The object of the American Astronomical Society Division on Dynamical Astronomy is the advancement of all aspects of dynamical astronomy, including celestial mechanics, solar system dynamics, stellar dynamics, the dynamics of the interstellar medium and galactic dynamics, and coordination of such research with other branches of science.
In 1968, a group of members of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) developed a sub-organization within the AAS devoted to solar system research. The first organizing committee members were: E. Anders, L. Branscomb, J. W. Chamberlain, R. Goody, J. S. Hall, A. Kliore, M. B. McElroy, T. Owen, G. H. Pettengill, C. Sagan, and H. J. Smith.
Today, the DPS is the largest special interest Division of the AAS. Members of the DPS study the bodies of our own solar system from planets and moons to comets and asteroids and all other solar system objects and processes. With the discovery that planets exist around other stars, the DPS expanded its scope to include the study of extrasolar planetary systems as well.
The High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) assists and promotes the advancement of research and the dissemination of knowledge about high energy particles and photons, relativistic gravitational fields, and related phenomena in the astrophysical universe. HEAD also promotes the coordination of this research and knowledge with other branches of science. The division holds Division Meetings each 12-24 months, as well as sessions within the meetings of the American Astronomical Society. Each year, HEAD awards the Rossi Prize for recent original research in High Energy Astrophysics. Approximately every 18 months, HEAD also sponsors the Schramm Award for High Energy Astrophysics Science Journalism which is awarded at the HEAD Division Meetings. The electronic HEAD Newsletter is published twice yearly. HEAD membership information is managed within the AAS database at AAS Member Directory.
The Division shall exist for the purpose of advancing interest in topics relating to the historical nature of astronomy. By historical astronomy we include the history of astronomy; what has come to be known as archaeoastronomy; and the application of historical records to modern astrophysical problems. Meetings shall be organized to promote adequate discussion among participants and shall attempt to provide a forum for discussion of recent developments in these areas. The Division will assist the Society in the commemoration of important historical anniversaries and in the archival preservation of current materials of importance to future historians of astronomy.
The purpose of the Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD) is to advance our understanding of the Universe through the promotion of fundamental theoretical and experimental research into the underlying processes that drive the Cosmos.
The purpose of the Solar Physics Division (SPD) is the advancement of the study of the Sun and the coordination of such research with other branches of science. As of May 2005, there are 566 members of the SPD from all around the world. The SPD holds annual scientific meetings, awards several different prizes, and supports students in various ways.
The beginnings of what was to become the SPD came from an initiative in the mid-1960s to organize a series of special AAS meetings devoted to solar physics. Henry J. Smith of NASA and Leo Goldberg of Harvard College Observatory initially proposed these meetings in 1965, and they approached John Firor of HAO to become the first chair of an Organizing Committee. By 1968, there was growing momentum within the AAS for the establishment of special divisions for subdisciplines of astronomy, and the membership adopted the idea formally at the Victoria meeting of the AAS in August 1968. In 1969 the SPD Organizing Committee drafted the first by-laws, which were approved by the 61 founding members of the Division by mail in July of that year. The first annual meeting of the now fully formed SPD Division was held in Huntsville, Alabama in November 1970.