How to Make Reading Astrophysics Papers More Interesting: Some Ideas
1. Mentally delete the “m” from all mentions of the word “mass.”
2. Assume that all mentions of dark matter actually refer to the villains from the Kirby video game franchise. This is literally my personal headcanon.
3. Turn all Messier catalogue numbers into names of different guns. Google already does that for you anyway! PRO TIP: Please put the word “galaxy” after all your searches for galaxy catalogue numbers. It will make you look less like a wingnut shopping for gifts.
4. Try to think of everything as if you’re a five year old. For instance, instead of “AGB star” think “stars that sneeze a lot.”
5. Whenever you see a log-log plot, get out a pencil and some paper and graph it the real way, without any logarithms.
6. Replace the non-evocative “parsec” with “3 light-years.” I mean, it’s not exact, but seriously, screw Megaparsecs. Who thought of that word anyway?! TECHNICAL NOTE: Parsecs are important because of the cosmological distance ladder. But, as I dislike both things being far away and climbing up ladders, I don’t really care.
7. Ignore any papers about the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Actually, just avoid all discussions of the TMT all together. There, I just saved your faith in astronomy.
8. Sound out loud what you imagine the radio signals from the discussed objects would sound like.
9. Replace all descriptions of black hole interactions with references to digestive bodily functions.
10. Assume that all mentions of dark matter refer to…you know what, never mind. Just make all orbiting observatories into starships in a giant space-based MMORPG.