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AAS Electronic Announcement #196 - May 2009

Mailed on 11 May 2009

CONTENTS:

1. NEW MEMBER BENEFIT - NASA FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

2. THE AAS IS ON FACEBOOK

3. NEEDED: JUDGES FOR CHAMBLISS STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

4. SPARK - THE EDUCATION NEWSLETTER

5. PROPOSAL TO SHIFT THE POSTDOC DECISION DEADLINE

6. EILEEN FRIEL NEXT DIRECTOR OF LOWELL OBSERVATORY

7. CANDIDATE SEARCH: NSF ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR MATHEMATICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES

8. PLEASE TAKE THE USER SURVEY AT THE INFRARED SCIENCE ARCHIVE (IRSA)

9. ARECIBO CALL FOR PROPOSALS

10. GALEX GUEST INVESTIGATOR - CYCLE 6 CALL FOR PROPOSALS

11. "DISCOVERIES IN PLANETARY SCIENCE" CLASSROOM POWERPOINTS

12. AAAC 2009 ANNUAL REPORT

13. GETTING ASTRONOMERS INVOLVED IN THE IYA: ASTRONOMER IN THE CLASSROOM PROGRAM

14. ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT PROFESSORSHIP

15. GIOVANNI FAZIO SYMPOSIUM

16. COROT AND HIPPARCOS LIGHT CURVES AVAILABLE THROUGH THE NASA STAR AND EXOPLANET DATABASE (NSTED)
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1. NEW MEMBER BENEFIT - NASA FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

The AAS has partnered with the NASA Federal Credit Union to offer a new member benefit. Members of the AAS may now join the NASA FCU.

Please see the http://aas.org/membership/nasa_fcu for more information.
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2. THE AAS IS ON FACEBOOK

The AAS is now on Facebook and in a few weeks, we have reached over 500 fans! You can become a "fan" of the AAS by simply searching for the American Astronomical Society. Post feedback via our Wall and let us know what sort of content and news would be useful on our page.
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3. NEEDED: JUDGES FOR CHAMBLISS STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Judges are urgently needed for this year's Chambliss Award process. If you are attending the 2009 Summer meeting in Pasadena, please consider contributing to this program by reviewing one or more student poster presentations during the conference. Contact Crystal Tinch (crystal at aas.org) for more information.
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4. SPARK - THE EDUCATION NEWSLETTER

Spark, the Education Newsletter of the AAS, is published by the Education Office twice a year - in January and in June, to coincide with the semi-annual meetings. If you missed the last issue and would like to get it, please send your address to membership at aas.org. This is a free subscription to all AAS members. Spark is also available for download (PDF) at aas.org/education/spark_pubs.php. To contribute articles please contact the editors, Jake Noel-Storr and Gina Brissenden at spark at aas.org
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5. PROPOSAL TO SHIFT THE POSTDOC DECISION DEADLINE

The AAS Council passed a resolution in 1988 stating that no postdoctoral position should require a candidate response prior to 15 February of each year. In response to (1) early fall application deadlines, (2) a conflict between the postdoc and faculty hiring timelines, (3) the announcement dates for NASA grant proposal decisions, and (4) ongoing issues with some programs ignoring the resolution, the AAS Employment Committee is asking the AAS Council to adopt a new recommendation:

"To ensure an orderly and fair postdoctoral appointment procedure, the AAS Council recommends that the deadline for decisions on postdoctoral offers will not be required earlier than 31 March of a given year, and that acknowledgment of this deadline will be required for advertising postdoctoral positions on the AAS Job Register."

AAS Members can voice their support or opposition to this proposal through an online poll <http://doodle.com/cq8tbmxfy4cdxwhy> and further comments can be submitted to committee chair, Travis Metcalfe <travis at ucar.edu>.
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6. EILEEN FRIEL NEXT DIRECTOR OF LOWELL OBSERVATORY

Dr. Eileen Friel has accepted the appointment by Observatory Trustee, William Lowell Putnam, to be the next Director of Lowell Observatory. Dr. Friel will become the tenth Director of the Observatory. Friel is currently serving as the Executive Officer, Division of Astronomical Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Among her previous experience, she served as Program Director, Unit Coordinator for NSF; Director of the Maria Mitchell Observatory; and she was Founder and Director of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory's Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. Dr. Friel received her Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of California-Santa Cruz, a Part III Math Tripos from Churchill College, Cambridge University in England, and her B.S. in Physics with Highest Honors from William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virgina. Dr. Friel's research interest is in galactic evolution, in particular in using star clusters as chemical and dynamical probes in The Milky Way and local group galaxies, in issues of stellar populations and stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis. Friel will succeed Bob Millis who has served as the Lowell Observatory Director since 1989. Millis will step down as Director on June 15th of this year. Visit http://www.lowell.edu/media/releases.php for a full version of the press release.
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7. CANDIDATE SEARCH: NSF ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR MATHEMATICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES

We are initiating a national search for the National Science Foundation's Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and seek your assistance in the identification of candidates. Dr. Tony Chan has served in this position with great distinction since October 2006.

