243rd meeting

Registration & Events

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

Please note that workshop participation is only available for meeting registrants; all workshop participants must be registered for the meeting in some capacity.

Multimessenger Astronomers, Unite! A Practical Dress Rehearsal for LISA Discovering a Massive Black Hole Merger
Saturday, Jan 6: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday, Jan 7: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm 

LISA, a joint ESA/LISA mission, will open an especially rich gravitational wave window on the Universe, with tens of millions of white dwarf binaries, intermediate mass black hole mergers, and Milky Way mass black hole mergers detectable out beyond redshift 20. This workshop will combine lectures on gravitational waves, extragalactic astronomy, equity, and massive black holes with a hands-on mock LISA data challenge in which teams of gravitational wave and electromagnetic astronomers work together to identify the host galaxy to a massive black hole merger. An important aspect of this workshop is its simultaneous focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Teams will focus on developing inclusive and equitable practices as they work together through case studies, and lectures will feature the life experience and identities of the speakers as a whole person.

Foundations of Astronomical Data Science
Saturday, Jan 6: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm  
Sunday, Jan 7: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

 As the astronomical community moves into an era of big data, the paradigm of data processing is changing. We are transitioning from local end-to-end data processing (from taking or simulating observations to publishing the data) to retrieving pre-processed large datasets through database queries. The growing importance of such transactions are evident with current projects such as TESS, Gaia, SDSS, ZTF, HST, and Illustris and will become a necessity to fully utilize the next generation of astronomical surveys, telescopes, and simulations. Interaction with these databases and visualization of these complex datasets will be essential skills. This workshop will introduce participants to selecting information from an online database in an efficient and reproducible way and effectively visualizing the results. 
The Astronomy Data Carpentry Workshop will consist of short tutorials alternating with hands-on practical exercises focused on building complex SQL queries using Astroquery, working with the retrieved data as Astropy Tables and Pandas data frames, storing the data locally for future use, and communicating the results with clear and compelling figures using Matplotlib. The workshop will be run by two Carpentries certified instructors as well as a team of helpers. 
This course is aimed at astronomers at all stages of their education and careers. Participants are expected to have shell and Python knowledge equivalent to the Software Carpentry Python Curriculum (https://swcarpentry.github.io/python-novice-inflammation/): the ability to write a function in Python, familiarity with Python built-in types such as lists and dictionaries, and the ability to navigate directories using the command line. In addition, this lesson assumes that learners have some familiarity with astronomical concepts, including reference frames, proper motion, color-magnitude diagrams, globular clusters, and isochrones. 
Registration is for both days and due to the cumulative nature of the workshop, participants are expected to participate in both days fully. Participants will need personal computers and to be able to install software in advance of the workshop. A group list will be compiled approximately one month prior to the workshop to distribute software requirements and provide collaborative troubleshooting. More information on the Data Carpentry project can be found at https://datacarpentry.org and on this curriculum at https://datacarpentry.org/astronomy-python/.  

NASA’s TESS Mission Interactive Data 
Saturday, Jan 6: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm  
No cost

NASA’s TESS mission (launched in 2018) provides the community with high cadence, optical time-series across the sky, with nearly-continuous observations lasting between 27 days and one year. TESS operations have been extended through at least September 2025, and so TESS will continue to provide time-series data for users on hundreds of thousands of targets, as well as Full Frame Images of >2000 square degrees of the sky each month. These observations provide valuable resources for a wide range of astronomy; the detection of exoplanets, the investigation of stellar variability, the identification of extra-galactic transient events, the study of AGN, and more. 
This full day workshop is presented to the community to learn about TESS, learn how to obtain data (and research funding!) through the TESS General Investigator Program, and learn how to quickly get to work with the data, all of which is available with no exclusive access period. This workshop is ideal for both new and established users of TESS data. New users can expect to learn where to get started with obtaining and using data. More experienced users can expect to learn about the 200s observing mode and updated analysis techniques. We strongly encourage participation from scientists at all career-stages, working on extragalactic astronomy, stellar astronomy, exoplanet astronomy. We additionally encourage attendance from anyone interested in proposing for TESS observations. 
The workshop will consist of; i) short talks introducing the NASA TESS mission ii) explanations of how to propose for TESS observations and obtain research funding in upcoming proposal calls iii) tutorials on working with TESS data and iv) an interactive work-with-the-experts session to show you how to work with TESS data on your own targets. Please bring a laptop for this in person interactive session! 

