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Second Media Advisory: 223rd AAS Meeting, 5-9 January 2014, Washington, DC

27 December 2013

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

Observations across the spectrum from radio waves to gamma rays, and objects across the universe from exoplanets to galaxies, will be showcased in eight press conferences at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), 5-9 January 2014, in Washington, DC. More than 3,000 astronomers, educators, journalists, and guests will gather at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, Maryland 20745, to hear more than 2,200 presentations on new discoveries and advances in astronomy.

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

Complimentary Press Registration

The AAS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and PIOs; see our eligibility criteria.

To request complimentary press registration, send an e-mail message to AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg with your name and media affiliation (or "freelance" if applicable). Upon confirming your eligibility, he'll send you the URL of an online registration form and the required press-registration code. Although press registration will be available on site at the meeting, we strongly advise you register in advance to avoid lines at the registration booth. The deadline for advance press registration is Monday, 30 December 2013.

Onsite Registration & Badge Pickup

Upon arrival at the Gaylord National Resort and 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 pm EST on Sunday, 5 January. 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 Office

The AAS will operate a press office in Chesapeake A/B/C in the 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 Conference Schedule, Topics & Speakers 

Press conferences will be held at 10:15 am and 2:15 pm EST (UTC - 5 hours) each day Monday, 6 January, through Thursday, 9 January, across the hall from the press office in Chesapeake D/E, 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, as described below.

In addition, there will be a media opportunity to meet briefly with NASA officials on Tuesday, 7 January, at 1:45 pm, and a seminar for science writers on near-Earth objects on Thursday, 9 January, at 12:45 pm. Additional details on these events appear below.

Following is the preliminary press-conference program. Some speakers remain unconfirmed, more may yet be invited, some presentations may move out of one briefing and into another, and some presentation titles may change. In [square brackets] under each speaker’s name is the session or paper number on which his or her presentation is 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 start time of the corresponding press conference (if any), whichever comes first. Read 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, 6 January, 10:15 am EST

A Millisecond Pulsar in a Stellar Triple System
Scott Ransom (National Radio Astronomy Observatory)

ALMA Resolves SN 1987A’s Dust Factory & Particle Accelerator
Remy Indebetouw (University of Virginia)

First Measurement of Gravitational Lensing in Gamma Rays
Chi (Teddy) Cheung (Naval Research Laboratory)

Monday, 6 January, 2:15 pm EST
From Exoplanets to Exo-Earths

Characterizing Earth-size Planets from Kepler Using Radial Velocities
Geoff Marcy (University of California, Berkeley)

Characterizing Exoplanets from Kepler Using Transit Timing Variations
Yoram Lithwick (Northwestern University)

A Cloudy Atmosphere on the Super-Earth Exoplanet GJ 1214b
Laura Kreidberg (University of Chicago)

Tuesday, 7 January, 10:15 am EST
Windows on Other Worlds

A Confirmed Directly Imaged Planet Orbiting a Nearby Young, Dusty Star
Thayne Currie (University of Toronto)

First Light from the Gemini Planet Imager
Bruce MacIntosh (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

Water Cycling Between Ocean & Mantle: Super-Earths Need Not Be Waterworlds
Nick Cowan (Northwestern University)

Tuesday, 7 January, 2:15 pm EST
Making Invisible Galaxies Visible

Discovery & Characterization of Surprisingly Luminous Galaxy Candidates at z ~ 9-10
Garth Illingworth (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Deep, Deeper, Deepest: The HST Frontier Fields
Jennifer Lotz (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Ultrafaint Ultraviolet Galaxies at the Epoch of Peak Star Formation 1 < z < 3
Anahita Alavi (University of California, Riverside)

You Can Touch This! Bringing Hubble Images to Life as 3D Models
Carol Christian (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Wednesday, 8 January, 10:15 am EST
Care & Feeding of Black Holes

Giant Black Holes Found in Dwarf Galaxies
Amy Reines (National Radio Astronomy Observatory)

Tidal Disruption Events from Archival X-ray Observations of Dwarf Galaxies
Peter Maksym (University of Alabama)

The Swift/X-Ray Telescope Monitoring Campaign of the Galactic Center
Nathalie Degenaar (University of Michigan)

Wednesday, 8 January, 2:15 pm EST
Celestial Soundings from Sloan

From Childhood to Middle Age:
Charting the Expansion of the Universe with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III
Michael Wood-Vasey (University of Pittsburgh)

Measuring the Cosmic Distance Scale to 1% with Baryon Acoustic Oscillations
Daniel Eisenstein (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

