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AAS Electronic Announcement #150 -- June 2005

[Mailed from aas.org on 14 June 2005]

CONTENTS

  1. NRAO/AUI RADIO ASTRONOMY IMAGE CONTEST
  2. LARGE OBSERVING PROGRAMS ON THE ANGLO-AUSTRALIAN TELESCOPE
  3. SOME FOREIGN SCHOLARS WILL GET TO STAY IN US LONGER
  4. NRC REVIEWING NASA STRATEGIC ROADMAPS
  5. AST UNDERTAKES A "SENIOR REVIEW"

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 1. NRAO/AUI RADIO ASTRONOMY IMAGE CONTEST

Deadline: 1 September 2005

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Associated Universities, Inc. invite submissions of radio astronomical images to their First Annual Radio Astronomy Image Contest. This contest is designed to increase the number of visually compelling, high-quality radio astronomy images available for a wide range of educational and public outreach programs. Images submitted to this contest will be included in the NRAO Image Gallery for use by scientists, students, teachers, the general public, the media, and EPO professionals.

See http://www.nrao.edu/imagegallery/image_contest/image_contest.shtml for contest rules.

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 2. LARGE OBSERVING PROGRAMS ON THE ANGLO-AUSTRALIANTELESCOPE

Proposals due: 15 September 2005

The Anglo-Australian Observatory aims to provide Opportunities for astronomers to make effective use of the Anglo-Australian Telescope's unique capabilities to address major scientific questions through large observing programs. These opportunities will be available using any instrument, or combination of instruments, on the AAT, although particular attention is drawn to the AAOmega spectrograph (http://www.aao.gov.au/local/www/aaomega).

AAOmega is expected to be available on the AAT from early 2006, and will be the world's most efficient instrument for large-scale survey spectroscopy for some years thereafter. Following an earlier call for Expressions of Interest, the AAT Board has now issued a Request for Proposals for major new observing programs to start in semester 2006A (February to July 2006). Full details and guidelines for submitting a proposal are available at: http://www.aao.gov.au/astro/Large_Programs_RfP.pdf

All those intending to submit such a proposal are encouraged to contact the Director (mailto:director@aao.gov.au) to discuss their plans beforehand.

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 3. SOME FOREIGN SCHOLARS WILL GET TO STAY IN US LONGER

Under a new State Department Rule published in the Federal Register in May (available at this link: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo... ), some scholars will now be able to enter and leave the US multiple times during a five-year period. The program (detailed at the State Department web page here: http://exchanges.state.gov/education/jexchanges/) is called the Exchange Visitor Program. Under this program, professors and scholars with "J" visas will be allowed to enter and leave the United States an unlimited number of times over a five-year period. Once their visas expired, participants in the program would have to wait two years before they could apply for another five-year visa. Special rules and regulations apply. Please see the State Department link above for full information. The purpose of the program is to enhance understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges.

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 4. NRC REVIEWING NASA STRATEGIC ROADMAPS

The Space Studies Board (SSB) and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) of the National Academies have organized a study to review the strategic roadmaps developed by the Advanced Planning and Integration Office at NASA.

The SSB has organized four expert panels to review the roadmaps that cover (a) a cluster of seven science areas, (b) two spaceflight systems areas, (c) research on the International Space Station, and (d) education and workforce development. The first meeting of the committee took place 13 June 2005 and a final report is expected in the third quarter of 2005.

Full information on the project including committee membership, project scope, a link to provide feedback on the project and agendas for the meeting this week are available at:

http://www4.nas.edu/cp.nsf/Projects+_by+_PIN/SSBX-L-04-08-B?OpenDocument

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5. AST UNDERTAKES A "SENIOR REVIEW"

Dear Colleagues:

The Division of Astronomical Sciences is beginning the process of a "Senior Review" of its portfolio of facilities. This review, a recommendation of the most recent Decade Survey, is motivated at this particular time by a combination of the current Federal budget outlook, the ambitions of the astronomical community as evidenced in the Decade Survey and reports such as "Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos," and the growth in the AST budget over the past five years. This review is designed to examine the balance of our investments in the facilities we support and to identify approximately $30M in redirected annual spending by FY2011 through selective reductions in the operations of existing facilities. The primary goal of the review and the resultant adjustment of balance is to enable progress on the recommendations of the Decade Survey, including such things as operations funds for ALMA. At the same time we must preserve, indeed grow, a healthy core program of astronomical research that will be undertaken with the new facilities, seed the next generation of capability, and attract, train, and retainthe next generation of astronomical researchers.

We recognize that this will be a difficult task and that the end result may well be that some facilities are judged to be no longer viable under the circumstances. We also recognize that the landscape of U.S. astronomy could change dramatically as a result of some these actions. The question for all of us is to judge whether these changes are viable - leading to a vital and sustainable future - or whether the pace and scope of change necessary to realize the cumulative aspirations of the community under severely constrained budgets are too drastic. Done properly and wisely, I believe this review can result in a healthier program in the long-term, and one that is poised to take advantage of improving outlooks when they occur.

G. Wayne Van Citters
Director, Division of Astronomical Sciences

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