Observing in the Big Data Era: A Hands-On Workshop with the Tools to Manage Astronomical Observing Programs and Data
Saturday, Jan 6: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
No cost 

Many astronomical programs need to coordinate follow up observations of astronomical targets and events, and to visualize and explore the associated data. An ecosystem of services and tools is developing to meet this need, with alert brokers classifying discoveries from large surveys, TOM systems to coordinate observations and analyze follow-up data, TreasureMap to visualize and coordinate observing plans, and HERMES to send human and machine-readable messages. With modern surveys, like the Zwicky Transient Facility and soon, the Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), producing millions of discovery alerts per night, this is becoming challenging, especially for transient science. Time is often of the essence to gather information on new discoveries and coordinate follow-up observations. Software that can manage this data flow has proven extremely powerful for science projects, large and small, but they can be difficult and time consuming to develop from scratch. 
In this workshop, you’ll have a chance to learn about the open source tools available to help you run your science program, and get the greatest science return from Big Data discovery engines. 
We will discuss how scientists can exploit the full functionality of alert brokers, obtain, synthesize, and visualize data, with a Target and Observation Manager (TOM), and share their results through data sharing services such as Hermes and TreasureMap. The workshop will be an informal opportunity to get hands-on experience with these tools, with the support of LCO’s professional software development team. 

Engage with NASA’s Science Activation Program: Tools for using NASA Astrophysics in Informal STEM Learning 
Saturday, Jan 6: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm  
No cost

Would you like to engage with STEM learners in venues such as museums, science centers, planetariums, libraries, and community colleges? Do you work with these audiences already or do you want to reach them?  

Join us for a workshop to learn how NASA’s Science Activation teams are working to meet the needs of learners and science experts, how you can become involved, and walk away with NASA resources, developed by Science Activation programs, that you can use in your own outreach efforts. 

Moving through a series of stations, participants will connect with programs looking for expert volunteers to help deliver current and accurate NASA astrophysics content to audiences across the country, explore current astrophysics themes and learning pathways, and learn about programs and resources for working with different audiences.

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has funded a cooperative network of competitively-selected teams to connect NASA’s science, data, and science experts with learners of all ages in a way that activates minds and promotes deeper understanding of our world and beyond. Together this network of funded projects is called the Science Activation Collective (science.nasa.gov/learners). 

Strategies and Tactics to Enhance Diversity and Excellence in the Hiring Process 
Saturday, Jan 6: 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm 

This workshop will focus on best practices for equitable recruiting, interviewing, and hiring. 

The University of Michigan's STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence) committee provides information and advice to maximize the likelihood that diverse, well-qualified candidates for faculty positions will be identified, recruited, retained, and promoted at the University of Michigan. Prof. Bergin, a member of the STRIDE committee for 7 years, will provide a sample of this presentation where workshop attendees explore the research that illustrates the various ways hidden bias can be present throughout the search process. We also discuss strategies that can be applied to minimize the effects of this unconscious bias and hire the candidate you wish to attract. This session is supported by the AAS Committee on Employment. 

Saving Astronomy and the Environment: Tools and Approaches for Addressing Existential Threats 
Sunday, Jan 7: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm  

Our profession is subject to great risks posed by satellite megaconstellations, ground based light pollution, radio interference, climate change, and the environmental impacts of our operations and activities. Learning about these issues and developing approaches to educate ourselves, our students, and, in particular, those in affected disciplines (such as environmental studies, biology, urban planning, etc.) is a necessary first step to sustaining astronomy as a viable science and career. 
This workshop will pair presentations on each of the threats to the discipline with hands-on breakout periods to develop and share content, methods, and approaches for engaging and informing students, faculty, and other audiences to reduce and ultimately ameliorate their impacts to astronomy as well as the impacts of astronomy on the environment. Participants can expect to leave with actual curricular content and tools to utilize at their respective institutions and communities, as well as a commitment to utilizing those materials and conducting activities and events. 
The workshop will provide and generate simple slide decks and web materials that will allow 'plug-and-play' utilization for workshops and class presentations, as well as for dissemination and professional development for faculty and staff. These resources will form the fundamental tools that will make it straightforward for astronomers to educate others about how to reduce environmental impacts and the impacts on astronomy that these threats present. 

