235th meeting


Honolulu, Hawai‘i
235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society
Honolulu, Hawai‘i
4 – 8 January 2020

30 December 2019 (updated 15 January 2020)

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

More than 3,600 astronomers, educators, students, and journalists will gather in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, from 4 to 8 January 2020 for the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). This joint conference with the AAS Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) and High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) is shaping up to be the biggest and busiest in the Society’s 120-year history. Of special interest to reporters and editors, it will feature nine press briefings on the latest discoveries from ground- and space-based telescopes as well as on important issues facing the astronomical community in Hawai‘i and beyond. Meeting hashtag: #aas235.

The venue for this winter’s AAS meeting is the Hawai‘i Convention Center, 1801 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815. The AAS offers complimentary press registration for the meeting to bona fide working journalists and public-information officers (PIOs), as explained below.

Special note: In contrast with the usual Sunday-Thursday AAS meeting schedule, AAS 235 begins on a Saturday and ends on a Wednesday (with a press tour on Thursday; see below).

Meeting links:

Important Preliminaries

All attendees at the meeting — including press registrants — are expected to follow our Guide to AAS Meeting Etiquette, Anti-Harassment Policy for AAS & Division Meetings & Activities, and Code of Ethics. 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 Honolulu and abide by them once you arrive.

New AAS Meetings Mobile App

Our “AAS Meetings” app, new for this meeting, 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 mobile device. Use it to personalize your schedule, take notes, engage in social media, and more.

AAS Meetings works on iOS and Android devices. Users of iPhones and iPads: visit the Apple App Store and search for “AAS Meetings” or go directly to https://m.core-apps.com/aas_winter2020/iphone. Users of Android smartphones and tablets: visit Google Play and search for “AAS Meetings” or go directly to https://m.core-apps.com/aas_winter2020/android.

Users of Windows phones and BlackBerry devices, as well as users of laptop computers, can access the app via a Web browser.

Unlike our earlier mobile app, this new one allows you to sync the personal schedule you create in the Online Program Planner with the one in the app. It’s a one-way sync, though, so we recommend that you create an account in the Online Program Planner, sign in to it, create your personal schedule there, and then sync it to the app as follows: Go into Settings > Online Planner Login and enter the same username and password you used when you created your account in the online planner. The app will then pull your data from the planner, and if you go into My Schedule on the app, you’ll see it there. Subsequent changes made in your online planner will update on the mobile app as well. Again, it’s a one-way sync: changes made in the app will not appear online in the program planner.

Press Registration & Badge Pick-up

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

Advance press registration is closed; see our list of current press registrants.

Upon arrival at the Hawai‘i Convention Center (HCC), pre-registered press should go to the AAS registration desk in the main lobby on Level 1; badge pick-up opens at 1 pm on Saturday, 4 January. Please try to pick up your badge before the AAS Opening Reception, which begins at 7 pm Saturday evening, on the Great Lawn at the Hilton Hawai‘ian Village hotel — not at the convention center.

Reporters and PIOs who need to register on-site at the HCC should go straight to the AAS registration desk in the main lobby on Level 1 and ask for an on-site press-registration form. You’ll be asked to take it to the AAS Press Office (Room 328, Level 3) to have the form authorized and signed by the AAS Press Officer, after which you may return to the registration desk to obtain your badge.

Press Facilities

The AAS will operate a press office in Room 328 on Level 3 of the Hawai‘i Convention Center, with working space, printer/photocopier, power strips, and internet connectivity for reporters and PIOs. Thanks to the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) for generously sponsoring the press office with refreshments for on-site press registrants!

Press office staff:

Due to a shortage of available space, we will not have a dedicated press interview room. Except during press conferences, the briefing room (325AB, Level 3) will be available for use by press registrants; use the online signup sheet to reserve this room for use at specific dates and times.

Press Conference Schedule, Topics & Speakers

News briefings will be held each morning and afternoon, Sunday, 5 January, through Wednesday, 8 January, diagonally across the hall from the press office in Room 325AB, which will be equipped with a sound system, mult-box, and internet connectivity. Note that morning and afternoon briefings occur in parallel with morning and afternoon oral science sessions. An additional briefing will be held during lunchtime on Sunday, 5 January.

Following is the press-conference program, which remains subject to change; some speakers are not yet confirmed due to the intermittent nature of communications around the holidays, and one or two additional speakers may be added. Briefings are scheduled as follows (all times are HST = UTC/GMT − 10 hours):

Briefing audio, slides, and video will be available live via webcast, except for the briefing noted with an asterisk (*) above; online journalists will be able to ask questions of the presenters via text chat with an on-site press officer (see below).

