Writer’s Guidelines

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StarDate magazine covers a wide range of topics related to astronomy, space exploration, skylore, and skywatching. Many of our readers rely solely on us for this information, so articles may cover recent scientific discoveries or missions, serve as basic astronomy primers, or illuminate the history or future of astronomy. Topics should appeal to a wide audience, not just professional or amateur astronomers. Articles are not limited to hard-core science. They can cover other areas as long as there’s a solid connection to the sky.

While accuracy and clarity are paramount, articles MUST be written in a featurelike, magazine style, full of fresh observations and lively anecdotes — nothing encyclopedic or dogmatic. Please don’t start articles with “Since the dawn of time, humans have looked at the stars,” or similar cliches. And please include quotes from multiple experts. Articles that fail to follow these guidelines will be returned to the author for revisions. If the revised article still doesn’t follow these guidelines it will be rejected without payment.

Keep in mind that examples and analogies with pertinent human interest are often the best way to introduce, explain, or emphasize a complex or esoteric concept. If necessary, contact the editors for clarification of these guidelines before submitting your article.

When considering topics, look for offbeat subjects, or give a familiar topic a unique spin. Research findings don’t have to make the network news or go viral to be interesting. If you’d like to write an historical piece, look for offbeat items and events; we’ve already covered Copernicus, Kepler, Tycho, Newton, Herschel, and the like pretty well.

Writers should send their story ideas to StarDate in the form of a query letter addressed to the editor, via either email or regular mail. Queries should convey your writing style and should give the editors a sense of your angle and the sources you plan to consult. The more focused your idea, the better chance it has of being accepted. Include writing samples, but do not send a completed manuscript until asked to do so.

Submit manuscripts only at the request of the editors. Features run from 1,800 to 3,000 words. All articles should be in Microsoft Word format. Please include a list of your sources, references, and any illustrations available for use with the article, as well as a short (2-3 sentence) biography of yourself. Articles are edited for technical accuracy by an astronomer at the University. All other editing is done in-house.

StarDate buys first North American serial rights at rates that vary by article. Payment is made upon acceptance. A signed writer’s agreement indicating rights assigned and payment terms must be on file in the StarDate office before payment is made.

Please note that StarDate is published by the University of Texas at Austin, a state agency with rigid and voluminous rules, so the business side of writing for us can be a bit different from other magazines. We’ll try to make the process as painless as possible, though.

Damond Benningfield, Executive Editor

StarDate Magazine

The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory

2515 Speedway C1402

Austin, Texas 78712

[email protected]

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