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AAS Electronic Announcement #216 – January 2011

Date Emailed: 10 January 2011

CONTENTS:

1. 2011 MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY
2. AAS ELECTION ELECTRONIC VOTING/PAPER BALLOTS
3. AAS PUBLIC POLICY BLOG
4. BOSTON PRELIMINARY MEETING INFORMATION ONLINE
5. ASTRO2010 TOWN HALL MEETING, UC BERKELEY, 29 NOVEMBER 2010
6. PLANCK FIRST DATA RELEASE
7. KOA SURVEY
8. HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE
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1. 2011 MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY

The Membership Directory will be published in April 2011. Please make sure your contact information is accurate and your dues are paid in full for 2011 by logging into your AAS member account at http://members.aas.org/
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2. AAS ELECTION ELECTRONIC VOTING/PAPER BALLOTS

Due: 31 January 2011

Please be reminded that electronic voting will close at midnight EST on 31 January 2011. Paper ballots are due to Fritz Benedict, AAS Secretary, by 31 January 2011.
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3. AAS PUBLIC POLICY BLOG

blog.aas.org

Keep up-to-date on astronomy and astrophysics in public policy by reading the AAS Public Policy Blog. Articles focus on astronomy and astrophysics in the federal budget, policies that affect scientific research, and political issues in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics.
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4. BOSTON PRELIMINARY MEETING INFORMATION ONLINE

218th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society
22-26 May 2011, Boston, MA

The preliminary Miami meeting information is available online: aas.org/meetings/aas218

Important Dates
Hotel Reservations Open: 31 January 2011
Hotel Reservations Deadline: 22 April 2011
Early Registration: 18 January- 10 February 2011
Regular Registration: 11 February - 14 April 2011
Late Registration: 15 April - 12 May 2011
Onsite Registration: 22 May 2010 - 26 May 2011
Abstract Submission Deadline: 9:00 pm ET, Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Late Abstract Submission Deadline: 9:00 pm ET, Friday, 22 April 2011
Childcare Grants Deadline: 21 April 2011
Splinter Meeting Request Deadline: 1 May 2011
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5. ASTRO2010 TOWN HALL MEETING, UC BERKELEY, 29 NOVEMBER 2010

The UCB Town Hall meeting on 29 November 2010 had about 80-90 participants, mostly from the Berkeley area. The meeting was slightly different from other Town hall meetings in that we also had presentations about future efforts in the Bay Area.

List of speakers:
- Roger Blandford, Stanford University: General Review
- Claire Max, UCSC: Optical and Infrared Astronomy from the Ground
- Mike Bolte, UCSC: TMT
- Josh Bloom with Tony Tyson, UC Davis: LSST
- Saul Perlmutter, LBNL: WFIRST
- Geoff Bower, UC Berkeley: Radio Landscape (includes FASR, ATA, SKA, CCAT)
- Stuart Bale, UC Berkeley, SSL: ATST
- Josh Bloom, UC Berkeley: SASIR
- David Schlegel, LBNL: BIG BOSS

Some of the talks and an extended summary of the meeting can be found on: http://cips.berkeley.edu/events/townhall/index.html

Some specific questions/concerns (Q--question; A--answer) that were raised include (a full list is included on the website):

Q: Many projects are started without being fully funded, which puts pressure on other projects when they're over budget. Why doesn't Astro2010 recommend not beginning these projects unless they have the money?
A: Astro2010 was constrained by its charge. The 10:1 down-select for federal funding requires non-federal funding for most projects. NSF is not allowed to leverage federal dollars, because they're worried about being stuck paying for projects. The TSIP program works, albeit because it's only a relatively small amount of money involved, and it offers significant monetary savings. Observatories should try not to build duplicate instruments that are in use at other observatories.

Q: What are the shepherding plans for the Astro2010 recommendations?
A: Well we have been carrying the message to the agencies, a large number of advisory bodies and representatives of Congress and the White House. The more astronomers who carry the messages of the full program of Astro2010, the better. Advocating or earmarking particular projects does not help.

LISA:
Q: ESA has done much technological development for LISA and proposes to launch it by the end of the decade. Doesn't that seem unlikely from the US end?
A: LISA is under a down-select process at ESA next May for one of 3 slots (competing with Laplace and IXO) The recommendation for US participation was predicated on ESA selection and a successful pathfinder mission. Discussion of schedule would then happen between the agencies.

JWST:
Q: How does the recently announced JWST cost overrun affect this report?
A: JWST was the top recommendation from last decadal report. While the technological development is excellent, the cost overrun seems to be due to inadequate budgeting and management. JWST is currently slated to cost $6.5B +/- $0.3B assuming it receives an additional $0.25B in 2011, 2012. The cost overrun will likely have a serious impact on Astro2010, and the first recommended project to feel the effect is WFIRST. An NRC report, requested by OSTP, on this is expected around Dec. 6. The US could propose a large role in Euclid or WFIRST could complement it. The latter choice will likely lead to delay which would be particularly important for the exoplanet planet program. Ground-based recommendations should not be affected and LSST is being developed for a 2014 start.