In [square brackets] under the speakers’ names are the abstract or session numbers on which their presentations are based, where applicable; these link to abstracts on the Web version of the mobile app.

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.

Added 13 January 2020: Where applicable, briefing titles now link to the archived webcast videos on the AAS Press Office YouTube channel, and presentation titles now link to the speakers' presentation files (PDFs). These files are provided for personal use only. If you wish to publish or otherwise reproduce any of the content in these files, you must obtain permission from the presenters — otherwise you may be in violation of copyright law. If you need help contacting a presenter, email AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg.

Sunday, 5 January 2020, 10:15 am HST
Galaxies & Their Black Holes (Webcast Video)

Wandering Massive Black Holes in Dwarf Galaxies
Amy Reines (Montana State University)
[344.01, 355.07] | Press Release

Molecular Gas Around Black Holes in Merging Galaxies
Ezequiel Treister (Pontificia University Católica de Chile)
[325.01] | Press Release

Hubble Observations of a Gentle Giant Spiral Galaxy
Benne W. Holwerda (University of Louisville)
[430.01] | Press Release

A Group of Galaxies Blowing Bubbles at Dawn
James Rhoads (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
[404.02] | Press Release

Sunday, 5 January 2020, 12:45 pm HST
TEAM-UP for Physics & Astronomy (Webcast Video)

The American Institute of Physics (AIP), a federation of professional societies that includes the AAS, recently launched an initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. The AIP National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy (TEAM-UP) has just concluded a two-year study of factors that enhance the success of African Americans pursuing bachelor’s degrees in these fields. Despite the very small representation of African Americans in astronomy overall, some college and university departments excel. Using lessons learned from their successes, a national student survey, interviews, and more, TEAM-UP has prepared a report and recommendations. This preview of the task force report precedes its unveiling to the AAS community on Monday.

TEAM-UP: The AIP National Task Force to Elevate African
American Representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy
Michael Moloney (American Institute of Physics)
[222] | Press Release

Advancing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Our Community
Edmund Bertschinger (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Change Will Come (If You Create It)
Jedidah C. Isler (Dartmouth College)

Sunday, 5 January 2020, 2:15 pm HST
Seminar for Science Writers: Hubble @ 30 (Webcast Video)

In April 2020 we’ll celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope’s 30th anniversary in orbit. In addition to becoming a cultural icon thanks to its spectacular color images, Hubble has advanced virtually every research discipline within astrophysics over the last three decades. And thanks to a series of repairs and upgrades, the telescope still offers unique and powerful capabilities in imaging and spectroscopy at infrared, visual, and ultraviolet wavelengths. Far from “over the hill,” Hubble promises many more exciting discoveries in its fourth decade, when it will serve as a vital complement to the next generation of ground- and space-based observatories.

Hubble’s Top Accomplishments, Current Status & Planned Science for the 2020s
Jennifer Wiseman (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Hubble’s Characterization of Exoplanets & Future Observing Strategies
Nikole Lewis (Cornell University)

Hubble’s Ongoing Monitoring of Solar System Planets & Minor Bodies
Heidi Hammel (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy)

The Hubble Deep Sky Surveys & Planned Synergy with JWST & WFIRST
Garth Illingworth (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Hubble as a Cultural Icon
Ray Villard (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Monday, 6 January 2020, 10:15 am HST
Things That Go Bump in the Night (Webcast Video)

New Results from the LIGO-Virgo O3 Observing Run
Katerina Chatziioannou (Flatiron Institute)
[119.02] | Press Release

Another Step Toward Understanding Fast Radio Bursts
Benito Marcote (Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC [JIVE]) & Kenzie Nimmo (ASTRON & University of Amsterdam)
[340.01] | Press Release

Chandra Detects Proper Motions in the Knots of M87’s Jet
Ralph Kraft (Center for Astrophysics)
[344.05] | Press Release

Sensitive Probing of Exoplanetary Oxygen in the Mid-Infrared
Thomas J. Fauchez (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
[343.04] | Press Release

Binary Star V Sagittae Will Explode as a Very Bright “Nova” by Century’s End
Bradley E. Schaefer (Louisiana State University)
[435.04] | Press Release

