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29 May 2013; updated 2 June 2013

Dr. Rick Fienberg
AAS Press Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x116; cell: +1 857-891-5649


New discoveries about celestial objects ranging from nearby stars to distant galaxies will be featured in five press conferences at the 222nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), 2-6 June 2013, at the Indiana Convention Center, 100 S. Capitol Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46225. More than 500 astronomers, educators, journalists, and guests are expected.

The AAS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and public-information officers (PIOs); see details below.

Gathering with the AAS is its new Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD), whose seven “Bridging Laboratory & Astrophysics” sessions span four days. There are also two multisession Meetings-in-a-Meeting: “WIYN Observatory: Building on the Past, Looking to the Future” and “Outer Limits of the Milky Way.” Other highlights include a baker’s dozen of plenary lectures by prize recipients and other distinguished astronomers, hundreds of oral and poster presentations, and several public-policy town halls, including opportunities to meet with representatives from NASA and the National Science Foundation.

In addition, for the first time ever, the AAS is opening its meeting to local amateur astronomers and other interested members of the public, who may attend on Monday or Tuesday, 3 or 4 June, for a special low rate. And there will be two free events for the public. First is a “star party” on Monday evening, 3 June, in which members of the AAS and the Indiana Astronomical Society will set up telescopes at Convention Center Plaza to view the planet Saturn, with its glorious rings and bright moon Titan. Second is a public lecture by “BBC Sky at Night” co-presenter Chris Lintott of Adler Planetarium and Oxford University, who will give a talk entitled “Discovering Planets From Your Sofa: Adventures in Citizen Science” on Tuesday evening, 4 June.

Our meeting hotel, the 4-star Westin Indianapolis, is connected to the convention center and the Circle Centre Mall by a covered sky bridge, providing easy access not only to all AAS and LAD sessions but also to more than 100 shopping, dining, and entertainment venues.

Complimentary Press Registration

The AAS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and PIOs, as described on our press-credentials page.

Advance press registration is now closed; please register on site, as described in the next section.

Onsite Registration & Badge Pickup

Upon arrival at the Indiana Convention Center, preregistered press should proceed to the AAS registration area. Go to one of the badge-printing kiosks and follow the instructions posted there. Badges may not be available before 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 2 June.

Reporters and public-information officers who need to register on site should go straight to the AAS registration desk and ask for a press-registration form. You'll be asked to take it to the AAS press office (see next section) to have the form authorized by one of the AAS press officers, after which you may return to the registration desk to print your badge.

Press Arrangements

The AAS will operate a press office in Room 108 on Level 1 of the Indiana Convention Center, with working space, telephone, photocopier, printer, power strips, and Internet connectivity for reporters. Each registered journalist and PIO will have a mailbox there to receive all press releases distributed as hard copies at the meeting (most releases will be distributed only electronically).

Press conferences will be held around the corner from the press office in Room 110, which will be equipped with a sound system, mult-box, and Internet connectivity. Briefing audio, slides, and video will be available live via webcast to accredited journalists unable to attend in person; online participants will be able to ask questions of the presenters via text chat with an onsite press officer. Details appear below.

Contact Information

AAS Press Officer Dr. Rick Fienberg
+1 857-891-5649 (cell);

AAS Deputy Press Officer Dr. Inge Heyer
+1 808-936-4136 (cell);

AAS Press Office:
Room 108, Level 1, Indiana Convention Center
Phone: +1 317-262-5910

Press Conference Schedule, Topics & Speakers

Briefings are scheduled for these dates and times:

All times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT = UTC – 4 hours). Briefings will be held in Room 110, Level 1, Indiana Convention Center. Briefings will be webcast to accredited journalists and PIOs; details appear below.

Following are the press-conference topics and speakers. In [square brackets] under each speaker's name are the session or paper numbers on which the presentations are based.

All findings are embargoed until the time of presentation at the meeting. "Time of presentation" means the start time of the oral or poster session in which the paper will be given, or the time of the corresponding press conference (if any), whichever comes first. See the complete AAS embargo policy for more information.

Note: All new discoveries are subject to confirmation by independent teams of scientists. Inclusion here does not imply endorsement by the American Astronomical Society. The AAS does not endorse individual scientific results.

