Privacy Policy

Last updated: 20 October 2020

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is committed to the value of privacy. AAS is based in the United States and this Privacy Policy (“Policy”) explains how the AAS collects, uses, and shares information associated with you (“Personal Information”). This policy applies to the AAS’s website (, the websites of entities wholly owned by the AAS (such as its topical Divisions and Sky & Telescope), and to meetings, programs, events, and other activities operated or sponsored by the AAS.


How We Collect Personal Information

We collect and use Personal Information in various ways across the AAS’s activities. We do so on the following legal bases: (a) to pursue our legitimate interests in providing services to you, (b) with your consent in appropriate circumstances, and/or (c) on certain other legal bases (e.g., compliance with our legal obligations) in particular circumstances.

A. Websites. As you use our websites, you may be prompted to enter information when you: (i) create an account, (ii) purchase a product (including any fee-based content) or service (or sign up for a free product or service), (iii) participate in online forums or discussions, or provide feedback, or (iv) use personalization features. Information collected may include your name, email address, shipping, and billing addresses, telephone number, shipping preferences, product subscriber status, product selection, work affiliation, and job title, work and academic history, and payment information (credit or debit card or bank account). We also gather information on the person who will receive any gift you send (e.g., that person's name and address), and we will retain a record of your purchase. It is generally optional and voluntary to provide information via our websites, although some services are only accessible by registering user details (including as explained in this Policy).

We also automatically collect information when you visit an AAS website. Examples of the information we collect and analyze include the Internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the Internet; user ID; email address; password; computer and connection information such as browser type and version, operating system, and platform; the full Uniform Resource Locators (URL) clickstream to, through, and from our websites, including date and time; cookie number; and searches you entered.

Third parties, including parties who supply advertising posted on our websites, sell advertising for our websites, and/or conduct surveys, and each of their contractors, may collect certain information about you, such as your IP address and information you choose to supply in response to the advertising you view on these sites. These third parties may use cookies, scripts, or other technologies to access this information. These third parties may also conduct voluntary user surveys and, if you choose to respond, will receive additional information you provide, such as behavioral or demographic information. The information collected by third parties will be aggregated and used for advertising and marketing purposes.

AAS websites also use cookies. A cookie is a small file that is placed on the user's hard drive during a visit to an AAS site. This file allows the user to move quickly and easily around the site. It is used to identify returning users and to identify fee-based content subscribers. This means that if you subscribe to fee-based content on this site, you will not have to log in each time you visit. We also use a cookie to track a user's sessions (a “session cookie”). We use this information to find out what site features are most popular. We also use cookies and the information we collect to show you relevant content and advertising.

You can delete cookies from your hard drive at any time or configure your browser to reject cookies. Bear in mind, though, that if you delete these cookies, any settings such as your stored username and password or address will have to be reentered when you return to the site. And if you configure your browser to reject cookies, you may not be able to access all portions of our sites. For example, accessing our online journals requires that your browser accept cookies. We recommend closing browsers and clearing cookies, caches, and browser history on publicly available machines after use. Further information on the use of cookies can be found at and in your browser's Help documentation.

We use Google Analytics, which collects information such as geographical location, web page views, and visits to other websites, including using cookies. To opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics, you can install the relevant browser add-on available at

B. Membership. When you become an AAS member, we collect additional information, which may include the information listed in section 1.A above, as well as telephone numbers, web address, academic IDs (e.g., ORCiD), type of AAS membership, AAS journal subscriptions, primary astronomical interest, communications preferences, date of birth, gender, and racial/ethnic group. Some of this information is optional, including date of birth, gender, and racial/ethnic group.

C. Publications. When you submit a manuscript, or act as a referee, using our journal submission site at eJournal Press, you must use or create an account (see section 1.A above). We collect information regarding the manuscript that you submit and ask for your ORCiD if you have one. If you are a journalist and request access to our publications through the American Association for the Advancement of Science EurekAlert! service, the AAS receives access to your name, affiliation, and contact information.

D. Meetings. When you register to attend an AAS meeting, we collect your name, email and street addresses, telephone numbers, work affiliation, and payment information. You may optionally provide job title, academic history, accessibility requirements, child/dependent care requirements, and meal choices (we may require confirmation whether you will attend a meal). For press registrants, we collect additional details of the publications with which you are affiliated and your role there.

E. Prizes. When you are nominated for an AAS prize, we collect your name, email and street addresses, telephone numbers, and CV/resume. For some early care. ber prizes we also collect your age/date of birth and/or PhD receipt date.

F. Travel Programs and Other AAS-Sponsored Events. When you register to participate in a travel program or other event or program sponsored or co-sponsored by the AAS, we may collect your name, email and street addresses, telephone numbers, payment information, accessibility requirements, child/dependent care requirements, and meal choices.

