my sample Astrobite? Yes! In fact, we recommend having a friend or colleague provide comments and suggestions before you submit your application.

FAQs: application review process

  • When will I hear back? You will receive an email confirming we have received your application within 48 hours of submission. We will begin processing and reviewing applications immediately following the application deadline. Candidates will be notified about the hiring committee’s decision approximately one month after the application deadline (i.e., mid-December).
  • Will my name and/or my affiliation be revealed to the people reviewing my application? No. Applications are reviewed anonymously. Please do not include your name, affiliation, or other identifying information in your short essays or sample Astrobite.

FAQs: writing for Astrobites

  • What are the responsibilities of an author at Astrobites? Authors are typically expected to write one Astrobite per month and edit another author’s Astrobite once per month.
  • How long does it take to write an Astrobite? It really depends. On average, it takes an experienced author approximately 6 hours, including selecting and carefully reading the paper, writing the Astrobite, reviewing suggestions from your editor, and publishing it on the website. But this can vary due to multiple factors, including the difficulty and length of the paper itself, the author’s familiarity with the field, etc.
  • How long does it take to edit an Astrobite? Editing another author’s Astrobite usually takes around 30 minutes.
  • How long do authors write for Astrobites? Authors typically write for two years, but this can be adjusted on an individual basis.
  • Do authors have any other responsibilities besides writing and editing? No, but many of us also spend time contributing to the glossary pages, arranging for guest posts, representing Astrobites at conferences, and maintaining the website. These activities are optional, so new Astrobiters can choose how much time they would like to devote to the collaboration.
  • Are Astrobites authors paid to write? No. Astrobites is a volunteer collaboration and does not offer compensation. The benefits of joining our team include public outreach (disseminating journal articles to a wider audience) and professional development (reading papers, writing, and editing).

Did we not answer all of your questions?

Please don’t hesistate to contact us with additional questions at hiring@astrobites.org!


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