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1st Media Advisory, 228th AAS Meeting, San Diego, CA, 12-16 June 2016

17 March 2016

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

Grab your swimsuit and head to sunny San Diego, California, for the 228th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, 12-16 June 2016, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront on the water’s edge at 1 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101. With its lovely weather, sandy beaches, and major attractions, San Diego is one of the world’s best tourist destinations. Hundreds of astrophysicists and planetary scientists will present their latest research results during the week. By mid-June thousands of blue whales begin feeding off the Southern California coast, offering a terrific opportunity to see the largest creatures on the planet. Social-media hashtag: #aas228.

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

The 228th AAS meeting kicks off with the Kavli Foundation Lecture by Gabriela Gonzalez (Louisiana State University) on the detection of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Nine more distinguished astronomers will present prize or invited talks, including Dan Irwin (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center) on using space research to serve the world, Maura McLaughlin (West Virginia University) on fast radio bursts, Kevin Schawinski (ETH Zurich) on citizen science with Zooniverse, Jo Bovy (University of Toronto) on the large-scale structure of our galaxy as seen by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s APOGEE project, and Linda Spilker (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) on Saturn’s ocean moon Enceladus. Shannon Curry (University of California, Berkeley) will describe MAVEN observations of the escaping Martian atmosphere, 2015 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize winner Heather Knutson (Caltech) will present “The Elephant in the Room: Effects of Distant, Massive Companions on Planetary System Architectures,” Michael Norman (University of California, San Diego) will explore new frontiers in computational cosmology, and Dale Frail (National Radio Astronomy Observatory) will present “Things That Go Bump in the Night: The Transient Radio Sky.”

Gathering with the AAS in San Diego is its Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD), which will convene daily sessions on the theme “Bridging Laboratory and Astrophysics.” Other special sessions include “The Polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background: Current Status and Future Prospects” and “The NASA K2 Mission.” Multisession “Meetings-in-a-Meeting” will consider “The Limits of Scientific Cosmology” and “Small Telescope Research Communities of Practice.” Public-policy Town Hall meetings will feature representatives from NASA and the National Science Foundation, and Jacqueline Hewitt (MIT) will present the final report of the astronomy mid-decadal survey committee.

The AAS is grateful to our meeting sponsors: SBIG Instruments, Associated Universities, Inc., Astro Haven Enterprises, Ball Aerospace, and Spectral Instruments.

Complimentary Press Registration

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

To request complimentary press registration, send an email 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. Please send your email request as soon as you know you’re coming to the meeting.

Press Arrangements

The AAS will operate a press office at the Hilton Bayfront, with working space, telephone, photocopier, printer, power strips, and internet connectivity for press registrants.

We expect to hold press conferences each morning and afternoon, Monday, 13 June, through Wednesday, 15 June (there will be no briefings on Thursday, 16 June, but there will be a press tour that afternoon; see below). The briefing room 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. The press-conference program and instructions for connecting to the webcast will appear in subsequent advisories.

Press Tour

On Thursday afternoon, 16 June, AAS press registrants are invited to visit Caltech's Palomar Observatory for a behind-the-scenes tour conducted by staff astronomers. Famous for the 200-inch (5-meter) Hale Telescope, which was the world's largest optical reflector for several decades, Palomar remains a vibrant observatory doing cutting-edge research, developing state-of-the-art instrumentation, and training the next generation of astronomical observers. The drive between the Hilton Bayfront and Palomar takes about 2 hours (we'll ride in one or two shared vans), so we don't expect to return to the hotel till dinnertime or early evening. Please plan your post-meeting travel accordingly.

AAS Press-Release-Distribution Service

If you don't already receive astronomy-related press releases forwarded by email 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 email 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.