Monday, 6 January 2020, 2:15 pm HST
TESS Explores Exoplanets & More (Webcast Video)

New Discovery of a Compact TESS Multiplanet System
Emily Gilbert (University of Chicago)
[349.02] | Press Release

Spitzer Observations of a Habitable-Zone Planet from TESS
Joseph E. Rodriguez (Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian)

Exploring Habitable-Zone Earths in Synchronous Rotation Around Cool Stars
Gabrielle Engelmann-Suissa (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

The First Circumbinary Planet Discovered by TESS
Veselin Kostov (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
[349.05] | Press Release

A Dance with Dragons: TESS Reveals Alpha Draconis Is a Detached Eclipsing Binary
Angela Kochoska (Villanova University)
[114.03] | Press Release

Closing Comments
Paul Hertz (NASA Headquarters)

Tuesday, 7 January 2020, 10:15 am HST
The Milky Way Inside & Out (Webcast Video)

A New Feature of the Galaxy Revealed by 3D Dust Mapping
Alyssa Goodman (Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian)
[385.05] | Press Release

Eagle-Eyed View from Flying Telescope Reveals How the Swan Nebula Hatched
James De Buizer & Wanggi Lim (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy / Universities Space Research Association)
[361.03] | Press Release

Discovery & Characterization of a Recent Star Formation Event Far into the Milky Way’s Halo
Adrian Price-Whelan (Flatiron Institute)
[415.01] | Press Release

Follow-Up & Implications of a Recent Star Formation Event Far into the Milky Way’s Halo
David Nidever (Montana State University)

Tuesday, 7 January 2020, 2:15 pm HST
Off-the-Record Backgrounder:
The Maunakea Observatories & Thirty Meter Telescope

As we gather in Honolulu for the 235th AAS meeting, we know that many in our community are concerned about potential effects of the ongoing controversy over the observatories on Maunakea, including the planned Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The controversy is about much more than the construction of a new telescope on a mountaintop that many Hawai‘ians consider sacred. It’s also about the historical mistreatment of indigenous people, the islands’ economy, and many other complex and interrelated issues. At stake, among other things, is the future of astronomy in Hawai‘i, including more than a dozen observatories already operating atop Maunakea.

There will be many opportunities throughout the week for regular meeting attendees to learn about the ongoing controversy, to voice their opinions and concerns, and to ask questions of local astronomers and others of diverse perspectives. In this briefing, which will be off the record, restricted to press registrants only, and recorded but not live streamed, representatives from several current Maunakea facilities and the TMT will provide their unique insights into the situation and to answer questions from reporters, who may then arrange subsequent on-the-record one-on-one interviews with the speakers.


  • Greg Chun (University of Hawai‘i, Hilo)
  • Jessica Dempsey (East Asian Observatory)
  • Hilton Lewis (W. M. Keck Observatory)
  • Jennifer Lotz (Gemini Observatory)
  • Robert McLaren (University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy)
  • Douglas Simons (Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope)
  • Gordon Squires (Thirty Meter Telescope)

Note that two related sessions for regular meeting attendees occur at other times today: “The US Extremely Large Telescope Program” (10:00 am, Room 306AB) and “An Evening with the Maunakea Observatories” (7:00 pm, Room 323A).

Wednesday, 8 January 2020, 10:15 am HST
Cosmology & Exoplanets: Beyond the Nobel Prize (Webcast Video)

Warm Dark Matter “Chills Out” —
Constraints on the Nature of Dark Matter with Quadruple-Image Gravitational Lenses

Daniel Gilman (University of California, Los Angeles)
[133.05] | Press Release

A Precision Measurement of the Hubble Constant from Time-Delay Gravitational Lens Systems
Geoff Chih-Fan Chen (University of California, Davis)
[266.01] | Press Release

First Light for NEID, an Extreme Precision Doppler Spectrograph for Exoplanets
Jason Wright (Pennsylvania State University)
[175.20] | Press Release

Living with “Goldilocks” K Dwarfs: Stellar Effects on Hosted Planets
Edward F. Guinan (Villanova University)
[352.02] | Press Release

Wednesday, 8 January 2020, 2:15 pm HST
Astronomy Confronts Satellite Constellations (Webcast Video)

Starlink & the Astronomers
Jeffrey C. Hall (Lowell Observatory)

Mega-Constellations of Satellites & Optical Astronomy
Patrick Seitzer (University of Michigan)

Satellite Constellations’ Impact on the General Public
Ruskin Hartley (International Dark Sky Association)

Radio Astronomy in a New Era of Radio Communication
Harvey Liszt (National Radio Astronomy Observatory)

Remote Access to Press Conferences

Journalists (and anyone else) unable to attend the meeting in person may tune in to our briefings streamed live on the Web — except for the Tuesday afternoon briefing, as noted above. The webcast includes audio, video, and presentation (PowerPoint or Keynote) slides, so you’ll need a broadband (high-speed) Internet connection to watch and listen. Also, your Web browser must have the free Adobe Flash plug-in (http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer).


