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231st AAS Meeting Event Descriptions

Please note: The workshops and events listed on this page are only those that require or allow registration through the meeting registration form. There may be other workshops and events during the meeting that are not listed here. See the online program for information on all events.

All workshop organizers, moderators, and attendees must be registered for the AAS meeting at which the workshop will take place. Those attending a workshop only and not the rest of the AAS meeting will be charged a one-day registration fee in addition to the individual workshop fee.


JWST Proposal Planning

Sunday, 7 January | 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Organizer: Tony Roman, Space Telescope Science Institute
Fee: $50
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is set to launch in 2018, will revolutionize our understanding of the Universe with its unprecedented sensitivity and angular resolution at Infrared wavelengths. There are a variety of proposing tools that have been developed to assist the user community to prepare their observing requests and proposals in sufficient detail. This workshop will provide an overview of the JWST proposal and planning tools for the various observing modes available using the JWST instruments. There will be demos and hands-on sessions to explore the tools for different observing modes. The workshop will help the community to familiarize with all the tools required for JWST proposal submission. The specific tools that will be covered include JWST Astronomer's Proposal Tool and JWST Exposure Time Calculator. There will be opportunity to perform a few exercises using these tools to plan observations for selected science cases or observing modes. At the end of the workshop there will be some time devoted for final questions and feedback.

Introduction to Software Carpentry (two-day workshop)

Sunday & Monday, 7 & 8 January | 8:00 am – 5:30 pm
Organizer: AAS Committee on Employment
Fee: $100
Computing is an integral part of every aspect of astronomy and astrophysics, but most scientists are never taught how to build, use, validate, and share software. As a result, many spend hours or days doing things badly that could be done well in just a few minutes. The goal of the Software Carpentry Workshop is to change that. The tools presented at this two-day workshop will enable astronomers to spend less time wrestling with software and more time doing research with results that are easier to confirm, distribute, and update.

This workshop consists of short tutorials alternating with hands-on practical exercises and covers the core software skills needed to construct, use, verify, and share software in astronomy. Sunday’s tutorials will include shell automation, basic python programming, and code review. Monday’s sessions will shift to more advanced python, including numerical- and astronomy-oriented computing, and version control with git. The workshop will be run by a team certified instructors and helpers.

The course is aimed at astronomers at all stages of their education and careers who wish to learn computational tools to increase the reproducibility and efficiency of their work. The course will be taught with the assumption that participants have written or edited code in a language other than Python and can navigate directories using the shell command line. Knowledge of Git is not required.

Registration is for both days. Participants will be required to bring their own laptops and to install software in advance of the workshop. Approximately one month prior to the workshop, instructors will contact participants to provide software requirements and collaborative troubleshooting. We encourage participants to apply their newly developed skills at the Hack Together Day. More information on the Software Carpentry project and the skills covered in the workshop can be found at

Teaching Science Thought and Practices (two-day workshop)

Sunday & Monday, 7 & 8 January | 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Organizer: K. E. Saavik Ford, CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College
Fee: $35
This hands-on, active-learning workshop will provide participants with a model for teaching undergraduates key topics in scientific thought and practices, including: proportional reasoning, control of variables thinking, experimental design, hypothesis testing, use of assumptions, observations and inferences, reasoning with data, and drawing conclusions from graphical display. Topics addressed here are rarely taught in-depth early in the formal undergraduate curriculum and are frequently learned only after several apprenticeship research experiences. Participants should plan to play with both lab equipment and data.

This workshop is based on the highly successful research preparation course developed for AstroCom NYC by Dennis Robbins and K. E. Saavik Ford. The course has educated 68 students (from 1st to 4th year science majors) at the City University of New York. Students completing the curriculum make notable gains on Lawson's Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning, among other metrics. This will be a condensed, intensive version of a five-day workshop previously offered at the American Museum of Natural History.

Open to faculty & postdocs (senior graduate students only with special permission and an advisor’s recommendation). Preference goes to participants invested in supporting undergraduate research, and/or at minority-serving institutions. Workshop organizers will provide opportunities for enrollees to develop local implementation plans. Enrollees can expect continued, network-supported professional development for at least one year after the workshop.

