243rd meeting

Press Information

New Orleans, Louisiana
243rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society
New Orleans, Louisiana
7 – 11 January 2024

28 November 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 243rd AAS Meeting in New Orleans in January

More than 2,500 astronomers and affiliates will be gathering in New Orleans, Louisiana, this January for the 243rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). From 7 to 11 January 2024 — the year of the AAS’s 125th anniversary — astronomers, students, educators, and journalists will come together at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (900 Convention Center Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70130) for a full schedule of scientific presentations, community-building workshops, town halls, career sessions, and more. Social media hashtag: #aas243

The AAS offers complimentary in-person press registration to bona fide working journalists and public-information officers (PIOs), as explained below. A highlight of AAS 243 for press registrants will be a press tour to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston, LA, on Friday, 12 January; see below for details. 

AAS 243 Meeting Links

Press Registration

AAS 243 will be an in-person meeting only; there will be no virtual attendance option for the general meeting. The press conferences, however, can be attended both in person and virtually via Zoom.

In-Person Press Attendance:

The AAS offers complimentary in-person meeting registration to bona fide working journalists and public information officers (PIOs). To request press registration, first check our eligibility criteria, then contact the AAS Press Office with your name and media affiliation (or “freelance” if applicable); please specify "AAS 243 IN-PERSON press registration" in the subject line. If your eligibility is confirmed, you'll receive a special promotional code that you can use to register for the meeting the same way regular attendees do, i.e., via the AAS 243 registration page.

Virtual Press Attendance (press conferences only):

If you do not plan to be on-site in New Orleans but you would like to attend the press conferences virtually, contact the AAS Press Office with your name and media affiliation (or “freelance” if applicable); please specify "AAS 243 VIRTUAL press conference attendance" in the subject line. You will be added to a virtual press conference attendance list and will be sent the press conference schedule and Zoom webinar links in advance of the meeting.

Press registration deadline: Wednesday, 3 January 2024. 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. Full instructions and registration links are available on the AAS 243 press information page.

Press Facilities

The AAS will operate a press office in Room 230 on Level 2 of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, with working space, printer/photocopier, power strips, and internet connectivity for reporters and PIOs. 

Press conferences will be hosted daily Monday – Thursday, 8–11 January, 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 press conference viewers. 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 229 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, Room 228 on Level 2, 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

Press registrants will have the opportunity to join for a special tour after AAS 243 of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) installation in Livingston, Louisiana. The tour will be held on Friday, 12 January; more information will follow in a future announcement. To sign up and to ensure you receive future news about this tour, please fill out the online expression of interest form.

Program Points of Interest

Division Meetings

This winter’s AAS meeting will be jointly held with the AAS’s Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) and High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD). 

The HAD meeting will include a session on astronomy during epidemics and pandemics and a special AAS 125th anniversary session celebrating the history of the AAS’s Divisions. Wayne Orchiston (University of Science and Technology of China) will give the 2024 LeRoy E. Doggett Prize lecture overviewing his studies of astronomical histories of New Zealand, Australia, Asia, and more.

HEAD’s special sessions will include a status update on the X-ray Imaging Spectrometry Mission (XRISM) and “High-Energy Observations of Stellar-Mass Compact Objects: A Tribute to Tomaso Belloni.” Princeton University’s Anatoly Spitkovsky will present the HEAD Bruno Rossi Prize lecture.

Prize Lectures & Invited Talks

AAS 243 will offer a whopping 17 prize and invited talks by distinguished astronomers. The meeting opens on Monday morning, 8 January, with the Fred Kavli Plenary Lecture, which will be presented by Stephen Taylor (Vanderbilt University) on behalf of the NANOGrav Collaboration. His talk will overview the exciting recent results from this pulsar timing array and the dawn of gravitational-wave astronomy at light-year wavelengths. The closing plenary talk, on Thursday afternoon, 11 January, is the Lancelot M. Berkeley – New York Community Trust Prize lecture, to be given by Wen-fai Fong (Northwestern University) on her work studying exploding astrophysical phenomena and their host galaxies. 

This year, the Henry Norris Russell Lecture will be in honor of eminent theoretical astrophysicist Frank Shu (1943–2023; University of California, Berkeley, and University of California, San Diego) and will be delivered by Susana Lizano (UNAM: Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics Institute) on Shu’s legacy in unraveling star formation.

The Dannie Heineman Prize for outstanding mid-career work in the field of astrophysics is given jointly by the AAS and the American Institute of Physics. The 2022 Heineman Prize lecture will be presented by Karen Meech (University of Hawai’i’s Institute for Astronomy), who was honored for her pioneering work expanding and pushing boundaries in the field of small-body solar-system observational science.

Two Helen B. Warner Prize winners will give plenaries at AAS 243: the 2022 awardee, Brett McGuire (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and the 2023 awardee, Ana Bonaca (Carnegie Observatories), who will speak on how we can use the Milky Way as a cosmological laboratory. In addition, two Annie Jump Cannon Award winners will speak: the 2023 awardee, Marta L. Bryan (University of Toronto), and the 2022 awardee, Eve Lee (McGill University), who will present on theories of planet formation.

Rounding out the prize lectures at AAS 243, Renee Ludlam (Wayne State University) will give this year’s Newton Lacey Pierce Prize lecture on using X-ray observations to characterize the properties of accreting neutron stars.

In addition, there will be a host of invited plenaries by distinguished speakers. On Monday, noted physicist and author Alan Lightman (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) will speak on the rarity of life in the universe, and on Tuesday, Jack Burns (University of Colorado Boulder) will give an overview of radio astrophysics and cosmology from the Moon. We’ll also hear from Sukanya Chakrabarti (University of Alabama, Huntsville) on Tuesday and Jamie Bock (California Institute of Technology) on Wednesday. Thursday will feature Lia Epperson (American University - Washington College of Law), a nationally recognized expert in the areas of constitutional law, civil rights, and education policy, who will give the Committee on Astronomy and Public Policy (CAPP) Plenary Lecture.

Town Halls, Special Sessions, Splinter Meetings

Additional programming includes 11 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 and Splinter Meetings, a few examples that may be of interest to the media are: 

  • Accelerating Astro2020 with Super-heavy Launchers
  • Early Science with Rubin LSST
  • SN 2023ixf: The Closest Supernova in a Decade
  • Stratospheric and Ground-Based Remote Sensing During Solar Eclipses
  • How Decadal Survey Priorities Become National Policy
  • Direct Imaging of Black Holes: Recent Results and Future Prospects

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

Visa requirements for international travelers to the USA have become more stringent, and travel restrictions and measures may be in place for US citizens and international citizens entering the country. If you are an international traveler, you are responsible for determining the current 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.