Best Practices for Data Publication in the Astronomical Literature
Saturday, Jan 6: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm   

This workshop will lead participants through the recommendations made in the "Best Practices for Data Publication in the Astronomical Literature" (Chen et al. 2022) article. The goal is to help early career researchers to learn how to publish their data accurately and make them more open and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). Examples will be provided to explain the justification behind these best practices recommendations. We will also showcase how, by following these guidelines, it will not only improve the scientific records, but also help streamline ingest the published data into archives, which will in turn facilitate new modes of open science discovery.  Many co-authors of this document (Mark Allen from CDS, Gus Muench AAS Data Editor, Luisa Rebull from IRSA, Raffaele D'Abrusco from Chandra, etc.) will be present to answer questions. 

Mentoring Methods for Socially Conscious Astronomers 
Saturday, Jan 6: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm  

Mentoring is part of the typical research experience, yet we usually jump into this role without any training. While most of us have good intentions, we can often let mentees down, especially if they are from marginalized groups. Bias can further strain our relationships with mentees, leading to their disillusionment, burnout, and eventually attrition. This workshop empowers astronomers at any career level committed to being excellent mentors to marginalized people. 

Mentoring Methods prepares scientists in positions of privilege and power to mentor students of marginalized identities through emotional, relational, and collective work. This workshop aims to empower academics at any career level with the tools to practice equitable and inclusive actions in their mentor-mentee relationship. Our goal in this is to provide mentors a space to practice vulnerability, authenticity, and to experience what it means to be in right relation with others.  

In this workshop, participants will learn: 

  • The aspects of traditional mentoring and how it harms everyone, especially marginalized people 
  • Introspect on how we are all complicit in and practice traditional mentoring 
  • How to unlearn oppressive values and engage in equity and justice 
  • How to practice active listening with mentees 
  • How to apply skills in different mentoring and advising scenarios  

The workshop is divided into two parts: 1) Unpacking Traditional Mentorship and 2) Moving Toward Empowered Mentorship. Participants will be guided through short concept lessons followed immediately by hands-on activities to put skills into practice. These include breakout sessions, think-pair-share, and role-playing. For accessibility, we will include a 5-minute break every 30 minutes as well as a 10-minute break in between sections.  

How to Write an Open Science & Data Management Plan 
Sunday, Jan 7: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm  
No cost

NASA’s funding solicitations (e.g. ROSES) now require Open Science and Data management plans as part of the submission process. These plans describe how the scientific information produced will be managed and made openly available. This workshop will walk you through what these plans are and how to write them. We will cover the details of describing your data products, how to make it citable, and how to make it more findable. Details of data file formats to use, how or where data can be archived, and how software written can be archived, preserved, and made publicly available. Rather than “another checkbox to be ticked”, these plans will help you get your data into the hands of other researchers leading to more citations and impact for your work. 

Data editors for the AAS Journals will contribute training on how to provide data products in the published literature. This training will include specific guidance on what can and cannot be hosted in the Journals. For larger datasets we will describe our recommendations for using domain-specific and generalist repositories in astronomy, including the benefits and pitfalls of each repository type. We will describe workflows for finding and citing data from such repositories. This training will also cover AAS Journal policies for software archiving and citation, as well as how to plan for sharing computational notebooks. We will also describe the Journals’ approach to open access and supported models of publication provided to authors. 

This workshop is being presented by NASA’s Transform to Open Science (TOPS) and the AAS Journals. 