AAS Astronomy Ambassadors (two-day workshop)

Sunday & Monday, 7 & 8 January | 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Organizer: Rick Fienberg, American Astronomical Society
Fee: $0; Application Required
Registration for this workshop has closed.
This skill-building workshop supports early-career astronomers in doing effective outreach to schools, families, and the public. The program (now in its sixth year) offers you two days of hands-on training, extensive resources, and pre-tested activities — plus a like-minded group of peers. You will build skills to help engage your audience in your presentations, gain insights into how people learn, and discover tested outreach resources. If you are a graduate student, postdoc, new faculty, or advanced undergraduate committed to a career in the astronomical sciences, and if you’re interested in spending a small fraction of your time helping laypeople become more scientifically literate, this is an invitation to sharpen your outreach skills and join the growing AAS Astronomy Ambassadors community. The workshop is free but is limited to 30 participants by application only. As of 9 November 2017, the application deadline has passed.

Hands-On Hierarchical Bayesian Modeling of Cosmic Populations

Sunday, 7 January | 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Organizer: Thomas Loredo, Cornell University
Fee: $70
Registration for this workshop has closed.
Astronomical surveys of cosmological populations are imperfect. Measurements of properties of astronomical objects (stars, galaxies, planets) often have significant uncertainties. Populations are seldom completely or fairly sampled due to selection effects. Hierarchical Bayesian models (also known as multilevel models, or probabilistic graphical models) account for such complications by "forward" or "generative" modeling — building a predictive model for the data by composing probability distributions describing the population, and the various parts of the data generating process (e.g., detection/selection, and noisy measurement). The techniques of Bayesian data analysis may then be used to "invert" the model, inferring population properties from the data. This workshop will present a mixture of lectures and hands-on demonstrations teaching the basics of hierarchical Bayes in astrophysical contexts. Topics covered will include: Quick intro to Bayesian inference; hierarchical Bayes for estimating distributions and correlations with noisy data; handling selection effects; and computational techniques including Markov chain Monte Carlo and Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC). Demonstrations will present examples using Python (via Jupyter notebooks), R, and the Stan probabilistic programming language (via PyStan). The main presenters will be astronomer Tom Loredo (Cornell) and statistician Jessi Cisewski (Yale). A Git repository will host material for the workshop and provide preparation instructions for participants.
Sunday, 7 January | 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Organizer: Vandana Desai, IPAC/Caltech
Fee: $35
Registration for this workshop has closed.
NASA's Astrophysics Archives preserve many terabytes of multiwavelength images, catalogs, and spectra. While many astronomers are familiar with the web tools that are convenient for searching and visualizing these data, this workshop will introduce participants to the command-line data access tools that are becoming increasingly popular. We will use python to work through science scenarios that combine multiwavelength data from the HEASEARC, IRSA, NED, and MAST. Workshop organizers will also be available to help participants access NASA data sets for use on their own projects.

CHARA Community Workshop: Designing and Implementing Observations with the CHARA Array Interferometer

Sunday, 7 January | 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Organizer: Douglas Gies, Georgia State University
Fee: $35
We will hold a workshop for astronomers interested in applying for community access time at the CHARA Array, an optical-IR long baseline interferometer with sub-milliarcsec resolution. This is part of a new NSF MSIP supported program to provide about 50 nights of open access time at the Array each year. Proposals will be submitted through the biannual NOAO Call for Proposals. This workshop will provide an overview on interferometry, the science capabilities of the CHARA Array, and how to prepare and apply for observing time. Bring your ideas to discuss with CHARA staff and observers and to develop plans for your science programs. Details about the CHARA Array can be found at

Everyday Anti-Racism: Tools and Ideas to Combat Racism in Astronomy Departments and Organizations

Sunday, 7 January | 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Organizer: Nicole Cabrera Salazar, AAS Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy
Fee: $35
Everyday Anti-Racism is a workshop designed for department chairs, faculty, group leaders, and mentors. In this workshop, we will equip attendees with tools to best support students and other early career astronomers of color in their institutions. The workshop itself will consist of a discussion led by members of the Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy (CSMA), followed by a series of break-out sessions where participants will discuss and resolve case studies and scenarios. Solutions and advice for their implementation of those solutions will be discussed in a small-group setting and within the larger group as a whole.

