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

Text & Links:


* Meeting Links
* Press Registration & Badge Pick-Up
* Press Arrangements & Contact Info
* Press Conference Schedule & Topics
* Remote Access to Press Conferences
* Prize Lectures & Invited Talks
* Press Dinner & Press Reception
* Press Tour
* Town Hall Meetings
* AAS Opening & Closing Receptions
* AAS on Twitter

Exoplanets, X-ray astronomy, and extragalactic outbursts will be among the exciting topics featured in 10 press conferences at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, California, 6-11 January 2013. Twitter hashtag: #aas221.

Meeting with the Society are its Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) and High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD). More than 2,800 astronomers, educators, students, and journalists are registered to attend, and more than 1,900 prize and invited talks, oral presentations, and posters will be presented. No wonder the winter AAS meeting has come to be known as the Super Bowl of Astronomy!

Regular AAS science sessions run Monday-Thursday, January 7-10. AAS-organized press conferences will be held each of those days, and a press tour is scheduled for Friday morning, January 11th (see details below).

The AAS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and public-information officers; see details below. More information about the meeting is available via the following links:

Main meeting website:

AAS 221 press information:

Meeting program, abstracts, and block schedule (PDFs):

General information about travel and accommodations:


The AAS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and public-information officers, as described on this Web page:

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


Upon arrival at the Long Beach Convention Center, preregistered press should proceed to the AAS registration area in the lobby. Go to one of the badge-printing kiosks and follow the instructions posted there. Badges may not be available before 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 6th.

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.


The AAS will operate a press office in Room 203B on Level 2 of the Long Beach Convention Center with working space, telephone (+1 562-499-7730), 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 next door in Room 204 of the Long Beach Convention Center, 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 on-site press officer (see details below).

The AAS will also provide quiet space for one-on-one interviews in Harbor Suite 336 at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach, around the corner from the Convention Center. Preference will be given to broadcast media and to journalists recording/editing podcasts. Note: This room is not equipped with a landline telephone.


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

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

AAS Deputy Press Officer Dr. Larry Marschall
+1 717-398-9513 (cell);

AAS Press Office:
Room 203B, Level 2, Long Beach Convention Center
Phone: +1 562-499-7730


Briefings are scheduled for these dates and times:
* Mon., January 7: 10:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
* Tues., January 8: 10:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
* Wed., January 9: 10:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
* Thur., January 10: 12:45 p.m.

All times are Pacific Standard Time (PST = UTC - 8 hours). Briefings will be held in Room 204, Level 2, Long Beach Convention Center.

Following are the press-conference topics and speakers; some details remain subject to change. In [square brackets] under each speaker’s name are the session or paper numbers on which the presentations are based, where applicable.

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. The complete AAS embargo policy is online here:

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, January 7, 2013 -- 10:30 a.m. PST

Planet Candidates Observed by Kepler: Two Years of Precision Photometry
Christopher Burke (SETI Institute)

At Least One in Six Stars Has an Earth-size Planet
Francois Fressin (CfA)

A Newly Resolved Disk in a Search for Exoplanets Around High-Mass Stars
Joe Carson (College of Charleston)
[324.06, 149.24]

Planetary System Disruption by Galactic Perturbations to Wide Binary Stars
Nathan Kaib (Queens University, Canada)

John Johnson (Caltech)
[408.04, 236.01]

Monday, January 7, 2013 -- 12:45 p.m. PST

Hubble’s First View of the Universe to Redshifts 12
Richard Ellis (Caltech)

The Properties of Galaxies in the First Billion Years
Alexander Rogers (University of Edinburgh)

The Galaxy Luminosity Function at Very High Redshifts
Matthew Schenker (Caltech)

Did Galaxies Reionize the Universe?
Brant Robertson (University of Arizona)

Monday, January 7, 2013 -- 2:30 p.m. PST

First Results from The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) Mission
Fiona Harrison (Caltech)

The Rotating Spiral Structure of the Vela Pulsar Jet
Oleg Kargaltsev (George Washington University)

The Gamma-Ray Activity of a High-Redshift Quasar
Alan Marscher (Boston University)

Stephen S. Murray (Johns Hopkins University)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 -- 10:30 a.m. PST

A Planetary System in the Hyades, the Nearest Rich Star Cluster
Ben Zuckerman (Univ. of California, Los Angeles)