Q&A via text chat:

  • You do not need a password to watch the webcast, but you do need a password if you want to ask questions. The password, which is the same for all the week’s briefings, is available only to recognized journalists and public information officers. Contact AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg and/or AAS Media Fellow Tarini Konchady in advance. If you wait till the last minute to request the password, you’ll have little hope of receiving it in time.
  • Make sure your pop-up blocker is disabled or that it allows pop-ups from aas.org.
  • Click the “Open Chat Window” link below the webcast video.
  • If you haven’t registered with our Rocket Chat service before, you will need to do so before you can enter the chat room.
    • In the pop-up box, click the “Register a new account” link below the blue Login button.
    • Enter your name, email address, a password that you will remember, and the password again to confirm that you’ve typed it correctly; then click the blue “Register a new account” button.
    • On the next screen, specify a username (it will probably default to your first initial and last name; accept that, or change it to firstname.lastname or something similar that will enable us to recognize you); then click the blue “Use this username” button.
  • At the bottom of the pop-up box, enter the AAS 235 chat room password that you got from the AAS Press Officer or AAS Media Fellow and click the blue “Join” button.
  • You can resize the chat window and move it to any convenient position on your screen so it remains accessible but doesn’t block the webcast video.
  • To ask a question, type it into the input box near the bottom of the chat window and click the paper airplane icon.

You need to follow most of the preceding steps only once, when you register with Rocket Chat. After that, you can just go to the webcast page and click the “Open Chat Window” button under the video; that will take you straight into the chat room. You might not even have to log back in or reenter the password — the chat site seems to remember who you are most of the time.

After the meeting, archived webcasts will be freely available via our online archive, which links to the individual briefing videos on the AAS Press Office YouTube channel.

NRAO Press Reception

Sunday, 5 January 2020, 5:30 to 6:30 pm
HCC Room 325AB

Press registrants are invited to attend a reception hosted by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) beginning at 5:30 pm on Sunday, 5 January, in Room 325AB (the press-conference room) at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. NRAO Director Tony Beasley and other NRAO astronomers will be on hand to provide updates and answer questions about ongoing and planned NRAO projects informally over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Thanks to Iris Nijman, NRAO News and Public Information Manager, for arranging this press reception.

Press Tour to Haleakala

On Thursday, 9 January, a baker’s dozen press registrants will be visiting Haleakala (“House of the Sun”), the larger of the two dormant shield volcanos that make up the island of Maui, for a behind-the-scenes tour of several of the observatories that dot the 10,000-foot summit. Stops include the 4-meter-aperture Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST), which is nearing completion and will be the world’s largest solar telescope when it goes into operation next year; the 1.8-meter Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS), which discovered the remarkable interstellar asteroid ‘Oumuamua; and the 2-meter Faulkes Telescope North, one node in the world-spanning Las Cumbres Observatory network, on which the stars never set. Note that there’s a related Town Hall entitled “DKIST Commissioning and Start of Operations” on Sunday, 5 January, at 7:00 pm in HCC Room 313B.

The tour is already full, so we can’t accept any more sign-ups. If you’re one of the confirmed participants (you should have received an email to that effect from AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg), please make sure you’ve added your travel details to the online sign-up form. Thanks to Claire Raftery (National Solar Observatory), Ivy Kupec (National Science Foundation), Michael Maberry (Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii), and Mark Elphick (Las Cumbres Observatory) for their help in arranging this tour!

Opening & Closing Receptions

Both of these catered events (with cash bar) are open to all attendees and registered guests. Note the different locations.

Saturday, 4 January 2020, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
AAS Opening Reception
Great Lawn, Hilton Hawai‘ian Village

Wednesday, 8 January 2020, 5:30 to 7:00 pm
AAS Closing Reception
Rooftop, Hawai‘i Convention Center

Prize Lectures & Invited Talks

Among the highlights of every AAS meeting are plenary lectures by recent AAS prize winners and other distinguished astronomers. Prize lectures and invited talks shine a spotlight on the most exciting areas of current astronomical research and feature insights from some of the sharpest minds working to deepen our understanding of the universe. All plenaries occur in HCC Ballroom AB. Session numbers are shown in [square brackets].

