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AAS Electronic Announcement #179 — December 2007

AAS Electronic Announcement #179 - December 2007

[Mailed from aas.org on 10 December 2007]

View Online: http://www.aas.org/publications/elaarchive/Exploder_179_2007_12_December...

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CONTENTS:

1. 2008 MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS

2. PLEASE INCLUDE THE AAS IN YOUR YEAR-END DONATION PLANS

3. HEAD 2008 MEETING

4. AUSTIN FILM NIGHT TO BE CO-ORGANIZED BY AAS PRESIDENT WHEELER

5. NASA ANNOUNCEMENTS OF OPPORTUNITY

6. HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE CYCLE 17 CALL FOR PROPOSALS

7. JOHN BAHCALL AUDITORIUM/LECTURE SERIES

8. NAS RELEASES BOOKLET ON SCIENCE, EVOLUTION AND CREATIONISM

9. 2008 JANSKY LECTURESHIP

10. INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH EXPERIENCE FOR US GRADUATE STUDENTS

11. LUNAR CRATER OBSERVATION AND SENSING SATELLITE (LCROSS): OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROUND-BASED AND SPACE-BASED OBSERVATIONS

12. PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITY WITH THE UNITED KINGDOM INFRARED TELESCOPE

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1. 2008 MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS

If you have not yet renewed, please remit your payment immediately for arrival and processing by 31 December 2007. For your convenience you may renew online at members.aas.org. Prompt cooperation saves the AAS substantial cost and increases funding for our program. Please direct any questions regarding your renewal status to mailto:peterson at aas.org or (202) 328-2010 extension 109.

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2. PLEASE INCLUDE THE AAS IN YOUR YEAR-END DONATION PLANS

The AAS is a 501(c)3 charitable organization and donations to the AAS are fully tax deductible and gratefully accepted. We ask that you consider contributing to one or more of the many projects that define the AAS and our progress in Astronomy. Donations above $100 are acknowledged by letter for tax filing purposes. The AAS also accepts donations of appreciated stock, which can be of even greater benefit to donors come tax time. Please consider donating to the AAS as you plan your year-end giving. Multiple donations are accepted online through the "Online Contributions" link on the AAS homepage. Donations of appreciated stock should be arranged through the executive office. Questions about donations can be addressed to Faye Peterson, Membership Manager (mailto:peterson at aas.org). Donations by check can be sent to:

American Astronomical Society
PO Box 79305
Baltimore, MD 21279-0305

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3. HEAD 2008 MEETING

The 10th Meeting of the AAS High Energy Astrophysics Division will be held in sunny Los Angeles, California from 31 March to 3 April 2008.

Details are being posted as they become available, www.confcon.com/head2008/.

To give a presentation in Los Angeles an abstract (300 word limit) must be submitted through the AAS/OASIS website. Abstracts are due 18 January 2008, 9pm EST.

http://members.aas.org/abstracts/

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4. AUSTIN FILM NIGHT TO BE CO-ORGANIZED BY AAS PRESIDENT WHEELER

No trip to Austin would be complete without experiencing the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema -- an Austin cultural icon voted the best theater in America by Entertainment Weekly. You can order food and drink and see not just a movie, but an event. We've arranged a special one for the AAS -- a "quote along" screening of the 80's cult classic "Real Genius," starring Val Kilmer at a thinly disguised version of Caltech featuring the misuse of lasers, ice-skating in college hallways, and a mysterious Lazlo who lives in a subterranean world accessible through Mitch's closet door. We'll have lasers in the theater, a jell-o eating contest, popcorn exploding through the walls, and the film itself will be subtitled on key lines so that we can all yell them out in unison. Plus - Jon Gries, Lazlo the closet-dweller himself, will be there live in person to host the event and run a Q&A after the film. The screening is Wednesday, January 9 at 7 pm at the Alamo Ritz on 6th street, and there will be an after-party at a 6th street bar. Tickets are $15 and will be reserved for astronomers for a few weeks, so sign up now at: www.originalalamo.com/online_tix/buy_new.asp?item=164