Exo-Asteroids and Polluted White Dwarfs
John Debes (Space Telescope Science Institute)
[220.01, 308.03]

Three Transits of Venus: From Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn
Jay M. Pasachoff (Williams College)

Pulsar Planets: Observations and Understanding
Aleksander Wolszczan

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 -- 12:45 p.m. PST

The Bones of the Milky Way
Alyssa Goodman (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

Structure of Galactic Center Clouds at High Resolution
Jens Kauffmann (Caltech)

A Population of Dark Clouds Detected in Radio Images
Farhad Yusef-Zadeh (Northwestern University)

SOFIA/FORCAST Observations of the Quintuplet Cluster
Matthew Hankins (University of Central Arkansas)

SOFIA/FORCAST Imaging of the Circumnuclear Disk at the Galactic Center
Ryan Lau (Cornell University)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 -- 2:30 p.m. PST

HST and Spitzer Mapping of Brown Dwarf Atmospheres
Daniel Apai (University of Arizona)

Exo-Comet Detection in Debris Disks Around Young Stars
Barry Welsh (Univ. of California, Berkeley)

New Hubble Coronagraphic Images of Fomalhaut b and the Dust Belt
Paul Kalas (Univ. of California, Berkeley)

Orbital Constraints for Fomalhaut b from Hubble Astrometry
James R. Graham (University of California, Berkeley)

Asteroid Belts in Debris Disk Twins: Vega and Fomalhaut
Kate Su (University of Arizona)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 -- 10:30 a.m. PST

Precision Measurement of the Most Distant Spectroscopically Confirmed Type Ia Supernova
David Rubin (University of California, Berkeley)

The Unprecedented Third Outburst of SN 2009ip: A Luminous Blue Variable Becomes a Supernova
Jon Mauerhan (University of Arizona)

The Dark Energy Survey
Joshua Frieman (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory)

Saul Perlmutter (Univ. of California, Berkeley)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 -- 12:45 p.m. PST

Limits on Cosmological Dispersion from Photon Bunches in a Gamma-Ray Burst
Robert Nemiroff (Michigan Technical University)

Proton-to-Electron Mass Ratio Constraints on Cosmology and New Physics
Rodger Thompson (University of Arizona)

Fine-Structure Constancy Measurements in Quasar Absorption Lines
Jonathan Whitmore (Swinburne University of Technology)

A Precise Measurement of the Primordial Abundance of Deuterium
Ryan Cooke (Univ. of California, Santa Cruz)

Do Galactic Center Gamma Rays Come from Dark Matter?
Douglas Finkbeiner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 -- 2:30 p.m. PST

Probing Metallicity Across the Galactic Disk with the Green Bank Telescope
Dana Balser (National Radio Astronomy Observatory)

The Arecibo & Green Bank Telescope H II Region Discovery Surveys
Thomas Bania (Boston University)
[413.02, 413.04]

A WISE Extension of the Green Bank Telescope H II Region Discovery Survey
Loren Anderson (West Virginia University)

First On-Sky Results with GeMS, the Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System
Peter Pessev (Gemini Observatory)
[439.06, 305.06]

The Cold Veil of the Milky Way Stellar Halo
Alis Deason (Univ. of California, Santa Cruz)

Thursday, January 10, 2013 -- 12:45 p.m. PST

Discovery of a Bimodal Metallicity Distribution for the Circumgalactic Medium
Nicolas Lehner (University of Notre Dame)

A Radio Outburst in the Nearby Galaxy NGC 660
Robert Minchin (National Astronomy & Ionospheric Center)

WISE Discovers Hyperluminous Hot DOGs
Peter Eisenhardt (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

When the Ultraviolet Unveils the Largest Spiral
Rafael Eufrasio (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center & Catholic University of America)


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 on-site reporters.

AAS Press Conference webcasts:
* Make sure your pop-up blocker is disabled or that it allows pop-ups from

* 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.


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. each day Monday through Thursday and do not conflict with AAS press conferences. All plenary talks will be held in the Grand Ballroom on Level 2 of the Long Beach Convention Center; see the meeting program book or online meeting program (both accessible via for details.

The following event may be of interest to press registrants.

Tuesday, January 8
11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Student Outreach Event
Room 101, Long Beach Convention Center

Some 275 local students, teachers, and chaperones will hear a welcome address by Bobak Ferdowsi, NASA flight director for the Mars Curiosity mission and known worldwide as “Mohawk Guy.” Then they’ll go to the AAS Exhibit Hall for a series of hands-on activities with scientists and educators. The event will conclude by around 2:00 p.m.

