Search form

2nd Media Advisory, 224th AAS Meeting, Boston, MA, 1-5 June 2014

22 May 2014

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

Science from the stratosphere to the edge of the visible universe will be showcased in five press conferences and a seminar for science writers at the 224th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), 1-5 June 2014, in Boston, Massachusetts. More than 1,000 astronomers, educators, journalists, and guests will convene at the Westin Copley Place in the city's historic Back Bay district to hear some 800 plenary, short-oral, and poster presentations on new developments in the astronomical sciences.

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, as described on described on our press-credentials page.

To request complimentary press registration, send an e-mail message to AAS Press Officer Dr. 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 Tuesday, 27 May 2014.

Onsite Registration & Badge Pickup

Upon arrival at the Westin Copley Place, 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 EDT on Sunday, 1 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 Office

The AAS will operate a press office in the Rockport Room on the ground floor of the Westin Copley Place, with working space, 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 (though most releases will be distributed only electronically). 

Press Conference Schedule, Topics, and Speakers

Press conferences will be held at 10:15 am and 2:15 pm EDT (UTC − 4 hours) on Monday and Tuesday, 2-3 June, and at 10:15 am on Wednesday, 4 June, next door to the press office in the Harbor & Ipswich Rooms, which will be equipped with a sound system, mult-box, and Internet connectivity. A seminar for science writers will be held in the same rooms at 2:15 pm on Wednesday, 4 June; there are no press conferences on Thursday, 5 June. 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.

Following is the press-conference program, which is subject to change. In [square brackets] under each speaker's name is the session or paper number(s) on which his or her presentation is based, if 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 start 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, 2 June, 10:15 am EDT
Solar Explosions in Fine Detail

Photospheric & Chromospheric Dynamics of Sunspots Observed with the New Solar Telescope
Alexander G. Kosovichev (Big Bear Solar Observatory)

New Views of Transient Small-Scale Magnetic Flux Emergence & Atmospheric Response
Santiago Vargas Dominguez (Big Bear Solar Observatory)

A Study of Two Successive Three-Ribbon Flares with the New Solar Telescope
Haimin Wang (New Jersey Institute of Technology)

A Revolution in High-Resolution Solar Astronomy
Thomas Berger (National Solar Observatory/AURA)

Monday, 2 June, 2:15 pm EDT
Exoplanets: From Exhilarating to Exasperating

Rates of Large Flares in Old Solar-like Stars in Kepler Clusters
Ofer Cohen (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

Kepler 56: Present & Future Configuration & Obliquity
Gongjie Li (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

Three Distinct Exoplanet Regimes Inferred from Host Star Metallicities
Lars A. Buchhave (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

HARPS-N Contributions to the Mass-Radius Diagram for Rocky Planets
Dimitar Sasselov (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

Tuesday, 3 June, 10:15 am EDT
What's Happening to the Sunspot Cycle?

The Divergence of Coronal Mass Ejection & Sunspot Number Rates During Solar Cycle 24
David F. Webb (Boston College)

Solar Coronal Temperature During the Rise of Cycle 24
Richard C. Altrock (Air Force Research Laboratory)

Subsurface Anomalies: North-South Asymmetry & Meridional Flow
Richard S. Bogart (Stanford University)
[218.05, 218.19, 218.23, 202.05]

The Current Solar Cycle in Context
Sarbani Basu (Yale University)

Tuesday, 3 June, 2:15 pm EDT
Galaxies Across the Spectrum

Chandra & VLA Observations of the Colliding Galaxy Cluster MACS J0717: A Giant Particle Accelerator
Reinout J. Van Weeren (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

Ultraviolet Imaging of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field with the Wide-Field Camera 3
Harry I. Teplitz (Infrared Processing & Analysis Center/Caltech)

The Black Hole X-ray Binary Population of the Whirlpool Galaxy as Seen by Chandra
Roy E. Kilgard (Wesleyan University)

The Cosmic Evolution of Fermi BL Lacertae Objects
Marco Ajello (Clemson University)

Wednesday, 4 June, 10:15 am EDT
An Astronomical Assortment

First Light with the Echelon-Cross-Echelle Spectrograph (EXES) on SOFIA
Curtis N. DeWitt (University of California, Davis)

A Type Ia Supernova with Circumstellar Interaction & Kepler’s Older Cousin?
Brian J. Williams (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Galaxies on FIRE: Stellar Feedback Explains Inefficient Star Formation
Philip F. Hopkins (University of California, Berkeley)

First Spectroscopic Confirmation of a Monster Galaxy at Redshift 3.3
Zehra Cemile Marsan (Tufts University)

Wednesday, 4 June, 2:15 pm EDT
Seminar for Science Writers: The Expanding Universe of Shrinking Satellites

As “shoebox satellites” move from rare to ubiquitous components of college science and engineering programs, tiny orbiters for instrument prototyping and science feed back into professional and amateur astronomy. This is the subject of special session 107, “Astronomy Research and Development Using Picosatellites,” held on Monday but conflicting with that morning’s press conference. In this seminar for science writers, several of the speakers from special session 107 will brief journalists on current and proposed university graduate and undergraduate research as well as private satellite experiments with an astronomy-related science or instrumentation goal. Topics include in situ measurements of Sun-Earth interactions, amateur-class space-based imaging, and the use of picosatellites for undergraduate research.


  • Alexander Antunes (Capitol College)
  • J. Garrett Jernigan (Little H-Bar Ranch)
  • Lynn Cominsky (Sonoma State University)

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: Contact AAS Press Officer Dr. 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.

Press Tour, Sunday, 1 June

At 3:00 pm on Sunday, 1 June, there will be a tour for press registrants to MIT’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) lab. Gravitational waves are produced by violent events in the universe, like sound from an explosion. Detectors for gravitational waves offer a way to “hear” these events and gain insight into the physics behind them. The US effort to detect gravitational waves, based at MIT and Caltech, is currently upgrading the Initial LIGO detectors to Advanced LIGO, with an order of magnitude improvement in astrophysical reach. The Advanced LIGO detectors will begin taking data in 2014 and should approach design sensitivity over the 5 years that follow. Direct detection of gravitational waves is expected during that 5-year period. Our visit to MIT-LIGO will be hosted by Dr. Matthew Evans, an assistant professor of physics at MIT.

Planetarium Visit & Press Dinner, Tuesday, 3 June

At 6:30 pm on Tuesday, 3 June, press registrants are invited to a preview of new programs and capabilities at the Boston Museum of Science’s Hayden Planetarium, which houses a 4K digital projection system installed by Sky-Skan, Inc. Dani Leblanc from the planetarium and Martin Ratcliffe from Sky-Skan will present a short demonstration including the following items:

  • A virtual visit to the clean room where the James Webb Space Telescope is being assembled.
  • A time-lapse sequence that immerses you among the telescopes on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
  • A recreation of the evolution of galaxies over cosmic time using actual survey data.
  • Solar Dynamics Observatory images and videos of the Sun larger than 50 feet across.

After the planetarium demo we’ll walk the short distance to Helmand Restaurant on First Street in Cambridge for a no-host press dinner featuring fine Afghan cuisine with lots of options for carnivores and non-carnivores alike.

AAS on Twitter

During the meeting, AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg will post announcements of interest to reporters on Twitter at General meeting announcements will be posted at Journalists (and scientists) tweeting from the meeting are encouraged to use the hashtag #aas224.

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.