High-Precision Measurements Along and Across the Line of Sight at Redshift z = 2.4
David Schlegel (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Baryon Acoustic Oscillations of Gas Clouds & Quasars in the Early Universe
Shirley Ho (Carnegie Mellon University)

Thursday, 9 January, 10:15 am EST
Stars by the Bunch

Hypervelocity Star Candidates in SEGUE
Lauren Palladino (Vanderbilt University)

The Discovery of an Extreme Molecular Super Star Cluster Precursor with ALMA
Kelsey Johnson (University of Virginia)

The Hubble Tarantula Treasury Project
Elena Sabbi (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Early Results from Star Date: M83 — A Citizen Science Project to Age Date Star Clusters
Jeremy Heartley (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Thursday, 9 January, 2:15 pm EST
Galaxies in the Extreme

Spatially Resolved Emission of a High Redshift Galaxy with Keck/OSIRIS
Regina Jorgenson (Institute for Astronomy)

Galaxies as Clocks: the Radius-Velocity Relationship of HI-Rich Galaxies
Gerhardt Meurer (International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research)

New Insights from NuSTAR, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array
Daniel Stern (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Media Opportunity with NASA Officials

Immediately following the NASA Town Hall, which runs from 12:45 to 1:45 pm on Tuesday, 7 January in Potomac Ballroom A, press registrants are invited back to the briefing room, Chesapeake D/E, for an exclusive opportunity to meet with John Grunsfeld, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), and Paul Hertz, Director of SMD’s Astrophysics Division. Thanks to J.D. Harrington, NASA Headquarters public affairs officer, for arranging this event, which will NOT be webcast.

Seminar for Science Writers

During the lunch break on Thursday, 9 January, from 12:45 to 1:45 pm in the briefing room (Chesapeake D/E), we’re offering a seminar for science writers entitled “Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Ask About Near-Earth Objects: What We Know, What We Don’t Know, What We Need to Know.” This is an opportunity for both attending journalists and those covering the meeting remotely via webcast to come up to speed on we’ve learned from recent events such as the Chelyabinsk meteor, the latest government and private plans for planetary defense, and worldwide efforts at ground- and space-based finding, tracking, and characterizing of near-Earth objects.


  • Lindley Johnson (NASA Headquarters)
  • Tim Spahr (Minor Planet Center)
  • Eileen Ryan (New Mexico Tech/Magdalena Ridge Observatory)
  • Amy Mainzer (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Thanks to Linda Billings, director of science communication at the National Institute of Aerospace, for her help in organizing this seminar.

Remote Access to Press Conferences via Webcast

Journalists unable to attend the meeting in person may tune in to our briefings and the seminar for science writers 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: Email AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg for the password, which is for journalists only. 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.

Microsoft Research's WorldWide Telescope

At the AAS meeting Microsoft Research will reveal and demo WorldWide Telescope (WWT) 5.0, the newest version of a rich visualization environment that functions as a virtual telescope and observatory on your desktop, bringing together imagery from the best ground- and space-based telescopes to enable seamless, guided explorations of the universe. New features include more in-depth cinematic renderings and detailed 3D models of planets and atmospheres, full-dome authoring for planetariums of any size, and tons of new overlays and layers for navigating the night sky and teaching astronomical concepts.

Microsoft Research invites press registrants to come by booth 112 in the Exhibit Hall between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday through Thursday to learn more about WWT, and/or to visit the following sessions where several Microsoft researchers and academic partners will talk about how visualization technologies, like WWT, can improve the future of astronomy research and education:

Monday, 6 January, 11:40 am - 12:30 pm, Potomac Ballroom A
Linking Visualization & Understanding in Astronomy (Plenary)
Alyssa A. Goodman (Harvard University)

Wednesday, 8 January, 10:50 - 11:00 am, National Harbor 5
Using WorldWide Telescope in Observing, Research & Presentation
Douglas A. Roberts (Northwestern University) & Jonathan Fay (Microsoft Research)

Thursday, 9 January, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm, Chesapeake 7
WorldWide Telescope & Northrop Grumman-Sponsored “Hackathon”
Kelle Cruz (Hunter/CUNY & AMNH), Megan Schwamb (Academia Sinica) & David Hogg (NYU)

For more information about WWT, check out To set up interviews or one-on-one demos with Microsoft researchers, please contact Microsoft Research’s onsite contact Tom Parnell by email or by phone at 413-262-2404.

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 #aas223.

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.