Using Python and Astropy for Astronomical Data Analysis

Monday, 8 January | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Organizer: Kelle Cruz, ScienceBetter Consulting
Fee: $75 Registration for this workshop has closed.
This workshop will cover the use of Python tools for astronomical data analysis and visualization, with the focus primarily on tools in the Astropy library and its affiliated packages. The goal is to introduce participants to the variety of tools which are available inside the Astropy library and to provide ample hands-on time during which participants will explore the science analysis capabilities which the greater Python environment and community provide. The format will be very interactive and include short presentations followed by instructor-guided tutorials where participants will use the tools be able to ask questions in the company of expert users and developers. Topics will include user configuration and conda environments; units, quantities, and constants; FITS, ASCII, and Astropy tables; point-source photometry; and data exploration and visualization.

Instructions on installing the necessary software will be provided before and during the workshop, however those attending should make every effort to install the software ahead of time. Some basic Python experience is highly recommended to be able to effectively participate in the exercises.

A Data Science Foundation & Roadmap for Astronomy Instructors

Monday, 8 January | 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Organizer: Demitri Muna, Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Fee: $35
It is widely recognized that a new generation of skills are required to excel in astronomy research today: Python, databases, version control, application programming interfaces (APIs) to data, machine learning, and more. In addition, open science and collaboration tools are becoming increasingly essential to an international, engaged astronomy community. Instructors who do not encourage their students to develop skills in these areas put them at a disadvantage relative to their peers. While several workshops, such as SciCoder and Software Carpentry, are available for early-career astronomers, this workshop is designed for the astronomy instructor who has not had the time or means to stay up to date with the latest technology developments. A “lay of the land” of astronomy data science and collaboration tools will be presented, detailing the most important skills students should learn. .Attendees will be provided with a basic introduction to many topics to demonstrate their benefit to students’ productivity and research as well as gain a familiarity for themselves. Exercises will be given in a hand-on, interactive environment. Materials and a general roadmap will be provided that may be used as a starting point to create a curriculum. This workshop is based on the lectures developed by Demitri Muna for the SciCoder workshop which has been run annually since 2010, Katie Mack’s expertise and widely recognized success in science communication and open science, and Alex Hagen’s education, outreach, and collaborative software development experience.

Teaching for Equity

Monday, 8 January | 10:30 am – 3:30 pm
Organizer: Kimberly Coble, San Francisco State University
Complimentary with meeting registration
This workshop is aimed at instructors who are working toward or looking to create learning environments that are inclusive, supportive, and rigorous, where diverse perspectives are represented, and students and faculty can thrive. Topics addressed are drawn from the Inclusive Astronomy recommendations for teaching and include: (1) identifying the strengths, weaknesses, needs, and resources our students bring to the classroom, including cultural capital; (2) techniques for understanding and influencing classroom climate and dynamics; and (3) creating an affirming and accessible physical space. We will learn from each other’s teaching experiences as well as literature, and discuss structural and pedagogical practices that can help us advance toward these goals. The teaching practices presented will be research-informed and research-validated, with evidence of equitable outcomes for all intersections of student identities in terms of psychosocial shifts and academic success. Resources provided will include examples of: syllabus evaluation tools, classroom codes of conduct and “ground rules,” literature on social justice pedagogy, and formative and summative assessment tools. By the end of the workshop, participants will identify concrete changes they can make in their courses or departments and create an implementation and assessment plan.

Astronomy Engagement with Diverse Publics

Monday, 8 January | 12:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Organizer: Jennifer Wiseman, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Complimentary with meeting registration
An individual's worldview, including their religious beliefs and cultural background, informs their perceptions of research studies and the scientific endeavor as a whole. According to a 2015 Pew survey, a majority of the American public identifies as religious or spiritual, and views science as "often in conflict" with religion (though interestingly, a minority see science as in conflict with their own beliefs). Relatedly, disparities endure along racial and class lines in science education, opportunities for science careers, and access to the benefits of scientific research. These divides are detrimental for all concerned, as a presumption that scientists hold different worldviews (including backgrounds, values, and priorities) than non-academic public(s) can impact their perceived trustworthiness and credibility on critical issues at the interface of science and society. Accordingly, public engagement is increasingly recognized as an important dimension of science scholarship. Effective engagement can have a tremendous impact on public appreciation and support for scientific research, funding, education, and science-informed policy, and potentially contribute to the development of new collaborations and research directions.