WFIRST
Q: WFIRST seems to be a shotgun marriage between planet and extragalactic work. For example, short integrations are needed for exoplanets but long integrations for extragalactic work. Why join them?
A: The most important point is that the instrumentation is very similar. The observing cadence and telemetry needs are believed to be reconcilable. WFIRST got its top large space ranking because of its versatility. However, JWST cost overruns may make it launch too late to take advantage of next decade's exoplanets recommendations.
A: The US could propose a larger role in Euclid or could complement Euclid with a scaled-down version.
A: The DOE will pull out if WFIRST is called up and has a next-decade launch: want to keep their involvement for funding and technical expertise


Q: Is NASA on board with WFIRST?
A: JWST's budget overran, and the OSDP requires a panel to see what happens to WFIRST (including a possible merger with Euclid). This panel will provide their findings Dec. 6. The Europeans are committed to Euclid even if the US doesn't join. However, US involvement gives the most probability for WFIRST science this decade.

LSST, GSMT
Q: While LSST technology appears to be mature, it also appears to be true for TMT. In addition, TMT was the top recommendation from last decadal report. Why was LSST ranked higher? Why didn't Astro2010 choose one of the GSMTs (TMT or GMT)?
A: Astro2010 didn't have the information available to choose one GSMT over the other, and they would've gone beyond their charge in making such a recommendation. NSF will choose. Implicit in the higher ranking of LSST was that LSST would start construction before GSMT, and this was due to GSMT budget overruns that were seen by the independent budget assessment. However, both the optical/IR panel and Astro2010 want to recognize the extraordinary technological achievements from the GSMT projects.
 

Q: If you were able to merge JDEM into WFIRST, why not merge TMT and GMT?
A: WFIRST has 3 science goals that are amenable to a single instrument architecture. TMT and GMT are completely different structures.
 

Q: If LSST continues its funding course, won't it be competing for funding with the DUSEL? (underground laboratory in South Dakota to receive neutrinos from Fermilab.)
A: Obviously recommended programs still have to compete for funding and pass reviews.
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6. PLANCK FIRST DATA RELEASE

The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Planck Collaboration are pleased to announce that the first Planck data release will take place on 11 Jan 2011. Planck is a third generation space based cosmic microwave background experiment, operating at nine frequencies between 30 and 857 GHz. It is an ESA project with instruments provided by two scientific consortia funded by ESA member states (in particular the lead countries: France and Italy) with contributions from NASA (USA), and telescope reflectors provided in a collaboration between ESA and a scientific consortium led and funded by Denmark.

The data release consists of the Early Release Compact Source Catalogue (ERCSC), which includes lists of sources detected in each of the Planck bands, as well as the Early Cold Cores (ECC) and the Early Sunyaev-Zeldovich (ESZ) galaxy cluster catalogues. The ERCSC covers the whole sky and contains only sources detected with high (>90%) reliability: of order 15000 unique sources spread over the Planck bands, 189 candidate clusters detected through the Sunyaev Zeldovich effect, and 915 cold molecular cloud cores in the Galaxy.

The data release will take place through the ESA Planck Legacy Archive (accessible via http://www.rssd.esa.int/Planck) at the European Space Astronomy Centre in Villafranca, Spain, and through NASA's Infrared Science Archive at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech in Pasadena, CA (http://irsa.ipac.caltech.edu/Missions/planck.html).

A first set of scientific results based on the data are being published through the Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A) journal and will appear on the arXiv preprint server on the same day.
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7. KOA SURVEY

Did you know that the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA) currently serves data from the High Resolution Echelle Spectrograph (HIRES) and Near-IR Spectrometer (NIRSPEC) instruments of the W.M. Keck Observatory (WMKO)? We'd like to receive your feedback about KOA and what we can do to make KOA even more useful to the community.

We therefore request both KOA users and those who are just hearing about KOA for the first time complete our user survey. For non-users, this should take very little of your time and for experienced users and Keck PIs it will still take only a few minutes. Feel free to fill out as much or as little of the form as you find relevant. The survey can be found online at: https://koa.ipac.caltech.edu/UserSurvey/

The survey will close 21 January 2011.
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8. HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE

Cycle 19 Call for Proposals

Release Date: 6 December 2010 Proposal Deadline: 25 February 2011

NASA and The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) are pleased to announce the Cycle 19 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 25 February 2011 8:00pm EST. The Astronomer's Proposal Tools (APT), which is required for Phase I Proposal Submission will be made available/released for Cycle 19 Phase I use during the 2nd week of January 2011. Results of the selection will be announced in early June 2011.

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/cycle19announce

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