Monday, 3 June 2013 — 10:15 a.m.
The Solar System & Its Neighbors

Imaging Main Belt Comets and Asteroids with the WIYN pODI Camera
Jayadev Rajagopal (National Optical Astronomy Observatory)

Upcoming Microlensing by Proxima Centauri:
A Rare Opportunity for Mass Determination and Planet Detection
Kailash Sahu (Space Telescope Science Institute)

White Light Flares and Spots on an L1 Dwarf
John Gizis (University of Delaware)

RECONS Answers Fundamental Questions in the Solar Neighborhood
Todd Henry (Georgia State University)

Monday, 3 June 2013 — 2:15 p.m.
The Milky Way & Its Neighbors

Earth's Milky Way Neighborhood Gets More Respect
Alberto Sanna (Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy)

Swift Ultraviolet Survey of the Magellanic Clouds
Stefan Immler (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Planetary Nebulae: Tracers of the Unusual History of the Andromeda Galaxy's Outer Disk
Bruce Balick (University of Washington)

Transformation of the Virgo Dwarf Irregular Galaxy IC 3418 by Ram Pressure Stripping
Jeffrey Kenney (Yale University)

Tuesday, 4 June 2013 — 10:15 a.m.
Stellar Explosions & Their Echoes

Three-Dimensional Simulations of Core-Collapse Supernovae
Sean Couch (University of Chicago)

The Detection of a Light Echo from Type Ia SN 2007af in NGC 5584
Dina Drozdov (Clemson University)

A Light Echo Candidate from Supernova 2009ig
Peter Garnavich (University of Notre Dame)

Hubble Space Telescope Observations of the Light Echo from the Recent Outburst of T Pyxidis
Stephen Lawrence (Hofstra University)

Tuesday, 4 June 2013 — 2:15 p.m.
Exoplanets & Their Host Stars

KELT-6b: A Transiting Mildly-Inflated Saturn with a Metal-Poor Host
Karen Collins (University of Louisville)

Sizing Up Stars & Planets with NASA's Kepler Mission
Steve Howell (NASA Ames Research Center)

Flying Toasters: Heating Exoplanets via the Stellar Wind
Derek Buzasi (Florida Gulf Coast University)

Wednesday, 5 June 2013 — 12:45 p.m.
Glimpsing Star Formation in Action

GLIMPSE360: Completing the Mid-Infrared View of the Galactic Disk
Robert Benjamin (University of Wisconsin, Whitewater)

Hierarchical Bubbles in the Milky Way Project:
Following Up on Citizen-Science Results
Charles Kerton (Iowa State University)

X-ray Measurements of Variable Accretion onto the Young Star TW Hydrae
Nancy Brickhouse (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)

A Wide-Field Census of Young Stars in NGC 6334
Sarah Willis (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA, Iowa State Univ.)

Remote Access to Press Conferences via Webcast 

Journalists unable to attend the meeting in person may tune in to our briefings streamed live on the Web. Since the webcast includes audio, video, and PowerPoint slides, you must have a broadband (high-speed) Internet connection to watch and listen. Also, your Web browser must have the free Adobe Flash plug-in.

The webcast also includes a chat window whereby remote participants may ask questions. We can't guarantee that all questions received from webcast viewers will be asked aloud — it depends on how much time we have and how many questions we're getting from onsite reporters.

AAS Press Conference webcasts:


  • Password: Contact AAS Press Officer Dr. Rick Fienberg for the password, which is for journalists only; the AAS pays by the "viewer hour," so we can't afford to open the live webcast to the public. After the meeting, archived webcasts will be freely available publicly via our online archive.
  • Once the webcast window opens, press the Play () button.
  • Press the Open Chat Window button. You'll be asked to enter your name; please use your real first and last names, not a cutesy Internet nickname.
  • You can resize the chat window and move it to any convenient position on your screen.
  • To ask a question, type it into the input box near the bottom of the chat window and click the Send button.

