Wikipedia:WikiProject Astronomy/Importance ratings

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These are the Wikipedia:WikiProject Astronomy guidelines for ranking article importance. The rankings can be added to an astronomy-related article using the {{WPAstronomy}} template. See Category:Astronomy articles by importance and Category:Astronomy articles by quality for the current article rankings.

Importance scale[edit]

Articles that are given a WPAstronomy template are graded by importance based on their overall significance to the academic field of astronomy.

  • Fundamental astronomy topics are typically given a higher importance rating than secondary topics or minutiae.
  • Subjects that are the target of dedicated study by professional astronomers, as indicated by major observatory studies and scholarly journal articles, are generally of higher importance.
  • Widely known and famous topics in astronomy, as judged by the frequency of introductory publications and news stories, will also have a higher importance, as they are more likely to be the subject of encyclopedic searches.

Here are some general guidelines for the individual ratings:

  • Top: Fundamental and famous astronomy
  • High: Important or famous. Something an undergraduate astronomy major could have heard of or studied.
  • Mid: Cover articles that pretty much only people in the know heard about, while not being over-specialized.
  • Low: Everything else that has some significance to astronomy as a science, as well as amateur astronomy as a dedicated hobby.
  • Bottom: Not of importance to scientific astronomy overall, such as weekly local stargazing columns, recreational software, works of fiction or artistic interpretations. It also includes junk astronomy that matters to rational skepticism, but which is otherwise crank.
  • NA: Pages that are not in the article space, such a categories or projects.

These may vary somewhat depending on the subject category.


  • Top: People who made fundamental or very famous contributions to astronomy in general.
Examples: Albert Einstein, Galileo Galilei
  • High: People who made major or famous contributions within their field (usually, but not always, people with objects or effects named after them). All astronomers who won major prizes or awards besides the Nobel Prize. All astronomers who developed or invented widely used techniques or technologies within astronomy, or contributed to a significant body of scholarly publications.
Examples: Edwin Hubble, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
  • Mid: Generally people who made important contributions to their fields who are recognized by their peers. Directors of major observatories or heads of space-based telescope projects. Well-published astronomers who satisfy the notability requirements.
Examples: Bernard Lyot, Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus Olbers
  • Low: People who have made useful or interesting contributions, such as the discovery of a comet, asteroid, variable star or a nova. Notable amateurs. Popularizers of astronomy and heads of planetariums.
  • Bottom: Fringe theorists who have not been published in respected astronomical journals.


Examples: Physical cosmology
  • High: Important topics within "top importance fields":
Examples: ...
Planetary science: ...
Stellar astronomy: Parallax, ...
Astronomy subdivisions: X-ray astronomy, Astrobiology
  • Mid: Subdivisions of "high importance" astronomy categories:



  • Top: General-summary articles on primary classes of objects and important subtypes. These are extensively studied object types that provide information of fundamental importance to astronomy.
Examples: Binary star, Black hole, Brown dwarf, Circumstellar disk, Galaxy, Globular cluster, Nova, Planet, Star, Supernova, Universe, White dwarf.
  • High: Sub-types of general object classes that are readily observed or have a large body of literature.
Examples: Hypergiant, Red giant, Supergiant, Type Ia supernova, Variable star.
  • Mid: Classes of objects that have been the subject of individual scientific study beyond the basic properties.
Examples: Beta Lyrae variable, G-type main-sequence star, Supernova impostor, Yellow hypergiant.
  • Low: Minor sub-classes of objects that are variants of broader classes. Hypothetical objects that have a credible scientific basis.
Examples: Luminous red nova


  • Top: Extensively studied objects that provide information of fundamental importance to astronomy. Renowned examples of primary types. This includes the planets in the Solar System.
Examples: Asteroid belt, Cygnus X-1, Hyades (star cluster), Jupiter, Local Group, Milky Way, Sun.
  • High: Readily observed or prototypical objects that have a large body of literature. This includes the major moons, dwarf planets, bright stars (1st magnitude or higher). Well known examples of primary types.
Examples: Andromeda galaxy, Ceres, Rigel.
  • Mid: Objects that have been the subject of scientific study beyond the basic orbital elements or classification. This includes minor moons, large asteroids, prominent stars (2nd & 3rd magnitude), well-studied extrasolar planets, widely-known astronomical features, nearby galaxies and unusual objects.
Examples: Proxima Centauri, IK Pegasi.
  • Low: Everything else, including most asteroids, stars, clusters and distant galaxies. These are objects that contribute little to the field and have few or no separate publications, but may be published as part of broader studies.
  • Bottom: Unconfirmed objects that were invented in fiction, UFOlogy, personal imagination, mysticism or mythology.