Robotic Telescope Labs for Survey-Level Undergraduates
Sunday, Jan 7: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

For the past 15 years, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been developing a unique, survey-level astronomy curriculum, primarily for undergraduate students, with the goal of significantly boosting STEM enrollments on a national scale, as well as boosting students’ technical and research skills. Called “Our Place In Space!”, or OPIS!, this curriculum leverages “Skynet” – a global network of ≈20 fully automated, or robotic, professional-grade telescopes that we have deployed at some of the world’s best observing sites. The curriculum has now been adopted by ≈2 dozen institutions, and we have recently received (1) $1.85M from NSF's IUSE program to expand it nationwide, and (2) $3M from DoD’s NDEP program (a) to integrate a global network of 10m – 30m diameter radio telescopes into Skynet, and (b) to develop a follow-up curriculum to OPIS! 

Both grants come with funding for new instructors. The NSF grant pays up to $3,500 per adopting instructor to learn, implement, and help to improve the OPIS! curriculum. The DoD grant pays up to $9,000 per instructor to help to develop and trial the follow-up curriculum, called “Astrophotography of the Multi-Wavelength Universe!”, or MWU!. 

OPIS! is a Skynet-based laboratory curriculum for undergraduates in small to very large, introductory survey courses – and works equally well online as in person. OPIS! consists of eight, and soon nine, labs in which students use the same research instrumentation as professionals to collect their own data. They then use this self-collected data (astronomical images and spectra) to reproduce some of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the past 400 years, and gain technical and research skills at the same time. Although students are not carrying out cutting-edge research, they are using cutting-edge research instrumentation, and consequently there is great overlap with the Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) pathway model. Furthermore, these labs/observing experiences are specifically designed to pair with standard introductory astronomy curricula, facilitating widespread adoption. 

OPIS! is built around the cosmic distance ladder, which serves as an organizing principle in many introductory astronomy courses/sequences, and as such, it reinforces students’ classroom experiences. The goal of OPIS! is to move beyond laboratory experiences in which students learn how to use a telescope for its own sake, to instead use them to do science – the same science that they are learning in class. 

MWU! is for students who have already completed OPIS!, and is able to provide this smaller group of students more telescope time per student, making possible color- and radio mapping-, inquiry-based explorations. MWU! currently consists of ten explorations, with more being developed, and uses both Skynet's optical and radio telescopes, as well as archival infrared data, to study the solar system, stars, and galaxies.  The curriculum also focuses on light-producing mechanisms, and astrophotography serves as its “hook”. 

Skynet allows students to acquire professional-quality images from multiple, professional-quality telescopes and sites around the world. However, this is only half the battle. Students also need to be able to explore their images, and make fundamental measurements from them, around which relevant laboratory experiences can be designed. As such, we have additionally developed Afterglow Access. 

Afterglow Access is a web application, written in AngularJS. The advantage of being a web application is that students do not need to install it, and updates can be done server-side. Furthermore, Afterglow Access is connected to Skynet’s 100 TB RAID, so students do not need to download, independently store, and re-upload their images. Nor do they even need a quality computer, as the heaviest computational lifting (e.g., processing/analyzing many images simultaneously) is handled server-side as well. 

In this workshop, participants will be given accounts on both Skynet and Afterglow Access, and observing credits on Skynet. We will learn how to queue observations on Skynet, and will carry out multiple OPIS! and MWU! observing experiences throughout the day. 

We will also hear from our education research team, which is finding that OPIS! and MWU! are significantly impacting students' self-efficacy in STEM, as well as closing the gender confidence impact in STEM. 

Lastly, we will hear from Geneva Lake Astrophysics and STEM (GLAS), which is leading our accessibility efforts, both for the Skynet and Afterglow Access interfaces, but also for ≈65 overview and tutorial videos that we developed to accompany the OPIS! curriculum. (These videos are now receiving ≈350 views/day for ≈25 hours viewed/day on YouTube.) GLAS is also working with disability services at participating universities, and will work directly with DHH and BVI students during the grant periods. 

Python and Astropy for Astronomical Data Analysis
Sunday, Jan 7: 9:00 am – 5:30 pm  

This workshop will cover the use of Python tools for astronomical data analysis and visualization, with the focus primarily on tools in the Astropy library and its affiliated packages. The goal is to introduce participants to the variety of tools which are available inside the Astropy library, and to provide time for participants to explore the science analysis capabilities which the scientific Python ecosystem and community provide. The format will include short presentations followed by instructor-guided tutorials where participants will use the tools and be able to ask questions in the company of expert users and developers. 