This workshop was developed through a partnership between the American Association for the Advancement of Science “Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion” program with public outreach specialists from the AAAS Center for Public Engagement. It is part of an effort to support the membership of five prominent physical and life science societies (including the AGU and SfN) in constructive dialogue with a broad spectrum of publics, and particularly with religious communities. Participants will review tools, strategies, and examples for engagement with diverse audiences, that they may become more effective advocates for astronomy and for science as a whole. The workshop will include remarks by astronomer and science communicator Salman Hameed, as well as discussions and exercises on conveying scientific concepts with clarity and sensitivity to different worldviews. Light refreshments provided.

New Curricular Materials for Bringing Zooniverse-Based Research Experiences into Astro 101

Monday, 8 January | 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Organizer: Laura Trouille, The Adler Planetarium – Zooniverse
Complimentary with meeting registration
Registration for this workshop has closed.
Working with a national collaboration of astronomy educators and researchers at a range of institution types (R1, SLAC, Community College), we have developed a suite of new active learning materials to support incorporating an authentic research experience into the Astro 101 classroom. The in-class activities and group research experience engage the students in citizen science through Zooniverse projects and employ custom extensions to Google sheets for a student-friendly exploration of data collection and manipulation and the basics of data analysis and interpretation, all while addressing core Astro 101 topics.

This workshop is based upon work supported by the NSF under the award NSF-IUSE 1524189. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

Thriving in Grad School as a Marginalized Student

Monday, 8 January | 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Organizer: Nicole Cabrera Salazar, AAS Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy
Fee: $0
Graduate school is tough, and those at the intersection of one or more marginalized identities may find it especially difficult to navigate "majority" academic environments. For instance, research studies such as "Double Jeopardy? Gender Bias Against Women of Color in Science" (Williams, Phillips, and Hall 2014) demonstrate that women of color experience the compounded effects of racism and sexism. Moreover, an internalized sense of inferiority from immersion in a homogeneous field of study can be detrimental to the mental health of marginalized groups. In this workshop, marginalized students will discover tools for self-care and productivity tailored to their needs for success in grad school. The CSMA and Board of Trustees are pleased to sponsor this workshop and are now waiving the fees for participation.

Unlocking Your Data Through Citizen Science and Zooniverse

Monday, 8 January | 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Organizer: Laura Trouille, The Adler Planetarium – Zooniverse
Fee: $35
We invite all to attend this hands-on, DIY workshop to create your own Zooniverse project for free, in an afternoon. Processing our increasingly large datasets poses a bottleneck for producing real scientific outcomes. Citizen science — engaging the public in research — provides a solution, particularly when coupled with machine learning algorithms. Zooniverse is the most widely used and successful citizen science platform, with over 1.6 million volunteers worldwide and over 70 active projects across the disciplines resulting in over 120 peer-reviewed publications. Faced with a rapidly growing demand for citizen science projects, Zooniverse launched a "Project Builder" which allows you, the researcher, to build your own crowd-sourced research project using the Zooniverse infrastructure and tools. Through this hands-on workshop, you will be able to build your own Zooniverse project. We will also share best practices for engaging with our Zooniverse volunteer community. All workshop organizers, moderators, and attendees must be registered to attend the AAS conference at which the workshop is occurring.

One-on-One Career Consultations (20-minute Sessions)

Fee: $20
Alaina Levine of Quantum Success Solutions, a career consultant, science writer, professional speaker, and comedian, will meet individually with attendees to provide confidential, customized career advice for people from student through mid-career. Attendees are encouraged to bring CV/resume, cover letter, or any other item you wish to have evaluated. Registrants will be contacted starting 18 September by facilitator to schedule their individual appointment.

