The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is pleased to announce the 2012 prize winners.
Full Story: http://dps.aas.org/prizes
Exciting new findings about everything from our solar system to the most remote galaxies in the universe will be featured in six press conferences at the 220th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, 10-14 June 2012, at the Dena’ina and William A. Egan Civic & Convention Centers. Nearly 1,200 astronomers, educators, students, and journalists are registered to attend, making this one of the biggest summer meetings in AAS history.
Meeting with the Society are its Solar Physics Division (SPD) and the newly formed Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD). Regular AAS science sessions run Monday-Thursday, June 11-14.
For Information: http://aas.org/meetings/aas220
The American Astronomical Society (AAS) today issued a statement thanking President Obama for his strong support of science as embodied in his proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2013 but asking him and the Congress to strive harder to maintain a balance of small, medium, and large space missions in astronomy and astrophysics, planetary science, and solar physics. Some provisions of the President’s FY 2013 budget, especially a 20 percent cut in NASA’s planetary science funding, threaten to undermine the recommendations of recent decadal surveys of these fields by the National Academy of Sciences.
“It is challenging to receive a budget from the President that supports part of our discipline and undercuts another,” says AAS Executive Officer Dr. Kevin B. Marvel. “We will work throughout 2012 to encourage Congress to fully support all of the decadal surveys’ priorities.”
“We are grateful that the funding for the James Webb Space Telescope puts it on track for a launch in 2018,” adds AAS President Debra M. Elmegreen (Vassar College), “and we hope we can achieve a balance of large, medium, and small projects in solar physics, planetary science, and astronomy and astrophysics so that U.S. leadership in these fields can be sustained.”
Full Story: http://aas.org/press/pr2012Feb23
At its 219th semiannual meeting last week in Austin, Texas, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) presented a certificate of appreciation commemorating Dr. Frank Kameny’s lifetime efforts to secure equal employment rights for all. In 1957 Dr. Kameny, a Ph.D. astronomer and member of the AAS, was unjustly fired from his position with the U.S. government because he was gay. His subsequent efforts to advance the cause of gay rights included organizing some of the first public protests for homosexual rights in America, running as the first openly gay candidate for Congress, and writing the first petition to the Supreme Court to argue that discrimination based on sexual orientation violates constitutional civil-rights protections.
Full Story: http://aas.org/press/pr2012Jan19
At its 219th semiannual meeting last week in Austin, Texas, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) named the recipients of its 2012 prizes for achievements in research, instrument development, education, and writing.
The Society’s prestigious Henry Norris Russell Lectureship goes to W. David Arnett (University of Arizona) “for a lifetime of seminal contributions to the fields of stellar explosions, nuclear astrophysics, and hydrodynamics.” Arnett has been a leader in developing our understanding of core-collapse processes and the fusion of new elements in massive stars. He has also done pioneering work on thermonuclear burning in white-dwarf stars and on the origin of Type Ia supernovae, which are at the center of contemporary observational cosmology.
The Newton Lacy Pierce Prize for outstanding achievement in observational research by an early-career astronomer goes to John A. Johnson (Caltech) “for major contributions to understanding fundamental relationships between extrasolar planets and their parent stars.” Johnson has found that planetary orbits can be tipped at a wide variety of angles with respect to their host stars’ spin axes. His work has also elucidated possible correlations between planet frequency and stellar mass and composition.
Full Story: http://aas.org/press/pr2012Jan18
Astronomy Education Review (AER), the online journal of astronomy and space-science education published by the American Astronomical Society (AAS), celebrated 10 years of promoting science literacy last week.
Editor-in-Chief Thomas Hockey credits AER’s success to the wisdom of the founding editors. “Andrew Fraknoi and Sidney Wolff saw astronomy educators laboring in splendid isolation and decided that a research journal would unite the field,” he says. “They were right.” AER now publishes the overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed research papers about astronomy teaching and learning, by authors from around the world.
AER supports the science-literacy goals of the National Research Council’s “New Worlds, New Horizons” decadal survey, which concluded that “a more rigorous program of assessment is needed of outcomes and efficacy across the entire spectrum of astronomical education.” It also contributes to the America COMPETES Act’s goal to develop a scientifically literate workforce for the 21st century.
Full Story: http://aas.org/press/pr2011Oct11
A map of the Moon combining observations in visible and ultraviolet wavelengths shows a treasure trove of areas rich in Titanium ores. Not only is Titanium a valuable mineral, it is key to helping scientists unravel the mysteries of the Moon’s interior. Mark Robinson and Brett Denevi will be presenting the results from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission today at the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences.
“Looking up at the Moon, its surface appears painted with shades of grey – at least to the human eye. But with the right instruments, the Moon can appear colourful,” said Robinson, of Arizona State University. “The maria appear reddish in some places and blue in others. Although subtle, these colour variations tell us important things about the chemistry and evolution of the lunar surface. They indicate the titanium and iron abundance, as well as the maturity of a lunar soil.”
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Wide Angle Camera (WAC) is imaging the surface in seven different wavelengths at a resolution of between 100 and 400 metres per pixel. Specific minerals reflect or absorb strongly certain parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, so the wavelengths detected by LROC WAC help scientists better understand the chemical composition of the lunar surface.