#AAS239 Virtual Events
Although the 239th AAS meeting has been canceled, we are striving to support grassroots efforts to virtualize some portions of the canceled meeting and are working with town hall organizers to hold their events as free webinars in the coming months. The press conference program will move forward as planned in a virtual Zoom webinar format.
Cosmology with the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope: 27 January, 10:00 am ET
AAS Press Conferences: 10-13 January
Astronomy, a Gathering: 11 January, all day
NASA Astrophysics Virtual Town Hall: 11 January, 2:45 pm ET
NSF/AST Community Webinar: 12 January, 11:00 am ET
SOFIA Virtual Events: 10-13 January
Origins Workshop — Interstellar Medium, Star, and Cluster Formation: 10-12 January
CosmoPalooza: 12-13 January
23 December 2021
The AAS Board of Trustees has voted to not hold the virtual portion of the 239th AAS meeting. AAS 240 will be programmatically adjusted to be the major astronomical meeting of 2022. It will be held in Pasadena, California, 12–16 June 2022. We encourage all individuals who contributed talks and posters for AAS 239 to submit for AAS 240. Most of the plenary and prize talks scheduled for AAS 239 will take place at AAS 240. All virtual and in-person registration fees will be refunded in the coming weeks.
The Society will strive to support grassroots efforts to virtualize some portions of the canceled AAS 239 meeting such as special sessions. But special sessions approved for AAS 239 will also receive preference for scheduling at AAS 240. We will work with town hall organizers to hold their events as free webinars in the coming months. The press conference program will move forward as planned in a virtual Zoom webinar format. Those briefings are open to anyone to attend; Zoom links and the speaker schedule will be announced in early January.
The Board of Trustees is particularly concerned about the lost networking opportunities for early-career scientists due to the canceled meeting. Therefore, we are exploring the possibility of providing scheduled dissertation talks as a spring-time webinar series, as well as looking into some virtual networking opportunities in the short term.
We will convene a Task Force, including members of the community and in particular early-career scientists and relevant committee members, to develop ideas for how to hold the June 2022 meeting and future meetings in a way that prioritizes effective networking, safety, and inclusion.
Unfortunately, the Society cannot assist with hotel reservation cancellations for hotels outside of the contracted AAS 239 meeting hotels. But if any registrant has a challenge with one of the official meeting hotels, we will assist with refund requests as needed.
We will reach out to our exhibitors and sponsors separately in the coming days and we thank you for your continued patience and support.
#AAS239 In-Person Meeting Canceled
22 December 2021
The AAS Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to cancel the in-person component of the 239th AAS meeting. The rapid rise of the COVID-19 Omicron variant and the health risks it poses to our staff, attendees, exhibitors, and support contractors coupled with the likely spread of the virus by attendees to others after the conference was deemed to be too significant a risk to hold the meeting. In addition, international and institutional travel restrictions have already impacted some of our speakers and attendees, limiting their ability to travel to Salt Lake City at all. We have also received and weighed community feedback regarding canceling the in-person meeting, with the majority favoring a cancellation. Most people who submitted feedback also thanked the Board for listening and many recognized the challenging decision they have to make and expressed their support for the Board of Trustees.
The AAS staff and Vice Presidents (VPs) have been working extremely hard over the past few weeks to finalize the first in-person meeting since January 2020 and are extremely disappointed to have to cancel. Although we successfully managed to pivot to a virtual conference in June 2020, it took three full months and the help of many contractors to successfully support the full virtual meeting. It is not possible at this moment to convert to a fully virtual conference.
The cancellation of the meeting will carry additional costs, but we believe we can mitigate much of them and the cancellation will not seriously impact the financial health of the Society.
We will be issuing full refunds to all in-person registrants and exhibitors. This process will take some time as we do not retain credit card information on file for security reasons. If the virtual meeting does not take place, we will also refund all virtual meeting registrants.
The Board recognizes how much our community was looking forward to meeting in person and we have heard from numerous early-career members who acutely feel the impact of an in-person meeting cancellation. The Board is eager to help find novel ways for our community members to have meaningful interactions and we value your input on ways we can meet that goal outside of an in-person or virtual meeting. You may email the Board at AAS239feedback@aas.org with your suggestions.
The Board will work with the meetings team and the VPs to discuss whether and how to move forward with a virtual meeting of some form in the coming days. We will inform the community of their decisions as soon as possible, via the AAS website and emails.