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Just past the equinox, AAS President David Helfand reflects on some of the things that make this season special and on some of the special challenges we face this season.

The science instrument payload of the James Webb Space Telescope has begun the first of three space-simulation tests in a giant thermal vacuum chamber at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

For the first time ever, the Society is offering a two-year membership-renewal option, locking in the 2014 rate for 2015 as well! Also, you'll receive a 15% discount off your share of the author charges for one paper in any of the AAS journals! Both offers are good through 31 December 2013.

If you have a degree in physics at any level and enjoy sharing your story with students, consider participating in Adopt-a-Physicist, a free program for high-school physics classes hosted by the physics honor society Sigma Pi Sigma. Deadline: 4 October.

The 223rd AAS meeting in January 2014 will be our first in a new venue, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor. Highlights include HEAD and HAD special sessions, a record number of Town Hall meetings, and a stellar lineup of plenary speakers.

Jim Ulvestad, director of the National Science Foundation's Division of Astronomical Sciences, reviews the AAG program's FY 2013 results and looks ahead to what we can expect in FY 2014. The FY 2014 deadline for receipt of AAG proposals is 15 November 2013.

The Society’s annual report for calendar year 2012 is now available for downloading as a PDF file. It includes a financial report and summarizes our membership, meetings, and other activities.

In this installment from the AAS Career Profiles series, cosponsored by the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy and the Committee on Employment, Dr. Joseph Pesce describes leaving his university position to start his own consulting business.

Exoplanet expert and AAS member Sara Seager (MIT) is one of 24 recipients of the 2013 MacArthur Fellowships, which carry a five-year, $625,000 prize with no strings attached. Congratulations, Sara!

AAS members will elect new officers and councilors in early 2014. The final slate of candidates is now set; candidate bios and statements will be coming soon.