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2nd Media Advisory, 232nd AAS Meeting, Denver, CO, 3-7 June 2018

AAS 232 Logo29 May 2018 (updated 2 June)

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

Five press conferences are on the program for the 232nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Denver, Colorado, 3-7 June 2018. They'll feature new findings on everything from the Sun to the edge of the visible universe based on observations with ground-based, airborne, and space-based telescopes as well as the latest theoretical ideas and models. Plus you'll get a chance to visit Lockheed Martin's Denver facility, where NASA’s Mars InSight lander was built and where flight operations for the mission are now being controlled following the spacecraft's successful May 5th launch. RSVP for press tour required by Tuesday, 29 May (see below).

The meeting venue is the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1550 Court Place, Denver, CO 80202. The hotel sits in the heart of the city’s financial and business district on a mile-long pedestrian promenade filled with outdoor bistros, shopping, and entertainment. So far more than 660 scientists, educators, journalists, and others have registered to attend. The AAS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and public-information officers (PIOs); see details below. Social-media hashtag: #aas232.

Meeting links:

Important Preliminaries

All attendees at the meeting — including press registrants — are expected to follow our Guide to AAS Meeting Etiquette and Anti-Harassment Policy for AAS & Division Meetings & Activities. Your participation in the meeting is taken to signify your acknowledgment that you have read these guidelines/policies and your agreement to adhere to them. Accordingly, please read them before you come to Denver and abide by them once you arrive.

AAS Meeting App & Guide

Our “Meetings by AAS” mobile app puts the entire conference program in your pocket and ensures that it’s always up to date. If you’re tired of carrying around a bulky program book, you’ll really appreciate having this app on your smartphone or tablet.

Meetings by AAS works on iOS and Android devices. Users of Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices, as well as users of laptop computers, can access the app via a Web browser.

QR Code for AAS Meetings AppFollow these steps to download the app for your iOS or Android device; if you already have the Meetings by AAS app on your mobile device, launch it and go straight to step 4:
  1. On your smartphone or tablet, visit the Apple App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android) and search for Meetings by AAS.
  2. Alternatively, use your QR reader to scan the QR code at right.
  3. Download, install, and open the app.
  4. iOS users: tap the "Download Guides" button; Android users: tap the downward-facing arrow to browse guides. Select the 232nd AAS Meeting guide.
  5. Alternatively, go to and follow the instructions you find there.

Press Registration & Badge Pickup

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

Advance press registration is now closed; see our list of current press registrants. Upon arrival at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, preregistered press should proceed to the AAS registration area in the Plaza Foyer on the concourse level. Badges won’t be available before 1 pm MDT on Sunday, 3 June; please try to pick up your badge before the AAS Opening Reception, which begins at 7 pm Sunday evening in Plaza Ballroom F.

Reporters and public-information officers who need to register on-site should go to the AAS registration desk in the in the Plaza Foyer on the concourse level and ask for an on-site press-registration form. You’ll be asked to take it to the AAS press office (see next section) to have the form authorized by the AAS press officer, after which you may return to the registration desk to print your badge.

Press Arrangements

The AAS will operate a press office in Director's Row J at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, with working space, photocopier, printer, power strips, and wireless internet connectivity for press registrants.

Press-office staff:

Press conferences (see next section) will be held in Director's Row I, which will be equipped with a sound system, mult-box, and wireless internet connectivity.

We will also have a press interview room, Director's Row G, for use by press registrants; there will be a sign-up sheet on the door so that you can reserve this room for use at specific dates and times.

Briefing Schedule, Topics & Speakers

Following is the preliminary press-conference program, which remains subject to change. Briefings are scheduled as follows (all times are MDT = UTC − 6 hours):

There is only one briefing on Monday, and there are no briefings on Thursday. 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 below).

In [square brackets] under each speaker’s name is the paper number on which their presentation is 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 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, 4 June, 11:00 am
Minor Planets, Dwarf Planets & Exoplanets

On the Detachment of Massive Trans-Neptunian Objects
Jacob Fleisig & Ann-Marie Madigan (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder)
LOFAR Searches for Radio Exoplanets
Jake Turner (Univ. of Virginia)
Stability of Planetary Orbits in Triple Star Systems
Franco Busetti (Univ. of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)

Monday, 4 June, 3:00 pm
NO BRIEFING (Use your free time to attend regular oral sessions!)