Careers 101: Career Planning Workshop & Panel for Graduate Students and Postdocs

Tuesday, 9 January | 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Organizer: Alaina Levine, Quantum Success Solutions
Complimentary with meeting registration
Registration for this workshop has closed.
This FREE workshop and panel discussion will center on the current and expanding crisis in the job and career market for astronomers. Specifically targeted towards graduate students and Postdocs, this workshop will identify and investigate the shortage of traditional astronomy jobs, and how early-career scientists can best prepare for this challenge. Our focus will be on career planning for traditional astronomy positions. We will demonstrate how to orchestrate a personal career plan and develop a Plan B and Plan C for contingencies. We will discuss what early-career astronomers should do now to enhance their CVs and research reputations, and what they should look for in and how they can leverage a Postdoc appointment to set themselves up for success in the field. We will also discuss non-traditional jobs and career paths in astronomy, and introduce the skills that are needed to pursue these. Q&A between panelists and workshop participants will be highly encouraged.

Bringing Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data to the Classroom

Tuesday, 9 January | 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Organizer: Brit Lundgren, University of North Carolina, Asheville
Fee: $35
The vast public database of Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) imaging, photometry, and spectra can be used to facilitate authentic explorations in astronomy, computing, and the concepts of “big data," for learners of all ages. This workshop will provide an overview of the freely available educational resources for interacting with SDSS data. We will demonstrate a variety of inquiry-based activities appropriate for students across a wide range of educational levels (middle school through advanced undergraduate), with a focus on the following:
  1. SDSS Voyages — The primary SDSS educational portal, Voyages offers tutorials for querying and visualizing SDSS data, as well as a wide range of activities suitable for students aged 12 and above. Voyages is also now available in Spanish.
  2. SciServer — New cloud-based tools enable the visualization and analysis of SDSS and other large datasets, without the need of any locally installed software beyond a web browser. We will demonstrate how SciServer’s web-based Jupyter notebooks can be used as a framework for a variety of undergraduate-level educational explorations at the intersection of astronomy, data science, and computing. A subset of lesson plans will be provided for educators looking to introduce python-based explorations of SDSS data in their college labs.
  3. Plates for Education — Retired spectroscopic plug plates from the SDSS make effective tools for communicating the engineering principles behind large astronomy surveys. We will provide a tutorial on how to use an SDSS plug plate for effective student learning and engagement, and explain how your institution or organization may be able to adopt your own piece of the SDSS sky.

Astro 101 Teaching Tools Using Multiwavelength Astronomy

Tuesday, 9 January | 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Organizer: Gina Brissenden, Center for Astronomy Education, Steward Observatory, University of Arizona
Fee: $35
Working with a national collaboration of astronomy educators, we have developed a suite of new active learning materials that bring to life the methods used in multiwavelength astronomy and interferometry. Come engage in a fun and supportive environment designed to help you successfully engage learners about these important astronomical methods. Participants will come away with field-tested instructional materials and assessment strategies that are ready to use in the Astro 101 classroom.

Presenters will be Edward Prather and Gina Brissenden (Center for Astronomy Education, Steward Observatory, University of Arizona), and Rica French (MiraCosta College & the Center for Astronomy Education) who encourage you to bring your lunch!

We would like to thank NASA's Univ. of Learning and JPL for their support. This workshop is based upon work supported by NASA under award number NNX16AC65A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Concrete Steps to Make Your Workplace More Inclusive

Tuesday, 9 January | 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Organizer: Alessandra Aloisi, Space Telescope Science Institute
Fee: Complimentary with meeting registration
In recent years, inclusion and diversity have become significant and widespread topics of conversation in our society. These ideals are something to strive for within departments in universities and institutions. This is particularly true for astronomical institutions. Excellence in astronomy means diversity and inclusion. Diverse and inclusive teams lead to collective achievements that are greater and more extraordinary than the sum of their individual contributions. Increasing diversity and building an inclusive culture is key for breaking down barriers across race, gender, ethnicity, and ability. Diverse and inclusive institutions also encourage individuals in under-represented groups to continue pursuing their passion in astronomy, increasing the retention rate of gifted individuals in the field. Changing an institutional climate can be a daunting task, but a first step with an extraordinary impact can be as simple as posting a code of conduct in meeting rooms. In this workshop we, the professionals of the Space Telescope Science Institute, will share our own experiences in working towards a more equitable institution and will walk you through hands-on activities and break-out sessions designed to increase awareness of your identities and privileges, and translate that awareness into meaningful discussions about how we can all effect change at our home institutions. No one here is an expert on this subject, so we hope that we can all learn from each other.