The following special evening presentation is open to the public and may be of interest to press registrants (which is why we may hold the press dinner on Tuesday rather than Wednesday as originally planned).

Wednesday, January 9
8:00 to 9:00 p.m. PST
Space Science and Public Policy
Room 103B, Level 1, Long Beach Convention Center

Hear from members of Congress on their perspective of space-science policy and the upcoming NASA Authorization Bill. Dr. John Logsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University and a current member of the NASA Advisory Council, will provide a historical perspective. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) serves on the House Committee on Appropriations and its subcommittee on Commerce, Justice & Science, which has jurisdiction over the budgets of both NASA and NSF. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) serves on the House Committee on Science, Space & Technology, which has jurisdiction over research and development at NASA and NSF and produces legislation relating to the authorization of each.


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. Most of the Town Halls occur at 12:45 p.m. PST, conflicting with midday press conferences, but several occur at 6:30 p.m. All are held in Rooms 104A, B, or C on Level 1 of the Long Beach Convention Center. For a complete list of Town Halls, see the meeting program book or online meeting program (both accessible via


On Tuesday or Wednesday evening, journalists and PIOs will be invited to cruise on over to the Queen Mary for an offshore edition of the (in)famous AAS press dinner. At least, that’s the plan. Details are still being worked out and will be announced in the press room at the meeting.


The American Institute of Physics (AIP) invites all press registrants to a reception on Wednesday, January 9, at 5:30 p.m. in the press area on Level 2 of the Long Beach Convention Center, to honor Richard Panek, winner of the 2012 AIP Science Communication Award in the Science Writing category for his book “The 4% Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality.” The selection committee praised the book for its excellent writing and accurate depictions of the process of scientific investigation. Come meet Richard and enjoy some light refreshments.


You are encouraged to extend your stay in Southern California to join our press tour on Friday morning, January 11, from 9 a.m. to noon PST. Northrop Grumman Corporation is inviting press registrants to make the 20-mile drive from Long Beach to its Space Park facilities in Redondo Beach, adjacent to LAX. Named a Historic Aerospace Site by the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics in 2011, Space Park is where more than 100 of the world’s most technically challenging satellites, rocket engines, astronomical observatories, and high-power lasers have been and are currently being built, including NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to Hubble.

The site visit will begin with a legacy tour of models of historic spacecraft, including Pioneer 1; the Apollo Lunar Module; NASA’s Earth observing satellite, Aura; and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

Following the heritage tour, focus will shift to current breakthrough programs in space, specifically Northrop Grumman’s work on building the Webb Telescope. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Vice President and Webb Telescope Program Manager Scott Willoughby will brief media on progress toward completing NASA’s next great observatory. Then Willoughby -- accompanied by NASA Headquarters JWST Program Director Geoff Yoder; Dr. Heidi B. Hammel, executive vice president of AURA; and Northrop Grumman Business Development Manager Blake Bullock -- will take media inside the clean room where Webb Telescope flight-like hardware is currently being tested. Media will have a chance to see the company’s sunshield and optical telescope simulator, a one-third scale test article, and a spacecraft bus mock-up.

Information on transportation between Long Beach and Space Park will be provided at the meeting. Participants will need to sign up in the press room by Wednesday, January 9th, via the sign-up sheet that will posted there. You’ll need to provide your name, affiliation, date of birth, and citizenship, and you’ll need to bring a government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license or passport) with you on the tour. Questions? Contact Christina Thompson, Northrup Grumman Aerospace Systems (, or AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg (


Sunday, January 6
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Opening Reception
The Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way (near the Convention Center)

Thursday, January 10
5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
Closing Reception
Promenade 104, Level 1, Long Beach Convention Center


During the meeting, AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg will post announcements of interest to reporters on Twitter at Journalists (and scientists) tweeting from the meeting are encouraged to use the hashtag #aas221.


If you do not wish to receive press releases or other announcements that are forwarded to the news media by the American Astronomical Society, please unsubscribe by replying accordingly to any incoming email, or send email to Requests for referrals to experts on astronomy and space science should be sent to the same address. Rick Fienberg, AAS Press Officer, +1 202-328-2010 x116, @AAS_Press (Twitter).