We will first introduce the core Astropy package including units, quantities, and constants; coordinates; FITS, ASCII and Astropy tables; an introduction to object-oriented programming using light curves as the example data structure; images and their visualization; modeling; and other sub-packages. Then we may cover a few coordinated packages such as CCD image reduction (ccdproc), photometry (photutils), and spectroscopy (specutils). 

Participants must bring a laptop with software installed, or be willing to use a Binder session in the cloud. We can support Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows 10+ operating systems. Support for Windows machines will require the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL; see https://docs.microsoft.com/en- us/windows/wsl/). In-person participants needing installation help can come early to the workshop room to receive assistance. 

The workshop materials will be presented using Jupyter notebooks. The workshop repository is https://github.com/astropy/astropy-workshop 

Prerequisites: Some familiarity with Python and Numpy will be helpful but is not required. We will send some suggested tutorials before the workshop for those with no prior Python experience. Some familiarity with git and Github will be useful for installing the workshop software on your own computer, though we will try to minimize the need for those tools. 

Increasing Student Learning and Inclusion in Your Classroom: Strategies from the Faculty Teaching Institute 
Sunday, Jan 7: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm 

In this day-long workshop, participants will learn how to successfully combine principles of learning, course design structures, and multiple instructional strategies to create classes that are 
1) Inclusive, welcoming students of all backgrounds into a safe and supportive community; 
2) Active, bursting with energy as students engage in collaborations that deepen their conceptual understandings, reasoning abilities, and problem-solving skills; and 
3) Effective, resulting in significant learning gains and retention of students. 
This workshop is led by astronomy education researchers with the Center for Astronomy Education (CAE) and the Physics and Astronomy Faculty Teaching Institute (FTI) who have spent the past 20 years studying how to best support learners of astronomy. We’ll discuss, among other topics, how to facilitate whole-class and small-group discussions, effective implementation of in-class voting, tutorials, ranking tasks, and other active-learning curricula, and how to motivate students’ understanding of the role of science in society. We have specifically designed the workshop to provide participants with a safe and supportive environment that increases their agency, fosters open discourse, promotes reflection on their identities, beliefs, and local context. This workshop is appropriate for all members of the AAS, at all points in their career paths, including grad students, post-docs, middle school and high school teachers, informal educators, college faculty, research scientists, amateur astronomers, and administrators. Any instructor of any level of experience will benefit, regardless of whether their classes are large or small, introductory level or upper division, or in-person, virtual, or hybrid. 

An Introduction to the Julia Programming Language 
Sunday, Jan 7:  9:00 am – 5:00 pm 

The Julia programming language can be considered the successor to Scientific Python (SciPy). The language is designed for scientific computing by having built-in multidimensional arrays and parallel processing features. Yet, it can also be used as a general-purpose programming language like Python. Unlike Python, Julia solves the two-language problem by using just-in-time (JIT) compilation to generate machine code from high level expressions. In most cases, Julia is as fast as C, and in some cases faster. Julia is also a composable language, so independent libraries or packages usually work well together without any modification. These important features make Julia a very productive language for scientific software development by reducing the number of lines of code. Objectives: The objectives of this tutorial are to introduce astronomers and software developers to the basic language syntax, features, and power of the Julia programming language, and to show that Julia provides an easy migration path from languages such as Python. In other words, it is not necessary to rewrite all your code all at once. 
Structure: The tutorial will begin with simple interactive command-line (REPL) examples that emphasize important concepts and features of the language; namely, unicode characters, multidimensional arrays, data types or structures, functions, multiple dispatch, and namespaces. It will then combine these basic concepts to demonstrate some important features of the language; namely, composability, the two-language problem and benchmarking, the standard library, plotting, interfacing to other languages, symbolic manipulation, package management, and parallel processing and GPUs. 

