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2nd Media Advisory, 49th DPS Meeting, Provo, Utah, 15-20 Oct. 2017

15 September 2017

Shantanu NaiduRick Fienberg
DPS Press Officer / AAS Press Officer
+1 917-373-8840 / +1 857-891-5649

The Cassini spacecraft may have met its fiery end, but its discoveries continue and will be among the highlights presented at four daily press conferences at the 49th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS). Also featured in briefings will be the latest results from Juno at Jupiter along with exciting news about asteroids, moons, and planets — dwarf and otherwise. The meeting takes place at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo from Sunday, 15 October, through Friday, 20 October 2017. About 800 planetary scientists and astronomers from the US and around the world are expected to attend to discuss new findings about our solar system and extrasolar planetary systems.

The AAS/DPS offers complimentary press registration to journalists and public-information officers (PIOs); see details below. Meeting hashtag: #dps17 (not #dps49 as reported earlier); you may also wish to follow @DPSMeeting, @DPSCommittee, and @AAS_Press on Twitter.

Meeting links:

In addition to daily oral and poster sessions, the meeting features plenary talks from distinguished planetary scientists, including Michele Dougherty (Imperial College London), Linda Spilker (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and Matthew Tiscareno (SETI Institute) on the Cassini mission to Saturn; Thomas Greathouse (Southwest Research Institute), Tristan Guillot (Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, France), Candice Hansen (Planetary Science Institute), and Andrew Ingersoll (Caltech) on the Juno mission to Jupiter; David Brain (University of Colorado, Boulder) on MAVEN at Mars; Sarah Hörst (Johns Hopkins University) on the chemistry of Titan; William Smith (University of Utah) on racial microaggression in science and engineering; and Amaury Triaud (University of Cambridge, UK) on the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanetary system.

Several of this year’s DPS award winners will give prize talks. Bethany Ehlmann (Caltech), recipient of the Harold C. Urey Prize, will speak about her work using spectroscopy to determine the mineralogy of Mars’s surface and the extent of the red planet’s previous habitability. Margaret Kivelson (University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Michigan), recipient of the Gerard P. Kuiper Prize, will discuss her work studying Jupiter’s magnetospheric plasmas to understand the interiors of planets and their moons. The winners of the Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public, Megan Schwamb (Gemini Observatory) and Henry Throop (Planetary Science Institute), will, appropriately, give public talks to which the citizens of Provo will be invited.

Complimentary Press Registration

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

To request complimentary press registration, send an email message to AAS Press Officer Dr. Rick Fienberg with your name and media affiliation (or “freelance” if applicable). Upon confirming your eligibility, he’ll send you the URL of an online registration form and the required press-registration code. Although press registration will be available on-site at the meeting, we strongly advise you register in advance to avoid lines at the registration booth. Please send your email request to Rick Fienberg as soon as you know you’re coming to the meeting.

Press Facilities

A press office will be set up in the Silver Creek Room on Level Three of the Utah Valley Convention Center and will be open to journalists during normal conference hours. Among other amenities, it will offer workspace, internet connectivity, and a printer.

Press office staff:

We won’t have a dedicated interview room for use by press registrants, but the Soldier Creek Room (see next section) will be available for media interviews except during the daily lunch break, when briefings are in progress.

Press-Conference Schedule, Topics & Speakers

News briefings for the media will be conducted daily Monday-Thursday, 16-19 October, during the midday lunch break, in the Soldier Creek Room (also on convention center Level Three), which will be equipped with a sound system, mult-box, and wireless internet connectivity. Note that lunch is from 12:00 to 1:30 pm or 2:00 pm MDT (UTC - 6h). The briefings themselves will begin at 12:15 pm MDT; each will last about 1 hour. There is no press conference on Friday.

Following is the preliminary press-conference program, which is subject to change, including additions or deletions; several prospective speakers have yet to confirm their participation, and some presentations may be moved to different days. In [square brackets] under each speaker’s name is the session or paper number on which their presentation is based, where applicable.

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. Please review the complete AAS/DPS embargo policy before coming to Provo.

Note: All new discoveries are subject to confirmation by independent teams of scientists. Inclusion here does not imply endorsement by the American Astronomical Society or the Division for Planetary Sciences. The AAS and DPS do not endorse individual scientific results.

Monday, 16 October 2017, 12:15 pm MDT

Science Highlights from Cassini’s Grand Finale
Linda Spilker (Jet Propulsion Lab)

Saturn’s Magnetic Field from the Cassini Grand Finale Orbits
Michele Dougherty (Imperial College London, UK)

Note: We expect to add two or three more speakers from the Cassini team.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017, 12:15 pm MDT

Unveiling the Interior of Jupiter with Juno
Tristan Guillot (Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur, France)

Juno Observes the Dynamics of Jupiter’s Atmosphere
Andrew Ingersoll (Caltech)

Shallow Water Modeling of Jovian Polar Cyclone and Vortices
Cheng Li (Caltech)

JunoCam Images of Jupiter: A Juno Citizen-Science Experiment
Candice Hansen (Planetary Science Institute)

Characterization of the Great Red Spot from
Observations by Juno and the Earth-Based Supporting Campaign
Glenn Orton (Jet Propulsion Lab)

Wednesday, 18 October 2017, 12:15 pm MDT

Population Control of Martian Trojans by the Yarkovsky & YORP Effects
Apostolos Christou (Armagh Observatory, UK)

On the Origin of the Organic-Rich Material on Ceres
Simone Marchi (Southwest Research Institute)

Titan’s High Altitude South Polar Stratospheric Ice Cloud Observed by Cassini
Carrie Anderson (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Dunes as New Evidence of Recently Active Surface Processes on Pluto
Jani Radebaugh (Brigham Young University)

Thursday, 19 October 2017, 12:15 pm MDT

The Complex Magnetic Field of the Martian Magnetotail Observed by MAVEN
Gina DiBraccio (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Strategies & Results of the 2017 Occultation Campaigns Involving 2014 MU69
Marc Buie (Southwest Research Institute)

Narrow Circumstellar Debris Rings in Young Systems:
Evidence for Planetary Formation from Multiple Subcores?
Casey Lisse (Johns Hopkins University)

Remote Access to Press Conferences

Journalists unable to attend the meeting in person may tune in to our briefings and the seminar for science writers streamed live on the Web. Since the webcast includes audio, video, and PowerPoint slides, you must have a broadband (high-speed) Internet connection to watch and listen. Also, your Web browser must have the free Adobe Flash plug-in.

The webcast also includes a chat window whereby remote participants may ask questions. We can’t guarantee that all questions received from webcast viewers will be asked aloud — it depends on how much time we have and how many questions we’re getting from onsite reporters.

Press Conference Webcasts:


  • Password: Contact AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg for the password, which is for journalists only and which is the same for all the week's briefings. After the meeting, archived webcasts will be freely available without a password via our online archive.
  • Once the webcast window opens, press the Play (►) button.
  • Press the Open Chat Window button. You’ll be asked to enter your name; please use your real first and last names, not a cutesy internet nickname.
  • You can resize the chat window and move it to any convenient position on your screen.
  • To ask a question, type it into the input box near the bottom of the chat window and click the Send button.

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 our sign-up form. Only accredited journalists and public-information officers are eligible to receive press releases forwarded by the AAS, as described on our press-credentials page.