Astronomy 480 – final project guidelines – the scientific observation paper
Unless you are working for the “W” on your transcript, your end product will be a polished, nearly-final-
draft paper, approximately 5 pages long, with a complete bibliography and appendices.
Format for all
papers: Single-spaced, with double space between paragraphs. One-inch margins, 11-pt font.
and final paper must be uploaded to our “CollectIt” site:
Non-“W” papers: For a nearly-final-draft paper, you want content and a decent organization of the
material, but final, absolute refinement would come with the next draft. The information can be presented
in a number of ways: within the body, as tables, figures, charts, or appendices.
One approach is to browse
through the professional papers written on your object, and see how they were written. Astrophysical
papers have a fairly rigid format. You should not use familiar, conversation-like writing, and you must
For “W” papers: Same guidelines as above, but you will produce a paper that would be ready to pass
along to a journal (or close to it). You must submit at least one draft for review and comments; a second
submission before your final copy may be required.
Your paper should be at least 10 pages long,
including text, graphs, tables, appendices, bibliography, etc.
First step: reduce data with partner(s) and/or other classmates. Keep detailed records of what you did,
even the mistakes, in a research notebook.
A good researcher keeps a complete, accurate, “every twist-and-turn-noted” notebook.
. Not loose leaf sheets of paper. Not back of envelopes. NUMBER ALL
PAGES IN THE NOTEBOOK FIRST.
Make copies of data tables and tape them in your
notebook. Do all calculations in your notebook. Make lists of your references in your
notebook. Do not erase what you think is garbage. Today’s garbage could be tomorrow’s
“All those calculations were correct”! You should have an outline of the steps you took
when reducing your data, much like the tutorials have, with your own preferences
flavoring the exact method. Any future Astronomy 480 student should be able to totally