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 {{WikiProject Astronomy}} 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 student could have heard of or studied.
  • Mid: Items that people in the know have 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 scepticism, but which is otherwise crank.
  • NA: Pages that are not articles, such as categories, redirects or projects.

These may vary somewhat depending on the subject category – see the specific guidelines below.


  • 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 (often those with effects or concepts named after them). Inventors or developers of major techniques or technologies within astronomy. Winners of the Nobel prize for their research in astronomy. Researchers with a major body of scholarly publications, of significant importance to their field.
Examples: Edwin Hubble, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Annie Jump Cannon
  • Mid: Astronomers who made important contributions to their fields and gained recognition by their peers. Directors of major observatories or heads of space-based telescope projects. Winners of high-importance prizes. Academics with numerous well-cited peer-reviewed publications.
Examples: Sandy Faber, Heinrich Olbers, David Southwood
  • Low: People who have made useful or interesting contributions, such as the discovery of a significant object e.g. a notable comet or supernova. Notable amateur astronomers. Popularizers of astronomy and heads of planetariums. Astronomers who meet the minimum notability guidelines and have published in respected peer-reviewed journals.
Examples: Ian Shelton, Amanda Bauer, Tom Boles
  • Bottom: Fringe theorists and pseudo-scientists who are of relevance to astronomy, but have not been published in respected peer-reviewed journals.
Examples: Zecharia Sitchin, Ernest Sternglass


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 (dwarf planet), 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, important international organizations.
Examples: Mauna Kea Observatory, International Astronomical Union, European Southern Observatory.
  • Mid: Historically significant observatories, specialist research observatories, national societies.
Examples: Harvard College Observatory, Anglo-Australian Observatory, American Astronomical Society.
  • Low: Private observatories that perform research, university/college observatories, significant sub-national amateur astronomy groups.
Examples: Elginfield Observatory, University of London Observatory, Astronomical Society Ruđer Bošković.
  • Bottom: Small non-research observatories, planetariums, local amateur societies, institutions with only a minor connection to astronomy.
Examples: Red Barn Observatory, Malacca Planetarium, Gifu City Science Museum,


  • 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 particular subject or topic in astronomy.
Examples: Herschel Medal, Joseph Weber Award, Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics
  • Low: Notable awards for popularizing or teaching astronomy. Minor awards and prize lectures from professional associations. Top awards from major non-professional societies.
Examples: Klumpke-Roberts Award, Ludwig Biermann Award, Leslie C. Peltier Award
  • Bottom: Awards from local astronomy associations. Scholarships and fellowships. PhD thesis or poster presentation prizes. All other awards for astronomy that do not meet the above criteria.
Examples: Robert J. Trumpler Award, Tyson Medal, Keith Runcorn Prize

Publications, catalogues and surveys[edit]

  • Top: None
  • High: Famous landmark publications, which had a major impact across astronomy.
Examples: De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, Astronomia nova.
  • Mid: High-impact astronomy journals. Books or papers famous enough to be known by their author(s) only to most of the astronomy community. Historically significant catalogues of astronomical objects.
Examples: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, B2FH paper, Messier Catalogue.
  • Low: Most astronomical catalogues and surveys. Astronomy magazines aimed at the general public or hobbyists. Most textbooks or popular science books on astronomy. Minor academic journals.
Examples: Gliese catalogue, Astronomy Now, UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey.
  • Bottom: All other non-fiction publications which are of interest to astronomy. Pseudo-science or crank astronomy.
Examples: Journal of Cosmology


  • 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.
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]