The Physics, Astronomy & Math Librarian

Dr. Henrik Spoon

Physics, Astronomy & Mathematics Librarian

Physical Sciences Library
293 Clark Hall

Mathematics Library
420-B Malott Hall


Top-5 Astronomy Journals

These are the five most used journals in astronomy:


ApJ, A&A, and AJ are now 'open-access' journals, i.e. not requiring a subscription to access articles.

Recent articles (< 1 yr) are usually available in preprint format on arXiv, along with preprints dating back to the 1990s. See below.

ADS: the search engine for astronomical/astrophysical literature

The SAO/NASA Astrophysical Data System is your go-to place to search for journal articles in the field of astronomy. It contains bibliographic records for more than 13 million publications in the fields of astronomy and physics, plus records for soon to appear articles as submitted to the preprint server arXiv.


  • Search ADS by first author. To find first author articles by e.g. Henrik Spoon, enter in the ADS search box: author:"^spoon, h."
  • Search ADS by author. To find articles to which e.g. Henrik Spoon contributed, enter in the ADS search box: author:"spoon, h."
  • Search ADS by object. To find articles that mention a particular astronomical object , enter its name in the ADS search box. For Betelgeuse enter: object:"HR 2061"
  • Search ADS for a keyword. To find articles that mention a particular keyword, enter the keyword in the ADS search box like this: keyword:"Titan". You can also use a combination of keywords like keyword: "AGN" AND keyword: "UV" to find results on AGNs in the UV spectral range.


Finding the latest research: arXiv ASTRO-PH

Almost every astronomer wants to get his/her results disseminated as quickly as possible. Some even seek comments or input on draft versions of their manuscript ! The ideal platform for all of  this is the preprint server arXiv, which is freely accessible to all.

To search preprints in the field of astronomy (ASTRO-PH), go here:

Given the staggering number of daily submissions to ASTRO-PH (~60 in 2021-2023), it is not doable to stay on top of all the research that is produced. This is why subfields have been defined in ASTRO-PH:

  • ASTRO-PH.GA: Astrophysics of Galaxies
  • ASTRO-PH.CO: Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
  • ASTRO-PH.EP: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
  • ASTRO-PH.HE: High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
  • ASTRO-PH.IM: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
  • ASTRO-PH.SR: Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

To receive a daily mailing of newly submitted articles in ASTRO-PH (~60 in 2023) or one of its subfields, please follow the instructions posted here:

If your home institute does not have subscriptions to astronomy journals, chances are high that you can find the preprint of an article you are looking for in ASTRO-PH. In most cases the content is exactly the same.

Finding inroads into a field of research

How do you make inroads into a new field of astronomy research?

Find relevant journal articles:

  1. Ask your advisor to suggest journal articles to read. Or:
  2. Find a good 'review' article. Browse the Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics for a relevant keyword like 'exoplanet', 'CMB', 'Mars', 'gravitational waves', 'galaxy evolution', 'cosmology', etcetera. Read the abstracts of the most recent articles that come up to find the review that best matches the topic of your research. Review articles are meant to give an unbiased view of the field of research, and are loaded with references to explore. Or:
  3. Perform an ADS search on a keyword or key phrase of your choice to find relevant articles. Then sort the search results by 'citation count' to find the most important articles. Read the titles and abstracts of these articles to find the best matches to your interests.

Read the introduction section of the articles you selected. This is where the authors lay out what is known about the topic of their research before their research was done. It is a great way to find other relevant articles to read.


NED: galaxy data archive

The NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database NED facilitates searches for detailed information about individual galaxies. It also allows searches for all known extragalactic objects within a certain search radius around specific coordinates:

PDS: Planetary data archive

The NASA Planetary Data System PDS provides access to data sets pertaining to planetary atmospheres, geosciences, cartography and imaging sciences, planetary plasma interactions, ring-moon systems, and small solar system bodies.

Search for data on particular solar system objects or for data obtained by particular satellite missions:

SIMBAD astronomical database

The SIMBAD astronomical database provides basic data, cross-identifications, bibliography and measurements for astronomical objects outside the solar system. SIMBAD has a broader scope than NED, which focuses only on extragalactic objects only.