Accessibility of Astronomical Publications

Tuesday, 9 January | 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Organizer: August Muench, AAS

The AAS Journals and the AAS Working Group on Accessibility and Disability (WGAD) invite you to a special session to train the general astronomy community about accessibility issues in the published literature. This session will review the WGAD’s 2016 Recommendations, “Improving Accessibility of Astronomical Publications” and will provide a current status update of authoring and access tools for the astronomical literature. Recent initiatives by the AAS Journals and IOP Publishing during the past year to address the recommendations will be highlighted.

Session attendees will be asked to engage in forward thinking about changes we might make to how we author and publish papers. These changes would be based on universal design principles, anticipating the access needs of astronomers with disabilities. This session will include planning activities to develop a user-centric approach to identifying and addressing barriers for equal participation by astronomers with disabilities presently and as future projects and tools are developed.

Career Hour 1: Leveraging Social Media for Networking and Career Advancement

Tuesday, 9 January | 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Organizer: Alaina Levine, Quantum Success Solutions
Complimentary with meeting registration
Registration for this workshop has closed.
More and more recruiters, job decision-makers and hiring managers are using the web to find and research potential candidates. How can you make sure that you are not only found, but are ahead of the pack? In this session, we will discuss how decision-makers use LinkedIn and Facebook, and how you can use LinkedIn to establish yourself as a leader in your field, enhance your research reputation, and seek out and take advantage of innovative opportunities. We will demonstrate how to optimize your presence on Twitter, and create a winning LinkedIn profile, and how to use its multitude of features (such as joining and commenting in groups) to generate solid leads for your career.

Career Hour 2: Showcasing Astronomy Alumni in Non-Academic Careers

Wednesday, 10 January | 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Organizer: AAS Committee on Employment
Complimentary with meeting registration
Registration for this workshop has closed.
More of our astronomy colleagues are choosing meaningful careers in industry, and yet very little information trickles back into academia about what those careers are like, what skills transferred from astronomy training, or even how to make the career transition. The lack of solid information and mentoring can make any career path beyond the academy seem daunting. For this sequel to the Beyond the Academy Panel Discussion, our invited speakers from the first session will be joined by recruiters and other astronomers from a wide spectrum of fields for an engaging breakout session on careers outside academia. We will have the speakers introduce themselves and take questions from the audience for 30 minutes. The final 30 minutes will allow the audience to network with individual panelists and recruiters in small groups.

Introducing Current Research Into Your Classroom with Astrobites

Wednesday, 10 January | 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Organizer: Susanna Kohler, American Astronomical Society
Complimentary with meeting registration
Registration for this workshop has closed.
Do you wish you could ground your undergraduate classes more thoroughly in the latest astronomical research? Do you want to expose your students not just to facts, but also to the process of science? In this workshop, we’ll show you how you can use Astrobites to enhance your students’ experience.

Astrobites, an online blog founded in 2010 and officially supported by the AAS since 2016, is a graduate-student organization that publishes daily digests of recent articles appearing on astro-ph. The site has an archive of posts covering more than one thousand recent astrophysics research papers, and each post is written at an undergraduate level, providing an accessible summary of the research methods and outcomes as well as useful background and context.

Over the span of this 1.5-hour workshop, we will provide an overview of Astrobites and discuss several different ways that you can use Astrobites to bring the most recent astronomical research into your undergraduate classroom. You will then have the opportunity to develop and share original lesson plans and curriculum materials with the assistance of Astrobites authors and administrators. Attendees will have the opportunity to share their materials after the workshop through our online platform. The organizers encourage attendees to bring their laptops and a lunch to this workshop. The workshop is provided free of charge due to a grant from the AAS Education Committee.

New Methods for Teaching in the Flipped Classroom

Wednesday, 10 January | 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Organizer: Gina Brissenden, Center for Astronomy Education, Steward Observatory, University of Arizona
Fee: $35
Been thinking about flipping your class? So have we! Working with a national collaboration of astronomy educators we have developed a suite of active learning materials that can be used during the freed-up class time the flipped classroom offers. Come engage in a fun and supportive environment designed to help you successfully motivate students to participate, facilitate student learning groups, assess student learning, and manage time in the flipped classroom. Participants will come away with instructional materials and assessment strategies ready for immediate classroom use. (Back by popular demand!!) Presented by Edward Prather and Gina Brissenden (Center for Astronomy Education (CAE), Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona), and Rica French (MiraCosta College & the Center for Astronomy Education (CAE))

We would like to thank NASA's University of Learning and JPL for their support. This workshop is based upon work supported by NASA under award number NNX16AC65A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Career Hour 3: Interviewing – What You Need to Do Before, During, and After to Get the Job

Thursday, 11 January | 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Organizer: Alaina Levine, Quantum Success Solutions
Complimentary with meeting registration
Find out what you need to know and do to get the job from the first moment of contact to the moment you leave the interview.

