The Department of Astronomy hosts the editorial offices of the Astronomical Journal (AJ). Professor Jay Gallagher serves as the AJ Editor-in-Chief and is assisted by Ms. Anita Makuluni and Ms. Caitlin Hesser, who staff the Madison AJ office. For contact and other information please go to the official AJ web site hosted by the Institute of Physics Publishing, located in Bristol, UK.
Founded in 1849 by Benjamin Gould, the AJ was the first American professional journal dedicated to reporting astronomical research. Today it continues a tradition of publishing significant scientific results with an emphasis on those derived from astronomical observations. The subject areas of recent papers extend across astronomy, from solar system studies to measurements of the most distant observable galaxies and quasars. In addition, the AJ covers a number of special topics, including studies of dynamical processes in astrophysical systems, descriptions of the scientific structure and goals of survey projects, and scientific implications of new instrumental capabilities. Some of these topics are illustrated by our AJ cover gallery.
The 21st century is a time of rapid evolution in how we publish scientific results in the AJ. The traditional paper version of the AJ is supplemented by electronic publication that can include a variety of online enhancements, such as data tables or large figure sets. Additional opportunities exist to link data published in articles to their original sources and to offer new capabilities to allow readers to search for, extract, and organize information. Electronic publishing also offers the opportunity for the publisher to link related papers together into virtual special issues (the AJ “Article Compilations”) for the convenience of readers interested in particular topics.
In addition to continuing to publish high-quality refereed papers, the AJ also seeks to lead in providing innovations to the astronomical community.