This week the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is having their biannual meeting. You can follow along with tons of great tweets from many astronomers at the meeting by following #aas222.
Even when I'm not able to go, I still enjoy looking through the meeting's abstract book to get a sense for what's being discussed. If you don't want to parse ~100 pages of abstracts, check out this word cloud I made using every talk and poster abstract:
This visualization is a little silly, but it does give you a sense for what people are talking about this week. Lots of big name telescopes can be found in the 'cloud (like Kepler and Hubble), and abbreviations for the states that are home to many of astronomers (AZ, CA, MA). I'm happy to see "stars" as one of the biggest science words, and cool to see WIYN getting lots of love (which makes sense given the meeting's location, and ODI being online).
I made one of these word clouds for AAS 221 as well, though I might have pre-whitened it by removing (e.g.) United, States, and University. I can't recall. Comparing these two word clouds, however, has given me an idea I'd like to pursue: using the word frequency of paper (or meeting) abstracts to track the popularity of astronomical topics/sub-disciplines over time.