Hack Together Day

Friday, 12 January | 10:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Organizer: James Davenport, Western Washington University
Complimentary with meeting registration
Registration for this workshop has closed.
Hack Together Day is a full-day workshop to work intensively on collaborative projects of interest to the astronomical community. A wide variety of projects will be undertaken, spanning everything from software development to data exploration and analysis to creative outreach projects. Projects that take advantage of the unique gathering of enthusiasm and expertise at the AAS winter meeting are particularly encouraged. No hacking or programming experience is required; newcomers are extremely welcome! Project ideas and participants will be solicited before and during the meeting. Participants can lead or join any project, and should plan on focusing on accomplishing one, limited thing. In addition, we ask participants to commit to Hack Together Day for the entirety of the day. The registration link and more information can be found at

AAS Splinter Meetings

NSF Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium (two-day splinter meeting)

Sunday & Monday, 7 & 8 January | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Organizer: Abigail Crites, California Institute of Technology
No fee; Complimentary with meeting registration; Open to all attendees
This is the annual meeting of the NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellows (AAPF). The NSF AAPF program supports scientists who carry out an integrated program of independent research and education/public outreach. During this two day annual symposium, the Fellows gather to give talks on their current research and outreach projects. This workshop should be of interest to current fellows, undergraduate and graduate students interested in applying for the fellowship, and other members of the community interested in the education, outreach, and scientific research being done by the NSF postdoc fellows. In addition to talks by fellows, the program will include a mixer for the fellows and other members of the community to chat about their work, a talk by the NSF program officer about the fellowship logistics, and panels on a variety of topics including best practices for outreach. There will be a keynote speaker who is well-known for their scientific research as well as their commitment to education and public outreach. Details of the schedule will be updated closer to the conference at All members of the astronomical community are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Better Data Visualization and Exploration with Glue

Tuesday, 9 January | 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Complimentary with meeting registration
Modern research projects incorporate data from a wide range of sources, and new insights are increasingly driven by multi-wavelength data visualization and exploration. Glue ( is a graphical environment that allows researchers to easily visualize relationships within and amongst data sets. With Glue, users can load, interlink, and visualize multiple related data sets simultaneously. A wide variety of data types are supported, including images, spectral cubes, tables/catalogs, and other types of high-dimensional datasets. Users can specify logical connections that exist between data sets (e.g., matching on coordinates), and Glue transparently uses this information as needed to enable visualization across files. Glue includes a Python-based plugin system that makes it easy for users to extend the functionality such as reading new data formats or creating new kinds of visualization. Two-dimensional scatterplots, histograms, spectral and image viewers, as well as 3D slice-view, point cloud, and volumetric visualizations are available as standard plot types in Glue. In analyzing data cubes, Glue also offers the unique ability to “slice” along arbitrary user-defined paths. Optional downloadable plugins add specialized functionality, such as dendrogram trees or the ability to link WorldWide Telescope to Glue, or to communicate with other applications such as TOPCAT, Aladin, and ds9 using the Simple Application Messaging Protocol (SAMP). In this splinter session, we will take participants through the steps of setting up Glue, loading data, setting up links between datasets, explorie the data using various kinds of visualizations, installing and creating plugins, and demonstrate some of the more advanced features of Glue. No experience in Python is required, but we recommend that participants install the Anaconda or Miniconda Python Distribution ahead of time. Development of Glue is funded by NASA, in support of the James Webb Space Telescope, and by the National Science Foundation.

Professional Development with WorldWide Telescope

Tuesday, 9 January | 10:00 am – 11:40 am
Complimentary with meeting registration
The American Astronomical Society's WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a seamless data visualization program with an engaging learning environment. The WWT project enables terabytes of astronomical images, data, and stories to be viewed and shared among researchers, exhibited in science museums, projected into full-dome immersive planetariums, and taught in classrooms from elementary school to college levels.

