April 3, 2020

July 2013-Life in the AstroBlogosphere: Who’s Who in the AstroTwitterverse

Astrophoto-shoot take 2;

note inclusion of AstroLab!

Recently, we wrote up an article on The New Social Face of Astronomy for the August 2013 issue of Sky &Telescope. Among the many cyber-corners and crannies of ye ole Internet that we explored was the world of Twitter. Twitter is a great source of fast breaking information, tailor made for certain aspects of astronomy such as meteorite falls, satellite reentries, new comet discoveries and nova flare-ups.

We included a list at the end of the article entitled “who’s who in astronomy.” Our thinking was to include those “must-follows” who are a primary source of information that we can’t do without. The final published list was edited down to 14 out of 25 that we submitted, all of them tough calls.

We tried hard to make it a good mix of working class astro-joes, along with the predictable astro-celebs. The bent was towards observational astronomy, by hey, if you cover a wide variety of space news, we tried to include you as well.

We never mind if folks tweet about their cats, as the human (or feline) factor is what social media is all about. But if you tweet mostly about your cat… well, it’s tough to include you on a list about amateur astronomy.

So here it is by popular demand; our original “Desert Island List” of whom we would follow for astronomical info if we had to restrict our feed down to a scant 25:

@NASA: The flagship account of the US space agency.

@AGeekMom: A great follow for space and NASASocial related info.

@SkyandTelescope: The account of Sky & Telescope magazine.

@AAVSO: A great source for notifications on novae and variable stars.

@IMOMeteors: Account of the International Meteor Observers.

@VirtualAstro: UK observer and the creator of Meteorwatch.

@BadAstronomer:  Account of the Bad Astronomer himself, Phil Plait.

@NeilTyson: Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s informative twitter account.

@UniverseToday: The news outlet for the Universe Today website.

@NickAstronomer: Professional Astronomer in the UK… if there’s a new comet or asteroid discovery, he’s on the case!

@AstroPHYPapers: A good source of the latest papers out from arxiv.org. (Though not affiliated with arvix)

@EclipseMaps: Twitter account of eclipse expert Michael Zeiler.

@NASASocial: A good follow for the latest news on upcoming NASASocial events.

@SungrazerComets: Part of the sungrazer mission to discover comets in the SOHO and NASA STEREO data.

@ESA: The Twitter account of the European Space Agency.

@SpaceX: The Twitter account of the SpaceX Corporation.

@TalkingSpace: The Twitter account for the outstanding podcast on space exploration by the same name.

@SpaceFlightNow: Timely updates on space missions worldwide.

@SpaceFlight101: Another space travel exploration site with daily updates on missions.

@Twisst: An automated program that will tweet ISS passes prior to their occurrence for your location based on GPS data if enabled.

@PlutoKiller: The Twitter account of astronomer Mike Brown.

@RASC: The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

@nextlaunch: Tweets space launches worldwide that are broadcast via the web.

@SciFri: The official account of the radio show NPR Science Friday. Takes twitter comments live during the show.

@AstronomyFM: The account of the webcast AstronomyFM.

That’s our desert island list… we’ve also made a handy essential list of Vital Astronomy Follows for one stop shopping. Also, be sure to check out our recent talk with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in a Google+ Hangout on using astronomy in social media.

But if nothing else, perhaps social media gives us a “cyber-watering hole” to meet around on cloudy nights… A great place to hang out while we’re “waiting on the sky!”


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