-- Andy Howell and Craig Wheeler

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5. NASA ANNOUNCEMENTS OF OPPORTUNITY

Dear Colleague:

Alan Stern, Associate Administrator for Science Mission Directorate (SMD), has initiated an effort to simplify NASA Announcements of Opportunity (AOs). AOs are issued by NASA to solicit proposals for complete PI-led missions (like Explorer, Discovery, Mars Scout, etc.), for smaller PI-led missions of opportunity, and for instruments for NASA's strategic missions (like recent AOs for RBSP, MMS, MSL, JWST, etc.). This AO simplification effort is being led by Paul Hertz, Senior Advisor in SMD at NASA Headquarters responsible for the AO process, and Brad Perry, Head of the Science Support Office at NASA Langley research center and responsible for the technical/ management/ cost (TMC) review process.

There are at least three necessary outcomes that are required from an AO, and any simplified AO must still enable those outcomes. (1) Maintain the ability for NASA to evaluate the science merit (through science peer review) to guide selection. (2) Maintain the ability for NASA to evaluate the feasibility of proposed missions (through TMC review) to guide selection. (3) Ensure that mission teams are ready to successfully conduct Phase A mission concept studies if they are selected.

The first step of this effort is to gather information. NASA is conducting information gathering sessions at community meetings as well as soliciting input directly from the community. We held a successful community meeting at the Division of Planetary Science (DPS) meeting in Orlando last October.

The next community meeting will be a splinter session at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) winter meeting in Austin, Texas. The AO simplification session is 12:45-1:45pm, Thursday, 10 January 2008 in the Austin Convention Center Room 9A.

Whether or not you can join us for the community meeting, please send us any comments or input that you have for this study. We are looking for all kinds of input: suggestions about AOs, suggestions about the 2-step selection process (the AO rules and the downselect are closely coupled), even suggestions about how to carry out this study. We are especially looking for suggestions of AO changes that will reduce the amount of work on the proposer without impacting the quality of the competition (what some proposers call "non value added AO requirements").

Please send responses to aosimplify at nasa.gov.

Paul Hertz, NASA HQ, paul.hertz at nasa.gov
Brad Perry, NASA LaRC, raleigh.b.perry at nasa.gov

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6. HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE CYCLE 17 CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Release Date: 3 December 2007
Proposal Deadline: 7 March 2008

NASA and The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) are pleased to announce the Cycle 17 Call for Proposals for Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Observations and funding for Archival Research and Theoretical Research programs. Participation in this program is open to all categories of organizations, both domestic and foreign, including educational institutions, profit and nonprofit organizations, NASA Centers, and other Government agencies.

This solicitation for proposals will be open through 7 March 2008, 8:00pm EST. The Astronomer's Proposal Tools (APT), which is required for Phase I Proposal Submission will be made available/released for Cycle 17 Phase I use during the 2nd week of January 2008. Results of the selection will be announced in early June 2008.

All programmatic and technical information, as well as specific guidelines for proposal preparation, are available electronically from the STScI World-Wide Web site at the Announcement Web Page with URL: http://www.stsci.edu/hst/proposing/docs/cycle17announce

In Cycle 17, proposers should assume that HST will operate in three-gyro mode. HST has been operating in two-gyro mode since 29 August 2005.

For further details, see www.stsci.edu/hst/proposing/docs/cp17-newopps

Questions can be addressed to the STScI Help Desk (email: help at stsci.edu; phone: 410-338-1082).

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7. JOHN BAHCALL AUDITORIUM/LECTURE SERIES

The Space Telescope Science Institute Auditorium will be named The John Bahcall Auditorium in honor of John N. Bahcall.

John Bahcall championed the Hubble Space Telescope from its infancy to its ultimate scientific success. He was a tireless and enthusiastic advocate of the project for over three decades. Bahcall's leadership and commitment were seminal in making the dream of the Hubble Space Telescope a reality.

