List of astronomical key words (Updated on 2020 January)

This list is common to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Astronomy and Astrophysics, The Astrophysical Journal and Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics. In order to ease the search, the key words are subdivided into broad categories. No more than six subcategories altogether should be listed for a paper.

The subcategories in boldface containing the word ‘individual’ are intended for use with specific astronomical objects; these should never be used alone, but always in combination with the most common names for the astronomical objects in question. Note that each object counts as one subcategory within the allowed limit of six.

The parts of the key words in italics are for reference only and should be omitted when the keywords are entered on the manuscript.


editorials, notices

errata, addenda

extraterrestrial intelligence

history and philosophy of astronomy


obituaries, biographies

publications, bibliography

sociology of astronomy


Physical data and processes

acceleration of particles

accretion, accretion discs




astroparticle physics

atomic data

atomic processes

black hole physics




dense matter



elementary particles

equation of state


gravitational lensing: micro

gravitational lensing: strong

gravitational lensing: weak

gravitational waves



line: formation

line: identification

line: profiles

magnetic fields

magnetic reconnection

(magnetohydrodynamics) MHD


molecular data

molecular processes


nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances




radiation: dynamics

radiation mechanisms:general

radiation mechanisms: non-thermal

radiation mechanisms: thermal

radiative transfer

relativistic processes


shock waves

solid state: refractory

solid state: volatile



Astronomical instrumentation, methods and techniques

atmospheric effects


instrumentation: adaptive optics

instrumentation: detectors

instrumentation: high angular resolution

instrumentation: interferometers

instrumentation: miscellaneous

instrumentation: photometers

instrumentation: polarimeters

instrumentation: spectrographs

light pollution

methods: analytical

methods: data analysis

methods: laboratory: atomic

methods: laboratory: molecular

methods: laboratory: solid state

methods: miscellaneous

methods: numerical

methods: observational

methods: statistical

site testing

space vehicles

space vehicles: instruments

techniques: high angular resolution

techniques: image processing

techniques: imaging spectroscopy

techniques: interferometric

techniques: miscellaneous

techniques: photometric

techniques: polarimetric

techniques: radar astronomy

techniques: radial velocities

techniques: spectroscopic


Astronomical data bases

astronomical data bases: miscellaneous




virtual observatory tools


software: simulations

software: public release

software: documentation

software: development

software: data analysis

Astrometry and celestial mechanics


celestial mechanics





proper motions

reference systems


The Sun

Sun: abundances

Sun: activity

Sun: atmosphere

Sun: chromosphere

Sun: corona

Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)

Sun: evolution

Sun: faculae, plages

Sun: filaments, prominences

Sun: flares

Sun: fundamental parameters

Sun: general

Sun: granulation

Sun: helioseismology

Sun: heliosphere

Sun: infrared

Sun: interior

Sun: magnetic fields

Sun: oscillations

Sun: particle emission

Sun: photosphere

Sun: radio radiation

Sun: rotation

(Sun:) solar–terrestrial relations

(Sun:) solar wind

(Sun:) sunspots

Sun: transition region

Sun: UV radiation

Sun: X-rays, gamma-rays

Planetary systems

comets: general

comets: individual: . . .


interplanetary medium

Kuiper belt: general

Kuiper belt objects: individual: . . .

meteorites, meteors, meteoroids

minor planets, asteroids: general

minor planets, asteroids: individual: . . .


Oort Cloud

planets and satellites: atmospheres

planets and satellites: aurorae

planets and satellites: composition

planets and satellites: detection

planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability

planets and satellites: formation

planets and satellites: fundamental parameters

planets and satellites: gaseous planets

planets and satellites: general

planets and satellites: individual: . . .

planets and satellites: interiors

planets and satellites: magnetic fields

planets and satellites: oceans

planets and satellites: physical evolution

planets and satellites: rings

planets and satellites: surfaces

planets and satellites: tectonics

planets and satellites: terrestrial planets

planet–disc interactions

planet–star interactions

protoplanetary discs

zodiacal dust


stars: abundances

stars: activity

stars: AGB and post-AGB

stars: atmospheres

(stars:) binaries (including multiple): close

(stars:) binaries: eclipsing

(stars:) binaries: general

(stars:) binaries: spectroscopic

(stars:) binaries: symbiotic

(stars:) binaries: visual

stars: black holes

(stars:) blue stragglers

(stars:) brown dwarfs

stars: carbon

stars: chemically peculiar

stars: chromospheres

(stars:) circumstellar matter

stars: coronae

stars: distances

stars: dwarf novae

stars: early-type

stars: emission-line, Be

stars: evolution

stars: flare

stars: formation

stars: fundamental parameters

(stars:) gamma-ray burst: general

(stars:) gamma-ray burst: individual: . . .

stars: general

(stars:) Hertzsprung–Russell and colour–magnitude


stars: horizontal branch

stars: imaging

stars: individual: . . .

stars: interiors

stars: jets

stars: kinematics and dynamics

stars: late-type

stars: low-mass

stars: luminosity function, mass function

stars: magnetars

stars: magnetic field

stars: massive

stars: mass-loss

stars: neutron

(stars:) novae, cataclysmic variables

stars: oscillations (including pulsations)

stars: peculiar (except chemically peculiar)