Prize Lectures & Invited Talks

Among the highlights of every AAS meeting are the plenary presentations (invited talks and prize lectures) by distinguished astronomers. They occur at 8:30 a.m., 11:40 a.m., 3:40 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday; 8:30 a.m., 11:40 a.m., and 3:40 p.m. on Wednesday; and 8:30 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. on Thursday. AAS press conferences do not conflict with any of the plenary presentations, which will be held in Wabash Ballroom 1 on Level 1 of the Indiana Convention Center; see the meeting program book or online meeting program (both accessible via for details.

Special Events

The following events may be of interest to press registrants.

Monday, 3 June (cloud/rain date: Tuesday, 4 June), 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. EDT
Star Party with Indiana Astronomical Society
Convention Center Plaza (South Capitol Ave. & West Maryland St.)

Weather permitting, members of the AAS and IAS will set up telescopes at Convention Center Plaza in downtown Indianapolis. The prime target will be the planet Saturn, with its glorious rings and bright moon Titan. Suitable for adults and kids of all ages, the event offers a unique opportunity to explore the universe with professional astronomers and to meet the leading amateur astronomers of the Indianapolis area. Weather and logistics updates will be posted at

Tuesday, 4 June, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT
Education and Public Outreach Student Event
Exhibit Hall D

Local middle-school students will be joining us for an afternoon of hands-on educational activities in the exhibit hall. The students will be welcomed by Gail Zasowski (Ohio State University), who’ll present a short talk on pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, and will then be led in groups to participating exhibitors to engage in hands-on activities.

The following special evening presentation is open to the public and may be of interest to press registrants:

Tuesday, 4 June, 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. EDT
“Discovering Planets From Your Sofa: Adventures in Citizen Science”
Wabash Ballroom 1

Overwhelmed by the flood of information we can now obtain about the cosmos, astronomers are turning to the public for help. A flood of hundreds of thousands of citizen scientists have classified galaxies, surveyed the Milky Way, discovered clusters of stars in the Andromeda Galaxy and even been the first to find planets around other stars. This talk, by Chris Lintott (University of Oxford & Adler Planetarium) will share these success stories, and look into the future to a time when humans will collaborate with astronomically-minded robots.

Town Hall Meetings

These interactive sessions provide opportunities for astronomers to discuss issues of public policy with representatives of funding agencies and national observatories, or to consider other issues of concern to the community. For a complete list of Town Halls, see the meeting program book or online meeting program (both accessible via

Monday, 3 June, 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. EDT
NSF Town Hall
Wabash Ballroom 3

Tuesday, 4 June, 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. EDT
NASA Town Hall
Wabash Ballroom 1

Wednesday, 5 June, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. EDT
AAS Member's Meeting
Wabash Ballroom 1

Press Tour, Sunday, 2 June 2013

One of the meeting's sponsors is Bowen Technovation, an Indianapolis-based company that designs, installs, and supports systems and software for unique audio and visual experiences. One of their flagship installations powers the SpaceQuest Planetarium at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Press registrants are invited to see Bowen’s state-of-the-art audio-visual system in action at the planetarium on Sunday afternoon, 2 June, from 2 to 3 p.m.

Press Dinner, Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Press registrants are also invited to a no-host press dinner at the Skyline Club, within walking distance of the convention center, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening, 4 June. In addition to excellent food, the restaurant features a panoramic view of Indianapolis from 36 floors up. The event will wind down in time for participants to attend Chris Lintott’s public talk.

AAS Opening & Closing Receptions

Sunday, 2 June, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. EDT
Opening Reception
Grand Ballroom 5 (Westin Indianapolis)

Wednesday, 5 June, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. EDT
Closing Reception
Exhibit Hall D (Indiana Convention Center)

AAS on Twitter

During the meeting, AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg will post announcements of interest to reporters on Twitter at @AAS_Press. Journalists (and scientists) tweeting from the meeting are encouraged to use the hashtag #aas222.

AAS Press-Release-Distribution Service

If you don't already receive astronomy-related press releases forwarded by e-mail from the AAS Press Office, you should sign up now to guarantee that you receive future meeting advisories as well as electronic copies of all press releases issued during the meeting. To sign up for the AAS press-release-distribution service, for which there is no charge, please send an e-mail to Rick Fienberg with your name, media affiliation, mailing address, and phone, fax, and mobile numbers. Only accredited journalists and public information officers are eligible to receive press releases forwarded by the AAS, as described on our press-credentials page.