The Assistant Director, MPS, leads a Directorate comprised of five divisions: Astronomical Sciences, Chemistry, Materials Research, Mathematical Sciences, and Physics; as well as the Office of Multidisciplinary Activities. Enclosed is an information sheet that summarizes the Directorate's activities and the responsibilities of the position, together with the criteria that will be used in the search. Employment may be on a temporary or permanent basis in the Federal Service or by temporary assignment under provisions of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act.

We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Witherell, Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of California at Santa Barbara, has agreed to head the search committee. We seek your help in identifying candidates with the following qualifications: outstanding leadership; a deep sense of scholarship; a grasp of the issues facing the mathematical and physical science communities in the areas of education and research; and the ability to serve effectively as a key member of the NSF management team. We are especially interested in identifying women, members of minority groups, and persons with disabilities for consideration. Recommendations of individuals from any sector - academic, industry, or government - are welcome.

Please send your recommendations, including any supporting information that you can provide, to the AD/MPS Search Committee via e mail (mpssrch at lists.nsf.gov) or at the following address: National Science Foundation, Office of the Director, Suite 1205, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. We would appreciate receiving your recommendations by June 19, 2009.

Your assistance in this very important task is appreciated. A PDF version of this letter, including the enclosures, is attached. This announcement is also available on the Web at http://www.nsf.gov/od.
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8. PLEASE TAKE THE USER SURVEY AT THE INFRARED SCIENCE ARCHIVE (IRSA)

The NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive (IRSA) is soliciting user feedback at http://irsa.ipac.caltech.edu/applications/UserSurvey. Comments and suggestions will help us better tailor the archive to serve you, our users. Since our last update, IRSA has announced the following new data sets accessible through our query engines and inventory services:- All-sky United States Naval Observatory B1.0 Catalog (USNO-B).- Many new data sets from the Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS).- In concert with the Spitzer Science Center, new data sets from the following Spitzer Legacy teams:----Surveying the Agents of a Galaxy's Evolution (SAGE)----A 24 and 70 Micron Survey of the Inner Galactic Disk with MIPS (MIPSGAL)----Galactic Legacy Infrared Midplane Survey Extraordinaire (GLIMPSE I, II, and 3D)----Great Observatory All-sky LIRG Survey (GOALS)----Taurus 2: Finishing the Spitzer Map of the Taurus Molecular Clouds (Taurus)----Local Volume Legacy survey (LVL)These data and their associated documentation are available through our website, http://irsa.ipac.caltech.edu/ .
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9. ARECIBO CALL FOR PROPOSALS
1 June 2009 is the next deadline for submitting proposals for Arecibo. Proposals submitted at this deadline are for using the 305 m telescope in the eight months beginning 1 October 2009 (ie valid for two trimesters).

We draw attention to the 1.1-10 GHz continuous frequency coverage on offer. This capacity was recently used to detect numerous molecular and hydrogen recombination lines from Arp 220 and other ULIRGS, using our WAPP spectrometers that offer a single pixel 640 MHz bandwidth facility (Salter et al AJ 136, 389). We anticipate a 1 GHz bandwidth capacity being available by June. In addition we commissioned a cryogenic 327 MHz receiver in 2008.

The transition from analog to digital TV changes the use of spectrum in the 705 - 820 MHz band. The Observatory is commissioning a receiver to use in this band on a trial basis, and will consider proposals on a shared risk basis in this band. Its availability may be ephemeral.

Proposal submission details, and a web-based cover sheet, can be found at www.naic.edu/~astro/proposals. A guide for new-users to the telescope is at www.naic.edu/~astro/guide. Other user-related information is at www.naic.edu/~astro/astronomy.htm.