(stars:) planetary systems

stars: Population II

stars: Population III

stars: pre-main-sequence

stars: protostars

(stars:) pulsars: general

(stars:) pulsars: individual: . . .

stars: rotation

stars: solar-type

(stars:) starspots

stars: statistics

(stars:) subdwarfs

(stars:) supergiants

(stars:) supernovae: general

(stars:) supernovae: individual: . . .

stars: variables: Cepheids

stars: variables: Scuti

stars: variables: general

stars: variables: RR Lyrae

stars: variables: S Doradus

stars: variables: T Tauri, Herbig Ae/Be

(stars:) white dwarfs

stars: winds, outflows

stars: Wolf–Rayet

Interstellar medium (ISM), nebulae

ISM: abundances

ISM: atoms

ISM: bubbles

ISM: clouds

(ISM:) cosmic rays

(ISM:) dust, extinction

ISM: evolution

ISM: general

(ISM:) HII regions

(ISM:) Herbig–Haro objects

ISM: individual objects: . . .

(except planetary nebulae)

ISM: jets and outflows

ISM: kinematics and dynamics

ISM: lines and bands

ISM: magnetic fields

ISM: molecules

(ISM:) photodissociation region (PDR)

(ISM:) planetary nebulae: general

(ISM:) planetary nebulae: individual: . . .

ISM: structure

ISM: supernova remnants

The Galaxy

Galaxy: abundances

Galaxy: bulge

Galaxy: centre

Galaxy: disc

Galaxy: evolution

Galaxy: formation

Galaxy: fundamental parameters

Galaxy: general

(Galaxy:) globular clusters: general

(Galaxy:) globular clusters: individual: . . .

Galaxy: halo

Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics

(Galaxy:) local interstellar matter

Galaxy: nucleus

(Galaxy:) open clusters and associations: general

(Galaxy:) open clusters and associations: individual: . . .

(Galaxy:) solar neighbourhood

Galaxy: stellar content

Galaxy: structure


galaxies: abundances

galaxies: bar

galaxies: active

(galaxies:) BL Lacertae objects: general

(galaxies:) BL Lacertae objects: individual: . . .

galaxies: bulges

galaxies: clusters: general

galaxies: disc

galaxies: clusters: individual: . . .

galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium

galaxies: distances and redshifts

galaxies: dwarf

galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD

galaxies: evolution

galaxies: formation

galaxies: fundamental parameters

galaxies: general

galaxies: groups: general

galaxies: groups: individual: . . .

galaxies: haloes

galaxies: high-redshift

galaxies: individual: . . .

galaxies: interactions

(galaxies:) intergalactic medium

galaxies: irregular

galaxies: ISM

galaxies: jets

galaxies: kinematics and dynamics

(galaxies:) Local Group

galaxies: luminosity function, mass function

(galaxies:) Magellanic Clouds

galaxies: magnetic fields

galaxies: nuclei

galaxies: peculiar

galaxies: photometry

(galaxies:) quasars: absorption lines

(galaxies:) quasars: emission lines

(galaxies:) quasars: general

(galaxies:) quasars: individual: . . .

(galaxies:) quasars: supermassive black holes

galaxies: Seyfert

galaxies: spiral

galaxies: starburst

galaxies: star clusters: general

galaxies: star clusters: individual: . . .

galaxies: star formation

galaxies: statistics

galaxies: stellar content

galaxies: structure


(cosmology:) cosmic background radiation

(cosmology:) cosmological parameters

(cosmology:) dark ages, reionization, first stars

(cosmology:) dark energy

(cosmology:) dark matter

(cosmology:) diffuse radiation

(cosmology:) distance scale

(cosmology:) early Universe

(cosmology:) inflation

(cosmology:) large-scale structure of Universe

cosmology: miscellaneous

cosmology: observations

(cosmology:) primordial nucleosynthesis

cosmology: theory

Resolved and unresolved sources as a function of wavelength

gamma-rays: diffuse background

gamma-rays: galaxies

gamma-rays: galaxies: clusters

gamma-rays: general

gamma-rays: ISM

gamma-rays: stars

infrared: diffuse background

infrared: galaxies

infrared: general

infrared: ISM

infrared: planetary systems

infrared: stars

radio continuum: galaxies

radio continuum: general

radio continuum: ISM

radio continuum: planetary systems

radio continuum: stars

radio continuum: transients

radio lines: galaxies

radio lines: general

radio lines: ISM

radio lines: planetary systems

radio lines: stars

submillimetre: diffuse background

submillimetre: galaxies

submillimetre: general

submillimetre: ISM

submillimetre: planetary systems

submillimetre: stars

ultraviolet: galaxies

ultraviolet: general

ultraviolet: ISM

ultraviolet: planetary systems

ultraviolet: stars

X-rays: binaries

X-rays: bursts

X-rays: diffuse background

X-rays: galaxies

X-rays: galaxies: clusters

X-rays: general

X-rays: individual: . . .

X-rays: ISM

X-rays: stars


(transients:) black hole mergers

(transients:) black hole - neutron star mergers

(transients:) fast radio bursts

(transients:) gamma-ray bursts

(transients:) neutron star mergers

transients: novae

transients: supernovae

transients: tidal disruption events