Reporter Dennis Sadowski (Catholic News Service) interviewed Father George Coyne (Vatican Obs.), recipient of the 2009 George Van Biesbroeck Prize.
On Monday evening AAS members and the press corps roasted Steve Maran (seated) on the occasion of his retirement after 25 years as AAS Press Officer. Neil deGrasse Tyson (AMNH) obviously relished his role as master of ceremonies. Photo by Larry Marschall (Gettysburg College).
Public-information officers Ray Villard (STScI) and Colleen Sharkey (ESA Hubble) had plenty to smile about with scientific results flowing from the newly refurbished Hubble Space Telescope.
Visitors to the Press Room kept mixing up public-information officers Whitney Clavin (left, NASA/JPL) and Megan Watzke (CXC).
John Martin (Univ. of Illinois, Springfield), Edward Sion (Villanova Univ.), Peter Garnavich (Univ. of Notre Dame), and Andrew Drake (Caltech) presented new results on exploding stars ranging from recurrent novae to pair-instability supernovae. Nathan Smith (right, UC Berkeley) helped reporters appreciate the implications of the discoveries.
Joshua Bloom (UC Berkeley) received the 2009 Pierce Prize for his observational and theoretical work on gamma-ray bursts.
Enjoying cocktails and cake at a reception before Steve Maran’s roast are (L to R) incoming AAS president Debra Elmegreen (Vassar College), AAS Executive Officer Kevin Marvel, AAS past president J. Craig Wheeler (Univ. of Texas) holding a “Marantini,” and Tamara Koch.
Among those roasting Steve Maran was new AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg, who literally went over the top in his attempt to look the part.
Aaron Wolfe (Villanova Univ.) explains to Robert Noyes (CfA) how he concluded that K-type dwarfs are the ‘Goldilocks’ stars for hosting long-term habitable planets.
Rogier A. Windhorst (left, Arizona State Univ.) and Garth Illingworth (UC Santa Cruz) told reporters about the latest ultradeep images from the Hubble Space Telescope, which reveal galaxies and galaxy fragments at redshifts of 8 and possibly higher.
As no one knows better than an astronaut, it’s a small world. AAS Membership Director Faye Peterson (right) is second cousin to the wife of NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
As she has for many years, Deputy Press Officer Inge Heyer (Joint Astronomy Centre) ably orchestrated activities in the AAS Press Room and managed to keep chaos at bay.
Scott Gaudi (Ohio State Univ.) received the 2009 Warner Prize and gave a talk entitled “The Demographics of Exoplanets.”
William Irace (left, NASA/JPL) and David Leisawitz (NASA/GSFC) unveiled the first-light image from the WISE satellite, which is now working on an all-sky survey of the infrared sky.
AAS president John Huchra (right, CfA) presented Peter Serlemitsos (NASA/GSFC) with the 2009 Joseph Weber Award for his innovative contributions to X-ray detector and telescope designs.
At the Society banquet, AAS president John Huchra (CfA) gave Jean and Ric Edelman of Edelman Financial Services a certificate of appreciation for their generous donation of 15,000 Galileoscope kits to U.S. schoolteachers.
Hundreds of students attended Sunday’s undergraduate reception to learn about summer internships and graduate programs in astronomy. Among them were (L to R) Eric Geier, Brittin Borland, Sarah Friberg, Alicia VonLanken, and Michael Huff, all currently or formerly of Indiana University.
No AAS meeting would be complete without a press conference on black holes. Participants at the one in Washington, which featured new discoveries about stellar-mass, intermediate, and supermassive black holes, included Jimmy Irwin (Univ. of Alabama), Julie Comerford (UC Berkeley), Javiera Guedes (UC Santa Cruz), Francesca M. Civano (CfA), and Ruth Daly (Penn State Univ.).
The exhibit hall was the perfect spot to meet old friends and make new acquaintances. L to R: Wes Traub (NASA/JPL), Nancy Roman (Chevy Chase, MD), and Ken Seidelmann (Univ. of Virginia).
The Kepler mission’s first exoplanet discoveries, including a “hot Jupiter” with the density of Styrofoam, made headlines all over the world. Presenting and discussing Kepler’s ultraprecise stellar light curves at a Monday press briefing were (clockwise from top left) Dimitar Sasselov (CfA), Natalie Batalha (San Jose State Univ.), Bill Borucki (NASA/ARC), Ron Gilliland (STScI), Pete Worden (NASA/ARC), Jon Morse (NASA HQ), and Caty Pilachowski (Indiana Univ.).
Sara Schechner (Harvard Univ.), past chair of the Historical Astronomy Division, presented HAD’s 2010 LeRoy Doggett Prize to Michael J. Crowe (Univ. of Notre Dame), whose prize talk explored milestones in the centuries-old debate about the existence of extraterrestrial life.