NASA SMD Proposal Writing Workshop
Sunday, Jan 7: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm  

The success of scientists depends upon their ability to obtain funding. One of the largest challenges is to create strong proposals. Using Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) from NASA as a template, this workshop will focus on teaching the audience key points to communicating science through successful proposal writing. As a result of this session, participants will be able to understand the proposal writing, reviewing, and selection process for federally funded research. This will also help those who have previously submitted proposals improve their performance. Understanding one’s values and maintaining those throughout this process will also be focused on. Story tellers will add unique and important lessons learned to the session. 

Student and Early Career Professional Development Workshop: How to Conference Successfully
Sunday, Jan 7: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm  

This workshop aims to support students and postdocs interested in learning more about how to get the most out of professional development experiences like the AAS meeting. Following the success of the Neurodiversity in Astronomy special session, held in Seattle in January 2023, this workshop aims to help all astronomers who feel they need support or advice on how to approach large astronomical meetings, navigate the social parameters, and get the most out of attending, whether they are neurodiverse or not. 

The American Astronomical Society Winter Meeting is the largest astronomy conference annually, and thousands of astronomers come to collaborate, network, and share their research. Like all conferences, the AAS meeting can be overwhelming, especially for first-timers. So in this workshop, attendees will learn how to navigate and get the most out of these meetings, whether it is their first meeting or they are seasoned veterans. 

Discussions will include how to appropriately network at meetings, how to sell your research and ideas, job seeking, how to prioritize, and self-care in a sometimes-overwhelming environment. 

Engaging Public Audiences and Local Communities in the Awe and Wonder of Totality 
Sunday, Jan 7:  12:00 pm – 4:00 pm 

The April 8, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for approximately 30 million Americans who will be able to experience totality where they live. This eclipse also represents a unique opportunity for professional research astronomers, post docs, and graduate students to help local communities fully experience the awe and wonder of this rare celestial event and – in doing so – increase public interest and appreciation in astronomy. This workshop leverages the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s many decades of experience leading innovative and successful professional development workshops for astronomers and astronomy educators. ASP staff will introduce you to the best practices in science communications and public engagement, including how to (1) reveal audience thinking and beliefs to tailor your engagement event accordingly, (2) make your activities culturally and personally relevant to your audiences, and (3) interact and communicate with audiences in ways that spark their curiosity and promote interest in astronomy specifically and science more generally. You will also be introduced to innovative hands-on activities designed to help audiences of all ages and backgrounds understand the cause of solar eclipses, the difference between solar and lunar eclipses, why some people will experience totality and others will only witness the partial phases, and the many ways to view solar eclipses safely. All workshop participants will have access to videos, resources, and materials specifically designed to help scientists improve their outreach skills. These materials were developed with funding by the National Science Foundation and are products created by the ASP’s recently completed On The Spot Feedback Project (NSF AISL 1811022). Finally, all attendees will receive a free kit of solar eclipse materials to use during public eclipse outreach events. This workshop is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Astronomy as part of the ASP’s Eclipse Stars Project (NSF AST 2317972). 

How to Read Papers Efficiently and Effectively: A Workshop on Critical Reading for Students and Instructors
Sunday, Jan 7: 1:00 pm – 4:45 pm 

Critically reading primary literature (CRPL) is a core skill in graduate education learned from more experienced others [1] that co-constructs with writing and research, creating the foundation for academic scholarship.[2] However, instruction in CRPL varies widely between and among institutions. Thus, CRPL is often part of a hidden curriculum, advantaging the most prepared learners and leaving many to figure it out by trial and error. 

Cognitive approaches to CRPL are beneficial. One approach, categorial reading, is a strategic approach to CRPL that makes reading goals explicit by deconstructing arguments from evidence.[3, 4] Instead of reading a research paper from start to finish, readers hunt and seek the paper's most important information. Hunting includes identifying the paper's claim, evidence, reasoning, implications, and context (CERIC). The CERIC method provides novice readers access to a paper's main concepts while providing reassurance that nothing essential is missed.[5] Increasing learners' preparation and engagement with a text improves reading completion.[6] In addition, this method provides advanced readers with a fast and efficient way to evaluate and compare papers in preparation for writing and peer review. Finally, the CERIC categories can also serve as a critical reading pedagogy for TAs and instructors in existing courses, reading clubs, and seminars and as a check on writing. 