The dedication will take place at the Space Telescope Science Institute Baltimore on Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 4:30pm following the 2007 Annual Bahcall Lecture by Prof. Geoff Marcy, at 3pm.

The Annual John Bahcall Lectures 2007 will be given this year by Prof. Geoff Marcy, Professor of Astrophysics, University of California, Berkeley.

Extra-Solar Planets

Lecture #1: 11 December 2007, 7:30pm

Public Talk, National Air and Space Museum, IMAX Theater, Washington, DC

Lecture #2: 12 December 2007, 3pm

Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD

Lecture #3: 14 December 2007, 3:30pm

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

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8. NAS RELEASES BOOKLET ON SCIENCE, EVOLUTION AND CREATIONISM

On Friday 4 January 2008 at 11:00 AM ET, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) will release the publication, "Science, Evolution, and Creationism." A public briefing for the release, which will be held at the NAS building at 2100 C Street, NW, Washington, DC will be held, after which copies of the book will be handed out and made available online at the following link: www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11876

A live audio webcast of the event will also be available at the following link: www.national-academies.org

Presented below is a Description of the NAS publication "Science, Evolution, and Creationism"

This completely updated edition of the landmark booklet Science and Creationism is written for anyone who wants to learn more about the science of evolution. It provides a succinct overview of the many recent advances from the fossil record, molecular biology, and a new field known as evolutionary-developmental biology that have yielded important, new, and overwhelming evidence for evolution. It makes clear that the study of evolution remains one of the most active, robust, and far-reaching fields in all of modern science.

However, controversies about teaching evolution continue in the United States. Recently some opponents of evolution have supported introducing a form of creationism known as "intelligent design" into public school science classes or have argued that science teachers should encourage "critical thinking" by discussing "controversies" surrounding evolution.

This book provides clear explanations and intriguing examples that emphasize the strength of the science of evolution and the lack of scientific controversy surrounding whether evolution has and is continuing to occur. It is an excellent resource for understanding how evolution is central to many other areas of science and why evolution and not creationism should be taught in the science classroom.

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9. 2008 JANSKY LECTURESHIP

Deadline: 15 February 2008

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory invites nominations for the 2008 Jansky Lectureship www.nrao.edu/jansky/janskyprize.shtml

The Karl G. Jansky Lectureship is an honor established by the trustees of Associated Universities, Inc. to recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement of radio astronomy. First awarded in 1966, it is named in honor of Karl G. Jansky who, in 1932, first detected radio waves from a cosmic source.

Please send nominations, including no more than ONE supporting paragraph, by COB 15 February 2008, to borahood at nrao.edu or Office of Science and Academic Affairs, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA, 22903-2475.

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10. INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH EXPERIENCE FOR US GRADUATE STUDENTS
Study Astronomy/Astrophysics in India - Summer 2008

The program is administered by the National Solar Observatory (NSO), sponsored by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE), and is open to US graduate students in any discipline of astronomy or astrophysics who are US citizens or permanent residents, age 21 years or older, and have a passport. Now in its second year, the main goal of the program is to expose potential researchers to an international setting at an early stage in their careers. The program will take place in Bangalore, India, under the auspices of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), a premier national center devoted to research in astronomy, astrophysics and related physics.

The program will support four full-time summer research positions for eight weeks starting 11 June 2008. For each participant, the program will provide round-trip air-coach travel to and from Bangalore, India, a stipend of $500 US per week, accommodation, miscellaneous travel (field trips) and incidental expenses, and medical expenses and insurance.

Additional information and application materials are available on the web at http://eo.nso.edu/ires/. All application materials must be received by 18 January 2008.