Radio sources with declinations between about -1 and +37.5 deg are visible from Arecibo, and can be tracked over the range of zenith angles between ~1.1 and 19.7 deg. Arecibo deadlines are at the first of February, June & October.
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10. GALEX GUEST INVESTIGATOR - CYCLE 6 CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Due: 19 June 2009

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration solicits proposals for the acquisition and analysis of new scientific data from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX). The GALEX mission was designed to map the global history and probe the causes of star formation over the redshift range 0<z<2. GALEX obtains wide-field ultraviolet images (1200-2800 Angstroms) and grism spectroscopy. This solicitation is for Cycle 6 of the GALEX Guest Investigator (GI) Program, to be carried out between on January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010. GI programs may address any area of astronomy or astrophysics. Details of instrumentation, observing modes, schedules, and proposal submission instructions will be available in mid-May at: http://galexgi.gsfc.nasa.gov/Proposals are due no later than by 4:30 EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) on Friday, 19 June 2009.
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11. "DISCOVERIES IN PLANETARY SCIENCE" CLASSROOM POWERPOINTS

The Education Subcommittee of the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences announces the inaugural release of "Discoveries in Planetary Science" Classroom Powerpoints. These are succinct summaries of discoveries too recent to appear in "Intro Astronomy" college textbooks; each set consists of just three slides to be shown: the discovery itself, a basic explanation based on good planetary science, and the "big picture" context. Another page for further information is provided as well. The first set covers Mars Methane, Extrasolar Planet Imaging, The Chaotic Early Solar System, Mars Sulfur Chemistry, and Mercury Volcanism. Powerpoints and pdf's can be downloaded from http://dps.aas.org/education/dpsdisc. Planetary scientists with recent or upcoming results of broad interest are encouraged to submit them for consideration by providing an initial draft using the template provided on the website. For more information, contact Nick Schneider & Dave Brain at dpsdisc at aas.org
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12. AAAC 2009 ANNUAL REPORT
The 2009 annual report of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAAC) is posted at the AAAC website:

www.nsf.gov/mps/ast/aaac.jsp

The findings and recommendations of the AAAC report are listed here:

Findings:

1) Inter-agency cooperation amongst DOE, NASA and NSF is healthy on many levels: from scientist to scientist, at the programmatic level, in the sharing of skills, and for small and large facilities. It has led to an increasingly dynamic scientific discipline. Challenges in implementation, particularly of the largest facilities and projects, still remain.

2) A disappointingly small number of initiatives called for in the 2000 National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey have come to fruition.

Recommendations:

1) In the interest of astronomical research, agencies should be encouraged to continue coordinating activities where the science or technology demands it, and furthermore, to map out more clearly the scientific and technological complementarities that might be the basis for future missions/projects. We emphasize coordination, which may, but not necessarily, take the form of joint projects. Taking advantage of unique skill sets amongst agencies and throughout the world, coordinated access to northern and southern hemispheres of the sky, ground and space access - all are important aspects of a vigorous scientific program.

2) Robust cost estimates, including full life-cycle costs and external analyses of the budgets, as well as strategic planning for large facilities are a necessity, and should be an integral part of any prioritization and implementation process.

3) Assessment of the cooperation within projects involving federal plus international and private partners is now needed, in addition to that of inter-agency projects. Some of these projects have started since the time the AAAC was chartered.
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13. GETTING ASTRONOMERS INVOLVED IN THE IYA: ASTRONOMER IN THE CLASSROOM PROGRAM

The University of Hawaii Institution for Astronomy and Interstellar Studios will be facilitating the exciting new International Year of Astronomy (IYA) educational program, Astronomer in the Classroom, starting next month. We are seeking astronomers that are interested in volunteering three hours to this worthy activity.

The Astronomer in the Classroom Program will provide astronomers with the opportunity to interface with school children across North America during the IYA2009. Using Abode Connect, a web conferencing solution, Interstellar Studios will host three 20-minute webcasts every schoolday in 2009 starting in mid-April.

The webcasts will be conducted at the same time each day, to accommodate national time zone differences and grade levels (3-5, 7-8, 9-12) allowing educators to drop-in when their curriculum and testing schedules allow it. This flexible scheduling will afford convenience to the teachers while avoiding bandwidth congestion.

A schedule of participating astronomers will be posted at www.astronomerintheclassroom.org with brief descriptions of the lectures allowing both the student and teacher a chance to plan for webcasts that they would like to participate in.

The Adobe Connect web-based interface will allow the astronomer to be viewed and heard over the web, as well as run a PowerPoint presentation live. Students can interact by typing questions to the conference. A Moderator will be provided to help facilitate the follow-up Q & A period.

Graduate students, post docs and active researchers who can give three hours to this worthy cause are invited to volunteer. The program should only require one hour of prep to create the presentation, .5 hours to upload and test the provided webcam and 1.5-hours to do the three webcasts.

IfA has donated the cost of the Abobe licensing and Interstellar Studios is managing this free program. Volunteers need only provide a PC/Mac with a webcam and microphone. An Internet connection rated DSL or better is required.

No special training is needed. Astronomers who are passionate about their research, and enjoy sharing their discoveries and news of their institution, have already met the most important criteria for participation. Participating astronomers are simply asked to keep in mind the grade levels' attention capacity, and to describe the subject matter with grade appropriate vocabulary.