The session will instruct learners on the CERIC method, provide worked examples, and facilitate group practice. Learner-centered outcomes include:  

1. Explain a strategic method for critically reading the primary literature useful in experimental sciences such as astronomy and astrophysics. 

2. Practice using a reading strategy to increase engagement and comprehension of research papers.  

3. Connect the CERIC method with other strategic and close reading methods to improve reading comprehension and critical thinking. 


1. Bjorn, G. (2023, June 5). Exposing the hidden curriculum: Instructional strategies for critical reading of the primary literature that are feasible and effective in graduate education. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/dzufr 

2. Brown, R. A. J., & Renshaw, P. D. (2000). Collective argumentation: A sociocultural approach to reframing classroom teaching and learning. In H. Cowie & G. van der Aalsvoort (Eds.), Social interaction in learning and instruction: The meaning of discourse for the construction of knowledge (pp. 52–66). Pergamon/Elsevier Science Inc. 

3. Schunk, D. H. (2012). Information processing theory. In Learning theories: An educational perspective (6th ed., pp. 163–227). United Kingdom: Pearson, Inc. 

4. Toulmin, S., Rieke, R., & Janik, A. (1984). 27. Argumentation in science. In An Introduction to Reasoning (pp. 313-348). New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Co. 

5. Bjorn, G., Quaynor, L., & Burgasser, A. J. (2022). Reading research for writing: Co-constructing core skills with the CERIC method. Impacting Education: Journal on Transforming Professional Practice, 7(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.5195/ie.2021.237 

6. Burchfield, C. M., & Sappington, J. (2000). Compliance with required reading assignments. Teaching of Psychology, 27(1), 58-60. 

Effective Astronomy Visualizations for Research, Outreach, and Learning
Sunday, Jan 7: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm  

Clear and powerful visualizations are a critical component of science communications whether the audience is researchers, students, or the general public. Today’s astronomy visualizations comprise an ever-expanding collection of disciplines that include traditional fields of image processing, data presentation, and illustration, as well as emerging technologies like data sonification, 3D printing, and virtual/augmented reality experiences. 

The goal of this workshop is to connect the many communities represented within the AAS (including students, educators, communicators, developers, and researchers) interested in the many areas of astronomy visualization. Presenters will share lessons learned through discussions of best practices for a variety of audiences. They will survey a wide range of visualization techniques and address their advantages and accessibility for different styles of learning. Case studies of effective visualizations will showcase how to communicate both knowledge and wonder via inspiring graphics. 

Workshop participants will experience an overview of the current state of astronomy visualization including planning, creation, and delivery phases of the process. They will gain an enhanced appreciation for the selection of visualization-appropriate topics and datasets, the efforts and expertise required to achieve quality products, and the storytelling methods to reach learners of diverse backgrounds. In addition, participants will be encouraged to bring examples of their own projects, or pose particular visualization challenges to the group. 

This workshop is facilitated by NASA’s Universe of Learning (www.universe-of-learning.org) with the goal of contributing to an expanding community of practice for those engaged in the many aspects of astronomy visualization, or “AstroViz.” 

NASA’s Universe of Learning creates and disseminates resources and experiences that enable youth, families, and lifelong learners to explore fundamental questions in science, experience how science is done, and discover the universe for themselves. NASA’s Universe of Learning materials are based upon work supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award number NNX16AC65A to the Space Telescope Science Institute, working in partnership with Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The award is part of NASA’s Science Activation program, which connects NASA science experts, real content, and experiences with community leaders to do science in ways that activate minds and promote deeper understanding of our world and beyond. 

Accessing NASA's Astrophysics Archives using Python
Sunday, Jan 7: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm  

NASA's astrophysics archives preserve many terabytes of multi-wavelength images, catalogs, and spectra. While many astronomers are familiar with web-based tools that are convenient for searching and visualizing these data, programmatic interfaces through Python are increasingly in demand. This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to the programmatic data access tools available and the tutorial notebooks we offer. Note that we use NASA data in our examples, but the tools and methods are generic. We will describe science scenarios that combine multi-wavelength data from the HEASARC, IRSA, NED, and MAST that participants will then be encouraged to work through themselves. Workshop organizers will be available to help participants with them or adapt them for custom projects. 