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11. LUNAR CRATER OBSERVATION AND SENSING SATELLITE (LCROSS): OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROUND-BASED AND SPACE-BASED OBSERVATIONS

The Lunar Crater and Observation Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) will provide a unique opportunity for the astronomical community to observe two lunar impact plumes and their aftermath to obtain data regarding the lunar regolith, impact dynamics, and the presence or absence of water ice near the lunar poles. The mission, which is a co-manifested payload launching with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in October 2008, will use the Earth departure upper stage (EDUS) of the launch vehicle as a kinetic impactor near the lunar south pole. The impact will create an ejecta plume whose properties will be observed by a shepherding spacecraft (S-S/C) plus Earth- and space- based telescopes. Following a similar trajectory of the EDUS, the S-S/C will fly through the EDUS impact plume and then the S-S/C will also impact the Moon. The S-S/C impact will likely also be observable to ground- based and space-based telescopes. The expected date of impact is mid-February 2009, although that date obviously depends on the actual launch date.

The mass of the EDUS is ~2000 kg and the mass of the S-S/C is ~700 kg. The EDUS and S-S/C will impact at a relatively high impact angle (>60º) with an impact velocity of ~2.5 km/s. Both of these impact events are hundreds of times larger than that of Lunar Prospector which was 1) a smaller spacecraft, 2) traveling more slowly than LCROSS, and 3) impacted obliquely.

There are a variety of ground-based and orbital observatories that can observe the dust and water plumes plus a possible resultant OH exosphere caused by the LCROSS impacts. The LCROSS team encourages astronomers and planetary scientists to observe the impacts to support the scientific and exploration objectives of this mission. The LCROSS project is committed to working with the observational scientists to provide mission information that is critical to the planning and proposal of observations. In this way the LCROSS project aims to develop a coordinated observation campaign utilizing ground-based and space-based observational assets.

The LCROSS Team is hosting an LCROSS Astronomer Workshop on 29 February 2008 at NASA Ames Research Center for astronomers interested in observing the LCROSS impacts. The idea is to have the astronomy community interact with the LCROSS team such that the astronomers can have access to and ask questions about the information they need in order to write successful proposals to the observatories to secure observing time. Funding support for successful proposals will be available through a LASER (Lunar Advanced Science and Exploration Research) grant. This grant can support astronomer time for observation acquisition and data analysis as well as travel to telescope facilities. LASER is a new Research and Analysis element of NASA's ROSES (Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences) program. Dr. Jennifer Heldmann (NASA Ames Research Center, LCROSS Observation Campaign Coordinator) will be coordinating one proposal next year (2008) covering all astronomers that have successfully secured telescope time to observe the impacts.


For additional information on all aspects of the LCROSS Observation Campaign, please contact Dr. Jennifer Heldmann at NASA Ames Research Center (jheldmann at mail.arc.nasa.gov, 650-604-5530).

Additional information regarding the LCROSS mission can also be found on the web at http://lcross.arc.nasa.gov.

Additional information regarding the LCROSS Astronomer Workshop can be found on the web at http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lcross2008/.

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12. PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITY WITH THE UNITED KINGDOM INFRARED TELESCOPE

The United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) is the largest telescope in the world operating exclusively in the infrared region of the spectrum. It occupies a prime location on the world's best mountain site and is equipped with a comprehensive and versatile suite of instrumentation, including the Wide-Field Camera (WFCAM), the world's best infrared panoramic imager. A fact sheet describing the facility and its capabilities may be found here: http://www.jach.hawaii.edu/UKIRT/factsheet.pdf.

The primary science programme currently underway at UKIRT, taking advantage of WFCAM's unique capabilities, is the UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS). UKIDSS is now 25% complete and is already the largest existing near-infrared survey in terms of both volume and photons collected. A media event will take place at the AAS meeting in Austin to mark the first world release of UKIDSS data, containing over 300 square degrees to K=18.2, as well as 4 sq deg to K=21.

UKIRT is unusual amongst world-class observatories in that it is funded entirely by one agency. Due to evolving scientific priorities in the UK, the Science and Technology Facilities Council has decided to move some of the UKIRT operating funds into new projects by 2010 at the latest. There is, therefore, a unique opportunity for a new partner (or partners) to gain quick access to UKIRT and to share in the continued operation and future development of a well-established, world-class infrared observing facility.

Interested parties should contact the UKIRT Director, Professor Gary Davis, at g.davis at jach.hawaii.edu.

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