Sunday, 5 January 2020

8:00 am to 8:10 am
[100] Welcome Address by AAS President
Megan Donahue (Michigan State University)

8:10 am to 9:00 am
[101] Kavli Foundation Plenary Lecture:
Black Holes Snacking on Stars: A Systematic Exploration of Transients in Galaxy Nuclei
Suvi Gezari (University of Maryland)

11:40 am to 12:30 pm
[140] He Lani Ko Luna, A Sky Above: In Losing the Sight of Land You Discover the Stars
Kalepa & Kala Baybayan (Polynesian Voyaging Society)

3:40 pm to 4:30 pm
[165] HAD LeRoy E. Doggett Prize Lecture:
From the Invention of Astrophysics to the Space Age:
The Transformation of Astronomy 1860-1990
Robert Smith (University of Alberta)

4:40 pm to 5:30 pm
[166] Henry Norris Russell Lecture:
Intriguing Revelations from Lithium, Beryllium, and Boron
Ann M. Boesgaard (University of Hawai‘i)

Monday, 6 January 2020

8:00 am to 8:10 am
[200] AAS Prize Presentations
Megan Donahue (Michigan State University)

8:10 am to 9:00 am
[201] The Role of Feedback in the Evolution of Galaxies
Tim Heckman (John Hopkins University)

11:40 am to 12:30 pm
[242] Helen B. Warner Prize:
Not Your Grandparents’ Galaxy: The Milky Way in the Era of Large Surveys
Jo Bovy (University of Toronto)

3:40 pm to 4:20 pm
[267] The Stewardship of Maunakea’s Legacy from the
Perspective of the Hawaiian and Astronomical Communities
Amy Kalili (Ōiwi Television Network)

4:40 pm to 5:30 pm
[268] HEAD Bruno Rossi Prize:
Kilonovae from Merging Neutron Stars
Brian Metzger (Columbia University) & Dan Kasen (University of California, Berkeley)

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

8:10 am to 9:00 am
[300] Dannie Heineman Prize:
Making a Habitable Planet
Edwin (Ted) Bergin (University of Michigan)

11:40 am to 12:30 pm
[340] Fast Radio Bursts
Jason Hessels (ASTRON & University of Amsterdam)

3:40 pm to 4:30 pm
[362] RAS Gold Medal Lecture:
Star Formation and Galaxy Evolution Through the Lens of a Scaling Law
Rob Kennicutt (University of Arizona)

4:40 pm to 5:30 pm
[363] Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Now I Know What You Are
Jennifer van Saders (University of Hawaiʻi )

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

8:10 am to 9:00 am
[400] Diet of the Stars: Mass Accretion and Mass Loss
Andrea Dupree (Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian)

11:40 am to 12:30 pm
[421] The Future of Infrared Astronomy in the Context of Spitzer, SOFIA, and JWST
Peter Eisenhardt (JPL) & James De Buizer (SOFIA Science Center)

3:20 pm to 4:30 pm
[446] Newton Lacy Pierce Prize:
Life and Times of the Lowest Mass Galaxies
Daniel R. Weisz (University of California, Berkeley)

4:40 pm to 5:30 pm
[447] Lancelot M. Berkeley Prize:
The Event Horizon Telescope: Imaging a Black Hole
Sheperd S. Doeleman (Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian)

Town Halls & Open Houses

The Honolulu program features numerous lunchtime and evening Town Hall gatherings and Open Houses, where you can interact with representatives from funding agencies, advisory groups, ground-based observatories, and space-astronomy missions.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

12:45 pm to 1:45 pm
[141] Town Hall: The National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s)
National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory
Room 313A

12:45 pm to 1:45 pm
[142] Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) Town Hall
Room 313B

12:45 pm to 1:45 pm
[143] NASA Town Hall
Ballroom AB

6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
[183] James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Town Hall
Room 313A

7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
[181] Town Hall:
Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) Commissioning and Start of Operations
Room 313B

7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
US Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) Program Open House
Room 306AB

Monday, 6 January 2020

12:45 pm to 1:45 pm
[243] Accessible Astronomy Town Hall
Room 313A

5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Open House
Room 301A

6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
[291] Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) Town Hall
Room 313A

