242nd meeting

Press Information

Albuquerque, New Mexico
242nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society
Albuquerque, New Mexico
4 – 8 June 2023

28 April 2023 (materials updated 23 May 2023)


Susanna Kohler
AAS Press Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x127

Kerry Hensley
AAS Deputy Press Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x138

Media Invited to 242nd AAS Meeting in Albuquerque in June

Astronomers will be gathering in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this June for the 242nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). From 4 to 8 June 2023, astronomers, students, educators, and journalists will come together at the Albuquerque Convention Center (401 2nd St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102) and online for a fully hybrid, loaded schedule of scientific presentations, community-building workshops, town halls, career sessions, and more. Social media hashtag: #aas242.

The AAS offers complimentary press registration — with both in-person and virtual options available — to bona fide working journalists and public-information officers (PIOs), as explained below. A highlight of AAS 242 for press registrants will be a behind-the-scenes press tour to the Very Large Array (VLA) on Thursday, 8 June; see below for details and to register interest (registration is limited, so sign up early!).

AAS 242 Meeting Links

Press Registration

The AAS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and PIOs who meet the eligibility criteria, as described on the AAS press website.

Press registration deadline: Wednesday, 31 May 2023. After this date, we will be unable to process your press registration to attend the meeting. We strongly advise you register in advance to avoid last-minute complications; please send your email request to [email protected] as soon as you know you’re attending the meeting.

There will be two options available to press registrants at AAS 242:

  1. Virtual Participation Press Registration
    This option provides online access to virtual meeting content, which will include live-streamed plenary talks, town halls, oral sessions, and press conferences; the iPoster gallery; and the AAS 242 Slack workspace. Content excluded: in-person receptions, some in-person-only Splinter Sessions and workshops, and press tour.
  2. In-Person Press – Full Meeting Registration
    This option provides admittance to all in-person meeting events, sessions, and spaces, and it includes access to all virtual content. We ask that you only select the full registration if you do intend to go to Albuquerque, so that we can obtain an approximate on-site head count in advance.

Press registration for AAS 242 will consist of two steps:

  1. Request complimentary press registration by sending an email message to the AAS Press Office at [email protected] with your name and media affiliation (or “freelance” if applicable). Upon confirmation of your eligibility, you’ll be sent the url of the online registration form and the required press-registration code.
  2. Use the press registration code from step 1 to submit your registration for the meeting.

Full instructions and registration links are available on the AAS 242 press information page.

Press Facilities

The AAS will operate a press office in Room 210 on Level 2 of the Albuquerque 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 conferences will be hosted daily Monday – Wednesday, 5–7 June, to showcase some of the most exciting recent astronomical discoveries. We expect two briefings each day, each lasting around an hour. The briefings will be held on-site and live-streamed on Zoom for virtual meeting participation. They will also be live-streamed on the AAS Press Office YouTube channel (where you will not be able to ask questions; to do that, you will need to participate via Zoom) and archived there.

Press conferences will be held in Room 240 on Level 2. Briefing schedule, topics, and speakers will be announced via another media advisory closer to the meeting date; as always, the press program will be subject to change.  

A dedicated press interview space, San Juan Room (#22), Lower Level West Complex, will be available Sunday through Thursday for use by press registrants; use the online signup sheet here to reserve this room for use at specific dates and times.

Press Tour

Join the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Very Large Array (VLA) in Socorro, New Mexico on Thursday, 8 June 2023. This tour will be separate from the tour offered to non-press meeting registrants.

You will learn the history, mechanics, and science mission of the VLA along with receiving a primer to the science mission for the upcoming next generation Very Large Array. Depending on weather, the NRAO will offer all media tour guests an antenna climb while on the site in addition to time allocated to speak with on-site engineers, scientists, and staff. Transportation to and from the VLA, lunch, water, snacks, hard hats, and media kits are included for all participants; there is no registration cost.

The tour will leave the convention center at 10 am on Thursday morning (immediately following the closing breakfast). The drive to the VLA from Albuquerque takes approximately 2 hours, and we will spend roughly 2-3 hours on the site, so please plan to spend a full day visiting and learning more about the VLA and radio astronomy.

What to bring: Please wear closed-toe shoes (no sandals!) and long pants; these are required to participate in the antenna climb at the VLA. As June in Socorro can be either windy and chilly or very hot, we suggest bringing a jacket, a hat, and sunscreen.

Due to the antenna climb, the number of registrants allowed on this tour is limited. To express interest, please fill out the form here. If interest exceeds the number of participants allowed, members of the media will be given priority over PIOs and participation will otherwise be decided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Program Points of Interest

Prize Lectures & Invited Talks

AAS 242 will offer more than a dozen prize and invited talks by distinguished astronomers. The meeting opens on Monday morning, 5 June, with the Kavli Foundation Plenary Lecture, which will be presented by Daniel Scolnic (Duke University) on his work with the Pantheon+SH0ES collaboration to pin down measurements of our universe's expansion.