L to R: Donald Hoard (Caltech), Brian Mason (USNO), and Robert Zavala (USNO) briefed reporters on new solutions to old stellar mysteries, including what’s eclipsing Epsilon Aurigae. Arne Henden (right, AAVSO) offered sage commentary.
Scientists working with each of the still-orbiting Great Observatories unveiled dramatic new images of galaxies near and (very) far at a press briefing on Tuesday. L to R: Karl Gordon (STScI), Roman Shcherbakov (CfA), John Grunsfeld (STScI), Garth Illingworth (UC Santa Cruz), and Rogier Windhorst (Arizona State Univ.).
During his public-policy address, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden pledged not to take money from space science to pay for human space flight, a remark that prompted loud applause.
Standing in front of a mural depicting an ultradeep Hubble image, for scale, are Matt Mountain (STScI), John Huchra (CfA), Edward Weiler (NASA HQ), Garth Illingworth (UC Santa Cruz), Charles Bolden (NASA HQ), Rogier Windhorst (Arizona State Univ.), and Jon Morse (NASA HQ).
NASA science director Edward Weiler points out features on a model of the James Webb Space Telescope to his boss, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who piloted the Hubble Space Telescope’s deployment mission in 1990. AAS president John Huchra (background, CfA) looks on.
Four-time shuttle astronaut Charles Bolden, now the NASA Administrator, walked around the exhibit hall with Anita Krishnamurthi, the AAS’s Bahcall Public Policy Fellow.
AAS president John Huchra and Hubble repairman John Grunsfeld exchanged certificates of appreciation before Grunsfeld described how he and his crewmates on Atlantis’s STS-125 mission gave the Hubble Space Telescope a new lease on life. AAS members honored the former astronaut, now deputy director of STScI, with a standing ovation to thank him for risking his life to refurbish Hubble for the benefit of all astronomy.
At a Wednesday news conference on the “dark side” of cosmology, (L to R) Gene Byrd (Univ. of Alabama), David Law (UCLA), Niv Drory (MPIE), and Stacy McGaugh (Univ. of Maryland) presented new findings on dark matter and dark energy from the Local Group to the edge of the visible universe.
Kepler wasn’t the only source of exoplanet news in Washington. At a Wednesday press briefing, (L to R) Xavier Koenig (CfA), Carl Melis (UC San Diego), Rory Barnes (Univ. of Washington), Brian Jackson (NASA/GSFC), and Scott Gaudi (Ohio State Univ.) presented new findings from ground-based exoplanet searches using a variety of technologies, including gravitational microlensing.
AAS president John Huchra (CfA) presented the 2009 Cannon Award to supernova expert and fellow Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer Alicia Soderberg.
Chryssa Kouveliotou (NASA/MSFC) presented the 2009 HEAD Rossi Prize to Charles Bailyn (Yale Univ.), Ronald Remillard (MIT), and Jeffrey McClintock (CfA) for their measurements of stellar black hole masses in the Milky Way.
Larry Marschall (Gettysburg College), seen here at a news conference, has been volunteering as AAS Deputy Press Officer for more than a decade.
At the DC meeting’s final news briefing, Sangwook Park (left, Penn State Univ.) and Edward Young (UCLA), who participated by teleconference and isn’t pictured, presented new findings with implications for the enrichment of the solar nebula by supernova ejecta. Mordecai-Mark Mac Low (AMNH) explained how Earth survived the epoch of orbital migration, and Cesar Fuentes (CfA) showed how he dug into the Hubble archive and came up with some new Kuiper Belt Objects.
Still standing at the end of a very busy week in the press room are (L to R) former AAS Press Officer Steve Maran, his successor, Rick Fienberg, Deputy Press Officers Inge Heyer and Larry Marschall, and AAS photographer Richard Dreiser. Photo by Ray Villard (STScI).
AAS president John Huchra (left, CfA) and Cathy O’Riordan (AIP) presented Lennox Cowie (Univ. of Hawaii) with the 2009 AAS-AIP Heinemann Prize for his seminal work on galaxy formation and evolution.
Speaking at a HAD Special Session on the first century of astronomical spectroscopy, and proving that Auguste Comte was wrong when he said that the constitution of the stars is forever unknowable, were (seated, L to R) Barbara J. Becker (UC Irvine), Matthew Stanley (NYU), John B. Hearnshaw (Univ. of Canterbury, NZ), and (standing, L to R) Richard Jarrell (York Univ.), Barbara Welther (SAO), Joseph S. Tenn (Sonoma State Univ.), Vera Rubin (Carnegie Inst. of Washington), and David H. DeVorkin (NASM). Photo courtesy of Joseph S. Tenn.
Sometimes astronomy really is rocket science, as implied by this juxtaposition at the National Air and Space Museum, site of the Society banquet. Photo by Kevin Marvel.
At the AAS banquet at the National Air and Space Museum, Hubble repairman John Grunsfeld (STScI) chatted with 2010 Cannon Award recipient Anna Frebel (CfA). Photo by Kevin Marvel.
Photo credit: Crystal Tinch