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

12:45 pm to 1:45 pm
[339] Implementing Astro2020: Status Report on the
National Academies’ Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics
Ballroom AB

1:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Arecibo Observatory Open House
Room 307B

5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Mid-Scale Observatories (MSO) / Community Science and Data Center (CSDC) Open House:
The National Optical Astronomy Observatory’s (NOAO’s) Transition to the National
Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory
Room 301B

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Gemini Observatory Open House
Room 304AB

6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
[383] National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) Town Hall
Room 313B

7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
[384] Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Town Hall
Room 313B

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
An Evening with the Maunakea Observatories
Room 323A

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

12:45 pm to 1:45 pm
[422] Town Hall: Multi-Messenger Astrophysics at NASA & the National Science Foundation
Room 313A

12:45 pm to 1:45 pm
[423] American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO):
Optimum Science from Connecting Professionals with Citizen Volunteers
Room 313B

Public Events

These three events are open not only to registered attendees at the AAS meeting, but also to the general public. Note that the first one, which conflicts with the AAS Opening Reception, has an admission charge; the other two are free

Saturday, 4 January 2020, 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
“The Planets 360” at the Bishop Museum Planetarium
Bishop Museum (1525 Bernice St.)

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) in the United Kingdom encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics, and closely related branches of science. Founded in 1820, the RAS is kicking off its bicentennial celebration with a special planetarium show at the Bishop Museum planetarium, about a 20-minute drive from the convention center. “The Planets 360” is a re-imagining of British composer Gustav Holst’s The Planets suite, an immersive experience fusing art, music, and science into a 360° spectacle. Afterward, weather permitting, the Hawai‘ian Astronomical Society will set up telescopes on the observation deck to show visitors celestial highlights of the January evening sky. Admission to the show, including access to the museum and observatory, is $10.

Sunday, 5 January 2020, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Public Stargazing Party
Ala Moana Beach Park (1201 Ala Moana Blvd.)

Enjoy an evening under the Moon and stars, with telescopes provided by local professional and amateur astronomers eager to answer your questions about what’s in the sky tonight.

Monday, 6 January 2020, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Public Talk: Physics of Pō
Larry Kimura (University of Hawai‘i) & Doug Simons (Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope)
HCC Room 311

“Physics of Po” explores the intersection of astronomy and Hawai‘ian culture by examining the first 11 lines of the 2,102-line Kumulipo, a thousand-year-old Hawai‘ian creation chant whose name means “beginning in deep darkness.” Kimura, an associate professor of the Hawai‘ian language, and Simons, director of one of the observatories atop Maunakea, discuss parallels between the text of the chant and our scientific understanding of the creation and evolution of the universe. The first time they gave the presentation, in July 2019 at the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo, they spoke to a sold-out, standing-room-only crowd that paid rapt attention and asked a wide variety of thoughtful questions.

WorldWide Telescope Workshop

Sunday, 5 January 2020, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Making the Most of the AAS WorldWide Telescope
Peter Williams (AAS & Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian)
Room 307B

WorldWide Telescope (WWT), originally developed at Microsoft Research, is the AAS’s official tool for visually exploring humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe. WWT is primarily a website that allows users to interactively explore terabytes of astronomical data in a seamlessly integrated 4-D simulation of the known universe. But the open-source WWT software ecosystem also includes a Windows application that can power planetariums, a cloud-based web service for discovering and sharing astronomical data, and a Python module that allows astronomers to integrate WWT into their research.

This interactive tutorial, which will introduce attendees to the WWT software ecosystem in the context of its applications to research, education, and public outreach, may be of interest to press registrants. Bring your own laptop; the WWT team recommends running the web version in Google’s Chrome browser.

AAS on Twitter

During the meeting, AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg will post announcements of interest to reporters on Twitter at @AAS_Press. Other AAS Twitter handles include @AAS_Office, @AAS_Policy, @AAS_Publishing, and @AASNova. Journalists (and scientists) tweeting from the meeting are encouraged to use the hashtag #aas235.

A Note on Visas for Travel to the United States

Visa requirements for international travelers to the USA have become more stringent; see, for example, the following web pages:

Depending on your country of citizenship and how you characterize your trip to St. Louis, you may not need a visa. If you do need one, it could be either a B-1 or B-2 (business) visa or an I (journalism) visa. You are responsible for figuring out whether you need a visa and, if so, which one.

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.

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