For astronomers whose institutions are expected to perform outreach, and /or participate in the IYA2009, the Astronomer in the Classroom Program offers a convenient, high-impact means to meet thoseobjectives.

Make a difference during the IYA 2009! Inspire a child to look up and ask why!

Contact Information:

Interstellar Studios
11 Ilahee Lane
Chico, CA 95973
Telephone - (530) 343-5635

www.AstronomerInTheClassroom.org
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14. ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT PROFESSORSHIP

Academics of all disciplines are eligible for an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, provided that they are established abroad and recognised internationally as top-class researchers. Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is offering ten researchers up to five million EUR each to create new or consolidate existing internationally visible research focus areas at German universities. Each Professorship will be sponsored for a period of five years on the premise that the university presents a convincing strategy to sustain the position once the funding period has come to an end.

Nominations can be submitted by German universities - where appropriate in cooperation with non-university research institutions.

The German Ministry of Education and Research is supporting this programme. Visit www.humboldt-foundation.de/ahp for more information. Next closing dates for applications: 25 September 2009 and 22 January 2010.
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15. GIOVANNI FAZIO SYMPOSIUM

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics will convene a two-day symposium celebrating Giovanni Fazio and his long and distinguished career of research, discovery, and teaching on the occasion of his 75th birthday, 27-28 May 2009, at the CfA in Cambridge, MA. Keynote speakers will look back at the remarkable progress made in infrared astronomy over Giovanni's career and ahead to future projects. Attendees may propose short oral or poster contributions about their recent discoveries or noteworthy memorabilia. The symposium will span the broad multi-wavelength, multi-platform blend of science and technology that has long been one of Giovanni's research hallmarks but which has only relatively recently become the norm among astronomers. Further details can be found at: www.cfa.harvard.edu/oir/fazio_symposium/
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16. COROT AND HIPPARCOS LIGHT CURVES AVAILABLE THROUGH THE NASA STAR
AND EXOPLANET DATABASE (NSTED)

The NASA Star and Exoplanet Database (NStED,
http://nsted.ipac.caltech.edu) announces the opening of the US portal to public data from the CoRoT (Convection, Rotation, and Transits) mission. NStED is a general purpose stellar and exoplanet archive developed to support the scientific communityís efforts in finding and characterizing planets beyond the solar system. The US portal to CoRoT data is made possible through an agreement between NASA and the French Space Agency, CNES. The current CoRoT release contains the first two CoRoT observing runs with 20,000 stars and 10,000 - 400,000 epochs per light curve. CoRoT is a CNES/ESA mission and, using the photometric transit method, is the first space mission with a science goal dedicated to the discovery of extra-solar planets. Subsequent releases will be made as the CoRoT mission makes available more data adding tens of thousands of new stars and additional epochs. Tools for the analysis and manipulation of light curves will also be added in coming releases. NStED also announces the availability of the photometric time series data from the Hipparcos mission. The data include light curves for approximately 120,000 nearby bright stars as measured by the space mission Hipparcos. The prime mission of Hipparcos, an ESA mission launched in 1989, was to measure the distances and proper motions of approximately 120,000 nearby stars. In the process of meeting that goal, the mission measured the photometric brightness of each of these stars approximately 100 times. These time series data are now available through the NStED interface. There are two principal components of NStED: a database of 140,000 nearby stars and exoplanet-hosting stars, and a database dedicated to high precision photometric surveys for transiting exoplanets. NStED currently serves the following kinds of data: coordinates, multiplicity (including presence of planets), proper motion, parallax, spectral type, multiband photometry, radial velocity, metallicity, and chromospheric and coronal activity index. Furthermore, the following derived quantities are given: distance, effective temperature, mass, radius, luminosity, space motions, and physical/angular dimensions of habitable zone, predicted radial velocity, astrometric, and transit depth signatures of Earth-sized and Jupiter-sized exoplanets. Published radial velocity data and precision photometric time series data are available for the exoplanet hosting stars. Queries to NStED can be made using constraints on any combination of the above parameters. All data within NStED are linked to the literature reference(s) from which they are obtained, enabling the user the to understand from where the data originate and make an independent assessment of their utility for a particular application. The NStED dedicated interface for transit survey data provides an interface to the CoRoT data and to ground-based transit survey data including the TrES observations of the Kepler field and KELT observations of the Praesepe field, as well as observations dedicated to time series coverage of four stellar clusters.

Parties interested in donating stellar and exoplanet data may do so by contacting the NStED science team via nsted at ipac.caltech.edu or by visiting the NStED Helpdesk page at the NStED Website.
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An American Astronomical Society (AAS) Electronic Announcement is mailed to all members around the 10th of each month. Included are important items that do not fit into the schedule of the AAS Newsletter. Because of volume, Meeting Announcements are generally not included.

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