  • Top: Famous discoveries of major astronomical phenomena.
  • High: General history of astronomy; important discoveries that are not widely known.
Examples: History of astronomy
  • Mid: Historical era or geographic sub-topics within the history of astronomy. Historical summaries of a culture.
Examples: Copernican Revolution, Egyptian astronomy, Zodiac
  • Low: Specialized topics important only within a culture.
Examples: Sothic cycle


  • Top: Astronomical events that are widely important both within and outside of astronomy.
Examples: Discovery of alien life, nearby supernova.
  • High: Very important and widely observed events. Occurrences that demonstrated new astronomical concepts.
Examples: Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9, Halley's Comet, SN 1987A.
  • Mid: Rare events that were widely observed.
Examples: SN 1054.
  • Low: Events of little individual importance to astronomy, such as specific occultations or eclipses.


  • Top: None
  • High: Major or famous observatories or institutes, international organizations:
Examples: Mauna Kea Observatory, Palomar observatory, International Astronomical Union
  • Mid: Historical observatories, specialized observatories, national organizations, sites of significant discoveries.
Examples: Harvard College Observatory, American Association of Variable Star Observers.
  • Low: Private observatories, college observatories, local amateur astronomy groups.
Examples: Astronomical Society Ruđer Bošković.
  • Bottom: Most planetariums.


  • Top: The Nobel Prize in Physics
  • High: World-renowned for a major discovery or widely acknowledged as prestigious for a lifetime of achievement in astronomy. Top awards of major astronomical associations or international astronomical societies.
Examples: Bruce Medal, Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, Prix Jules Janssen.
  • Medium: Prestigious professional awards for a specialist subject in astronomy. Prestigious awards from major non-professional societies.
Examples: Herschel Medal, Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation
  • Low: Scholarships in astronomy. Awards from local astronomy associations. Notable awards for popularizing or teaching astronomy.
Examples: Klumpke-Roberts Award, Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award


  • Top: None
  • High: Famous landmark papers and publications.
Examples: De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, Astronomia nova.
  • Mid: High-impact astronomy journals. Books famous enough to be known by their author only to most of the astronomy community. Important catalogs of stellar objects.
Examples: Astronomical Journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
  • Low: Most astronomical catalogs. Public magazines dedicated to astronomy. Most lay books on astronomy.
Examples: Boss General Catalogue.


  • Top: Very important, fundamental and pioneering instrument types.
Examples: astronomical interferometer, photometer, spectrograph, telescope.
  • High: Important instrument types and sub-classifications of very important instrument types. Individual instruments that made landmark discoveries.
Examples: Hubble space telescope, radio telescope, reflecting telescope, refracting telescope.
  • Mid: Important instrument types within specialized fields, instrument variations, and historically-important instruments. Record-breaking instruments. Instruments that have made notable discoveries.
Examples: blink comparator, coronagraph, filter (optics), meridian circle, Schmidt camera, spectroheliograph.
  • Low: Obsolete and low importance instrument types. Minor instrument variations. Planned instruments that are not yet operational, or have been canceled before completion.
Examples: armillary sphere, reticle, Gaia mission (until operational).
Examples: backstaff, Cranmer Park.


  • Top: none.
  • High: fundamental or notable astronomy and astronomy-related topics, including major new techniques and models.
Examples: Astrophotography, Astronomical naming conventions, Constellation.
  • Mid: commonly used models, significant topics in popular astronomy, notable awards in astronomy, astronomy awards that have been presented for a century or more.
Examples: Asterism (astronomy), Amateur telescope making, Model photosphere, Orion (constellation)
  • Low: relatively obscure but still notable topics.
Examples: Great Diamond, half-month


  • Top: Lists of "fundamental" astronomy information:
Examples: Outline of astronomy
  • High: High-level listings of widely observed objects.
Examples: List of stars, List of open clusters, List of globular clusters
  • Mid: Lists of "important" stuff. Subtopics of high-level listings.
Examples: List of most luminous stars, List of supernova candidates
  • Low: Lists of objects that (for the most part) have not been the object of significant study. Identification codes, lists of publications.
Examples: List of observatory codes, List of scientific journals in astronomy

Quality scale[edit]

WikiProject article quality grading scheme

See also[edit]