The Ask An Astronomer website is a volunteer service provided by graduate students from the Department of Astronomy at the University of California Santa Cruz, in affiliation with the Lick Observatory.
Because we are volunteers, it is generally not feasible to answer questions in a quick fashion. Because of this, we request that you discourage any student considering asking us questions about homework.
Another common request is for assistance with reports and projects. While we are happy to help point students in the right direction, it is simply not possible for us to be the sole providers of information for a project. We would suggest that students needing information for projects and reports learn to use many of the resources available on the World-Wide Web, such as search engines (Google, www.google.com , is a personal favorite) or web portals (such as Yahoo! or similar companies). Much of the factual information in our answers comes from these tools and was found with minimal effort. We also ask that students not submit emails for projects in which they are asked to "interview" a professional about their work. These particular requests have become so common that we can no longer respond to them in any meaningful manner.
Please follow the privacy notice link below for a detailed description of our personal privacy guidelines. We do collect limited personal information from users of our site for the purposes of correspondence. In particular, email addresses are used in every response, and we request that minors provide us with their age or grade so that we can tailor our response to the individual's level of education. Many users also freely provide their names and other personal information; such information is not required and is deleted after a response is sent to the user.
If a child under age 13 submits a one-time question to us, we are not required to seek parental consent. However, multiple emails from a child may require parental consent. Such consent may be given in the form of an email to the AAA team, by written communication, or by various other means. In general, we do not keep track of users and presume that each submission is a first-time question. Again, personal information is deleted as soon as a response is sent to the user.
Parents may at any point contact us and request that we do not collect any further information and/or that we do not correspond with a child. In such cases, further emails from a child will be deleted immediately upon receipt. Contact information is below.
The Ask-An-Astronomer Team