Designing Community Engagement from a Mutuality Worldview 
Saturday, Jan 6: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm  

What does it mean to engage with your community from a starting point of mutuality? How do we build a practice of community-based astronomy in the places where we work and live? Led by Hawaiʻi-based practitioners working at the intersection of Maunakea astronomy and the local community, this workshop will provide an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and design forward with an intentional emphasis on finding a different path forward that is inclusive, cohesive and generative for our communities. 
This hands-on workshop will be facilitated by practitioners actively working in community relations design and implementation, who will guide participants in co-designing plans and programs that start from a grounding in the principles of mutuality. Workshop participants are encouraged to come with an idea for a program to co-design with fellow attendees. 
Participants will leave with a preliminary analysis of the relationship strengths and/or deficits to be corrected in order to make their program successful; a working set of strategic principles to follow as the program design matures; and a set of actionable next steps to pursue in implementing the newly-envisioned program. 

Effectively Communicating Your Research: A Hands-on Workshop
Sunday, Jan 7: 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm  

In this interactive half-day workshop, researchers will learn and practice key tactics for communicating their research to a broader audience. Communication skills are critical for astronomers in many contexts, such as for talking with the press or summarizing research for both technical and general audiences. Workshop material is based on the very successful Research Communication Training Program (RCTP) at Northwestern University, developed specifically for STEM Researchers. Many astronomers at Northwestern have completed RCTP and found it to be key training for their career: "The program was invaluable to me as a researcher --- it prepared me to present my results effectively and clearly to a wide variety of audiences, from job talks to middle school students."

The goals of the workshop are to help astronomers improve their own presentation skills and to gain confidence in communicating their work to non-expert audiences. The workshop will provide frameworks to help attendees be intentional in their communication.

Participants will learn strategies for and practice three important and basic components of communication in this interactive workshop:

  • Building confidence in all communication roles through improvisation and theater skills
  • Enhancing the clarity of the message by workshopping the talk structure, visuals, and language
  • Forming a connection with any audience through practice and iteration

The workshop is led by experts in science communication training. Byron Stewart is an alumnus of Howard University and an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University. Stewart has facilitated applied theater/improv communication workshops and individual coaching sessions for corporations as well as for graduate students and faculty at various research institutions. Stewart co-teaches two communications courses for engineering students. He is a science communication instructor for Northwestern’s Graduate School’s Research Communication Training Program and has taught Improv for English Communication for Northwestern’s international students. He also teaches Public Speaking for Northwestern’s Prison Education Program for incarcerated students at Stateville prison. Kiki Zissimopoulos is an alumna and instructional faculty member at Northwestern University and is the instructional coordinator of the Research Communication Training Program. She teaches in the McCormick School of Engineering and has previously taught for Northwestern’s Prison Education Program. She is also the co-founder of the undergraduate science communication course sequence at the University of Chicago. Kiki has led workshops and training sessions on pedagogy and science communication to faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduate students at various universities, summer research programs, and other scientific societies.

The registration fee includes a catered afternoon break.

How to Give Great Presentations: A Scientist’s Guide to Effective Communication 
Sunday, Jan 7: 8:30 am – 12:30 pm  

Presenting your research effectively to a broad audience is an essential career skill, yet most professional scientists receive little formal training in effective communication. This interactive workshop aims to empower researchers at all levels who wish to improve their own presentation skills. During the workshop participants will (i) learn how to communicate their research in various formats such as conference presentations, posters, journal clubs, and colloquia (ii) receive practical tips on presenting and answering questions with confidence (iii) create a workflow for designing accessible and engaging presentations regardless of format (iv) learn to identify common features of effective communication so they can incorporate them into their own presentations. Participants will have the opportunity to receive tailored one-on-one feedback in this hands-on workshop, and are encouraged to bring a draft of their own presentation(s) to work on. This workshop will be facilitated by a team of experienced professional astronomers with the support of the AAS Committee on Employment.