Several AAS and Division award winners will give prize lectures at the conference. We'll hear from Bin Chen (New Jersey Institute of Technology), winner of the Solar Physics Division (SPD) Harvey Prize, about his research on the physics of solar flares. George Fisher (University of California Berkeley’s Space Sciences Lab), winner of SPD's Hale Prize, will speak on our current understanding of the dynamics of the magnetic field and plasma in the interior and atmosphere of the Sun. Edwin (Ted) Bergin (University of Michigan), winner of the 2019 Dannie Heineman Prize jointly awarded by the AAS and the American Institute of Physics, will present on how planets form, as understood by following the supply of carbon in our universe.

Plenary talks will be given by Greg Taylor (University of New Mexico) on low-frequency radio astronomy, Julia Blue Bird (National Radio Astronomy Observatory) on studies of galaxy evolution with the COSMOS HI Large Extragalactic Survey, Joel Kastner (Rochester Institute of Technology) on planetary nebulae, and Kathryne (Kate) Daniel (University of Arizona) on the intersection of astronomy with indigenous communities. Further plenary speakers will include Klaus Pontoppidan (Space Telescope Science Institute), Meenakshi (Mini) Wadhwa (Arizona State University), Sean Jones (National Science Foundation), Linda Shore (Astronomical Society of the Pacific), and Jeyhan Kartaltepe (Rochester Institute of Technology).

Preparation for the North American Solar Eclipses

Two major solar eclipses are coming to North America. On 14 October 2023 an annular (“ring”) eclipse sweeps in a narrow path from Oregon to Texas. Then, on 8 April 2024, a total solar eclipse darkens a similarly narrow swath from Mexico to Eastern Canada, traversing the US from Texas to Maine in the process. On both dates virtually all of North America outside the paths will have at least some degree of partial solar eclipse.

AAS 242 will include several sessions on work undertaken by the community in preparation for these solar eclipses coming to North America, including:

  • Press Backgrounder: Get Ready for the North American Solar Eclipses
    The AAS invites reporters, editors, and producers to a press backgrounder to help you prepare your audiences to experience the North American solar eclipses. Panelists will include members of the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force and the Albuquerque eclipse-planning community. They’ll describe how the 2023 and 2024 solar eclipses will unfold, identify the best places to see them, explain how to view the Sun safely, highlight some eclipse-watching events in Albuquerque, and mention some of the solar research to be undertaken by professional and citizen scientists.
  • Public Interest Event: Two Solar Eclipses Are Coming to Albuquerque!
    To help prepare the local population to experience the 2023 and 2024 solar eclipses, this free public presentation is being organized jointly by the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force and the outreach team for NASA’s PUNCH (Polarimeter to UNify the Corona and Heliosphere) mission. Reflecting the region’s wonderful diversity and rich history of Sun-watching, this event will feature multiple speakers expressing a mix of scientific, cultural, and historical perspectives on solar eclipses. Tickets are required; get them for free at the link above or from the meeting website!


AAS 242 will feature several options for excursions before, during, and after the meeting, including:

  • “Eclipse” petroglyph tour in Chaco Canyon (Saturday, 3 June) and a visit to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center & New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (Sunday, 4 June)
  • Forward! To the Moon - Join astronaut Harrison "Jack" Schmitt for an all-dome planetarium screening (Monday, 5 June)
  • Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer open house (Friday, 9 June)

Press registrants may sign up for these tours during registration (note that some excursions carry an additional cost).

Additional Content

This summer's AAS meeting will be jointly held with the Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD). The LAD meeting will include several sessions throughout the week, including sub-meetings on the role of laboratory plasma experiments in astrophysics, hard metal astrophysics, and the world of databases.

Additional AAS 242 programming includes five lunchtime and evening Town Hall meetings on astronomy and public policy featuring representatives from major astronomy organizations, facilities, and missions. Among the many Special Sessions, Splinter Meetings, and Meetings-in-a-Meeting, a few examples that may be of interest to the media are:

  • The What and Why of Open Science
  • First Results from the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey
  • Great Observatories Maturation Program (GOMAP)
  • The Present and Future of High Resolution Imaging with Optical and Radio Interferometry
  • Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Astronomy

A Note on Visas and COVID-19 Restrictions for Travel to the United States

If you are an international traveler, you are responsible for determining the current COVID-19 travel restrictions and visa requirements that apply to you. Additional information is available from the US State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you need a letter for a visa application certifying that you are registered for the meeting, please request your complimentary press registration as soon as possible; only after you complete it can the AAS Press Office send you such a letter.

AAS Press List

If you don't already receive press releases by email from the AAS Press Office, you should sign up now to guarantee that you receive future meeting advisories as well as other important announcements. To sign up for the AAS Press List at 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 from the AAS, as described on our press-credentials page.