This will be a professional development workshop on how to use WWT in astronomical research; however those who wish to learn WWT for education or outreach are welcome to attend. This workshop is aimed at astronomy researchers at all levels. You don’t need to have any previous knowledge of WWT and you do not need a computer that runs Windows. Please sign up at


Student Orientation & Grad School Fair

Monday, 8 January | 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Complimentary with meeting registration

Registration for this event has closed.
Is DC your first AAS Meeting? Are you looking for a Graduate or Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) Program? Are you overwhelmed by the AAS Meeting? Or are you looking to connect with other students and faculty? Then the Student Orientation & Grad School Fair is for you! When you register, make sure to sign up for this fun and informative event.

Opening Reception

Monday, 8 January | 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Complimentary with meeting registration
Join your colleagues as we kick-off the 231st AAS meeting in DC. This is a great time to network, socialize, eat, drink, and gear up for an exciting week.

Career Networking & Job Fair

Tuesday, 9 January | 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Complimentary with meeting registration

Registration for this event has closed.
Are you in the market for a career in astronomy? Thinking of making a change? Would you like to mentor an early career astronomer? Will your company be hiring in the near future? Then the Career Networking & Job Fair is the place to be. Network with employers and potential employees. Learn about the many career services offered by the AAS, especially those offered onsite at the 231st meeting. Employers will have a special opportunity to set-up a table to meet and greet with attendees.

Movie Screening – Seeing the Beginning of Time

Tuesday, 9 January | 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Complimentary with meeting registration, no registration required
Seeing the Beginning of Time takes viewers on a visually-compelling journey through deep space and time. The 50-minute, 4K science documentary was co-produced by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Thomas Lucas Productions. Donna Cox, director of NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL) leads the CADENS project to help raise public awareness about computational scientific discovery. The film feature NCSA research scientist and astronomy research professor Felipe Menanteau and his colleagues from the Dark Energy Survey (DES), an international collaboration dedicated to charting the expansion of our universe. NCSA, along with Fermilab and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory are the founding institutions for the Dark Energy Survey. Menanteau and colleagues are using light from distant galaxies to study the distribution of matter in the universe. “When we are looking deep into space, we are essentially looking back in time. We are using the light of distant galaxies to trace the influence of mysterious unseen forces such as dark matter and dark energy to look for clues to what they are,” said Menanteau. Currently under construction in Chile, the LSST telescope will rapidly survey the entire night sky every two weeks with a field of view almost 40 times the size of the full moon. These large scale cosmic surveys can be shared across the world and will revolutionize astronomy.

Movie Screening – Black Suns: An Astrophysics Adventure

Thursday, 11 January | 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Complimentary with meeting registration, no registration required
Follow Alphonse Sterling (NASA Marshall) and Hakeem Oluseyi (FIT) to Tokyo and Cairns for the 2012 solar eclipses. Both scientists study the solar atmosphere and corona, and the few moments of totality offer data that cannot be obtained any other way. This documentary film was Kickstarted with the support of the astronomy community and partially funded by a National Science Foundation grant. Also appearing in the film are Jarita Holbrook, Fana Mulu-Moore, Amy Steele, and Roderick Gray.

Closing Reception

Friday, 12 January | 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Complimentary with meeting registration
Join us one last time to say farewell to your colleagues until the next AAS meeting.


Rodger Doxsey Travel Prize Fund

Contribute $25 or $50 to the Rodger Doxsey Travel Prize Fund
The Rodger Doxsey Travel Prize — established through the support of his father, John Doxsey, and other friends, family, and colleagues — provides graduate students or postdocs within one year of receiving or receipt of their PhD a monetary prize to enable the oral presentation of their dissertation research at a winter meeting of the AAS.

Purchase Carbon Offsets

Contribute up to $50 to the purchase carbon offsets
Over 90% of the carbon emissions from a typical scientific meeting come from participant travel to the meeting. We are encouraging participants to contribute up to $50 towards the purchase of carbon offsets, which will be used for a variety of third-party certified projects to reduce carbon emissions. Offsets are not a panacea, but will go a small way towards compensating for the meeting's carbon footprint.