Got to come up sooner or later. MathJax is pretty useful, especially when one needs to include some astrophysics in the answer. Can we have it?

AKA, Manishearth just joined this site. ;-) – Jon Ericson Sep 24 '13 at 20:06
@JonEricson We have updated the answers here, and we are curious if you can give us an update on whether MathJax might be made available to us soon. – called2voyage Oct 14 '13 at 14:16
@called2voyage: $ soon = now $ ;) – Jon Ericson Oct 21 '13 at 19:02
@JonEricson Noted, and I have been updating a number of answers. – called2voyage Oct 21 '13 at 19:05
Thanks a bunch guys for adding support for MathJax, it really makes many of the questions/answers far more legible. – Guillochon Oct 23 '13 at 14:41
up vote 5 down vote accepted

$$ \sum_{first}^{last}{answer} = yes $$

$\left|\mathbb{B R I L L I A N T} \right|$ – TildalWave Oct 21 '13 at 21:55

Yes, please

For example, it would be useful when writing things involving c, astronomy equations, and the like. Also, it's not that terribly hard on load times.

I am definitely in full support of this as well. The alternative involves generating images on your own machine using some tool like LaTeXIt and uploading the graphics individually, this is especially cumbersome. – Guillochon Sep 25 '13 at 16:17

To emphasize the intimate link between astronomy and mathematics, I'll post a scan of a cheat sheet for Astronomy 150 from Andy's useful astronomy/physics/math cheat sheets page, a (formerly) junior-level astronomy college course at Harvard on radiative processes in astrophysics:

enter image description here

This is one of four cheat sheets for this class, this being the first and least-mathematical. Astrophysical processes are almost entirely understood by the light we collect, and thus I cannot emphasize enough its importance. The vast majority of astronomy-related questions cannot be answered without at least basic Algebra, the representation of which is cumbersome without a built-in LaTeX interpreter (e.g. MathJax).

I agree that the "genie will be out of the bottle" by enabling LaTeX, but frankly I am highly skeptical that this Stack Exchange will succeed without the involvement of the professional community. Professional astronomy has a strong outreach component, and I know that many of my peers will be more willing to participate knowing that they can give complete, well-annotated answers to the questions raised here, as opposed to being encouraged to answer without the use of math to avoid the logistical headache of generating graphics externally.

Out of curiosity, what's the formula for relative aperture of a pinhole camera doing in the astronomy cheat sheet (penultimate line from the bottom)? – TildalWave Oct 1 '13 at 22:35
@Guillochon Well said, and I concur! I had to memorize this for my PhD comprehensive examination... Brings back memories :) – astromax Oct 14 '13 at 17:27

Also, to add another 'yes please' - it would make it so much easier writing temperatures.

This could be expanded to just about any kind of unit, actually. – Undo Sep 24 '13 at 23:27

List of examples:

Astronomy is physics in the end of the day, and physics strongly relies on math... You can explain a lot of things with words rather than equations, but at some point you cannot avoid to use them for clarity or to have a deeper understanding of some physical process. If the site would aim only at amateur astronomers, I would say that it could be OK (or even better) to avoid equations and focus on simple explanations in English, but since it also aims at professional astronomers, it is just unavoidable to use equations at some point.


Nice Job putting together this proposal. This has been…

$$ \Huge DONE $$


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