Tuesday, 5 June, 11:00 am
Stars That Make You Say "WTF?"

Multiband Lightcurve of Tabby’s Star: Observations & Modeling
Yao Yin & Alejandro Wilcox (The Thacher School)

The Transiting Dust of Boyajian's Star
Eva Bodman (Arizona State Univ.)

Epsilon Aurigae: Brightest Member of a New Class of “Disk-Eclipsed” Binary Stars
Robert Stencel & Justus Gibson (Univ. of Denver)
[315.01 & 315.02]

Tuesday, 5 June, 3:00 pm
Metal-Poor Stars, Dwarf Galaxies & a Cosmic Conundrum

The Origin of Carbon-Enriched Metal-Poor Stars in the Galactic Halo
Timothy Beers (Univ. of Notre Dame)

Using Very Pristine Stars to Study Dwarf Galaxies & the Galactic Stellar Halo
Kris Youakim (Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics, Germany)

Implications of Barium Abundances for the Chemical Enrichment of Dwarf Galaxies
Gina Duggan (California Institute of Technology)
Near-Field Cosmology with Low-Mass Galaxies & Insight into the First Stars
Aparna Venkatesan (Univ. of San Francisco)
[102.05 & 114.04]

Probing Gravity Theory & Cosmic Acceleration by Testing Multiple Data Sets
Mustapha Ishak-Boushaki (Univ. of Texas, Dallas)

Wednesday, 6 June, 11:00 am
Erupting Stars & Dissolving Stars

Configuration of & Motions in the Solar Corona at the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
Jay Pasachoff (Williams College & Carnegie Observatories)
Chandra Scouts Nearest Star System for Possible Hazards
Thomas Ayres (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder)
Candidates for Stellar Coronal Mass Ejections
Sofia Moschou (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
Signatures of Dissolving Globular Cluster Stars
Andrea Kunder (Saint Martin's Univ.)

Wednesday, 6 June, 3:00 pm
The Milky Way & Active Galactic Nuclei

Shocked Molecular Gas & the Origin of Cosmic Rays
William Reach (SOFIA / Universities Space Research Association)
Estimating the Mass of the Milky Way Using Satellite Galaxies
Ekta Patel (Univ. of Arizona)
More Mystery Objects Detected Near the Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole
Randall Campbell (W. M. Keck Observatory) & Anna Ciurlo (Univ. of California, Los Angeles)
Discovering Galaxy Mergers Using Offset Quasars
Scott Barrows (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder)

Thursday, 7 June, 11:00 am
NO BRIEFING (Use your free time to attend regular oral sessions!)

Remote Access to Press Conferences

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.

Press Conference Webcasts:


  • Password: Contact AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg for the password, which is for journalists only and which is the same for all the week's briefings. (You do not need the password just to watch the webcast, but you do need it if you want to ask questions.) After the meeting, archived webcasts will be freely available without a password 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 Dinner on Wednesday, 6 June

Plans are afoot for a no-host press dinner on Wednesday evening, 6 June. Place and time are still being worked out. Once the details are finalized, we'll post a sign-up sheet in the AAS press office (Director's Row J) so that we can give the restaurant an accurate head count.

Press Tour on Thursday, 7 June — RSVP Required by 29 May!

On Thursday afternoon, 7 June, interested press registrants are invited to visit Lockheed Martin's Denver facility, where NASA’s Mars InSight lander was built and where flight operations for the mission are being controlled as the spacecraft cruises to the Red Planet following its successful May 5th launch. Sorry for the short notice, but if you want to join this tour, for which there is limited space, please email AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg by Tuesday, 29 May. In addition to signing up for the tour, let Rick know if you will have a car in Denver and would be willing to drive from the Sheraton to Lockheed Martin and back. In case of oversubscription, preference will be given to working journalists over PIOs.

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 fill out and submit the form you'll find linked from our Join the AAS Press List page. With few exceptions, only accredited journalists and PIOs are eligible to receive press releases forwarded by the AAS, as described on our press-credentials page.