G. Emails. Our emails may contain a “web beacon pixel” to tell us whether they have been delivered, opened, shared, or unsubscribed from and to verify any clicks on links within the email. The pixel may also allow us to collect technical information including your geographic location, browser type and version, device type, and operating system and platform. The pixel will be deleted when you delete the email. If you do not wish the pixel to be downloaded to your device, you can read the email in plain text view or with images disabled.

In addition, when you subscribe to an email newsletter, we collect your name and email address. And, of course, if you send us an email, we collect your email address and any information that is contained in the email.

H. Observing Tools. When you participate in one of our observing tools (such as Sky & Telescope’s interactive Almanac or Sky Chart program), we may collect your Zip or postal code, city, state or province, and country.

I. Customer Service. When you submit a question to customer service, we collect your name and email address and/or phone number to respond, and may collect additional information to help us answer your questions.

J. Contests, Surveys, and Special Offers. When you enter an optional contest or respond to a survey or special offer, we may collect additional personal information such as your opinion about products, services, or our websites.

K. Fee-Based Services. When you use our fee-based site content we require you to select and save a username and password.

L. Children's Personal Information. Protecting the privacy of children is important to us. Our websites are general audience sites, and we do not knowingly collect any personal information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under the age of 13 has provided personally identifying information, we will promptly remove such information from our files. We do not offer AAS membership or other services to children under age 16. Although some of our sites may offer books and products for children, only adults 18 and over may purchase these products on our sites.

How We Use Personal Information

A. Providing Services and Fulfilling Orders. We use your Personal Information primarily to provide you AAS services, including services available to the public, membership services, publication services, meetings, prizes, and travel programs, and other AAS-sponsored events or programs. This is likely to include email and other communications related to the services that you have selected. We also use your Personal Information to fulfill orders you have placed, and to communicate with you about them.

B. Discussion Forums. Users who participate in AAS online forums or discussions may have their messages or postings edited for size and/or content (including to remove inappropriate submissions). By participating in an online forum or discussion, you consent to our use or disclosure of any content you submit.

C. Communications and Marketing. Where you have provided your consent for us to contact you, we may send you emails including the AAS Digest, updates about the AAS Publishing program (which may be sent by IOP Publishing Ltd on our behalf), information on membership and membership services, meeting information, surveys, and sometimes relevant non-AAS news events (e.g., in your local area). You are free to withdraw your consent to receive emails at any time by clicking the “unsubscribe” link found at the bottom of the email, by changing your preferences in your member account, or by contacting us at [email protected] or +1 (202) 328-2010 (please state whether you would like to opt out from all email marketing communications or a particular update). Our print Membership Directory, Member Calendar, and occasional other mailings are sent to members who have not opted out of receiving them. If you are based in the United States, we may also send you action alerts regarding public policy issues, which you may also opt not to receive.

D. Administration. We use some of your Personal Information for administrative purposes, including billing and other financial functions, IT support, and to analyze the demographics of our membership.

E. Press List. If you are a qualified journalist, public-information officer, or other science communicator and apply to subscribe to the AAS Press List to receive email press releases and other announcements from the AAS Press Office, we collect your name, affiliation, contact information, and media type. You may unsubscribe from the AAS Press List at any time by emailing your request to [email protected].

F. Websites. We use session cookies, web beacon pixels, and Google Analytics information to improve our communications and the functions and content of our services and websites. We also may use your information to enable access to fee-based content areas of a website, to customize a website to your location or other characteristics, to conduct statistical analysis and in-house research to improve the services on the website, to track and target advertising on the websites, to respond to queries, to alert you to important announcements about a site's Terms & Conditions or Privacy Statement, and to help us keep our websites compatible with the browsers and operating systems used by most of our visitors.

You can update your communication preferences at any time.

Sharing of Personal Information with Third Parties

Except as described in this section III, the AAS does not share your Personal Information. We focus on using the information as part of the AAS's services to you and its mission to advance and diffuse the knowledge of astronomy and its application to human welfare. We bear legal responsibility for the transfers described below.

A. AAS Services. Some of the services provided by the AAS (e.g., publications, membership directories, and meetings) are designed to be used for sharing information (including Personal Information) with third parties. The AAS enables such sharing to the extent authorized by each member or other user.

B. Mailings by Selected Third Parties. With your consent, we occasionally share our mailing list of physical addresses (but not email or other electronic addresses) with carefully selected third parties who wish to send information about content (e.g., books, programs) of potential interest to our members. Such third parties are required to use the mailing list only for the purposes that AAS approves, and not to share the list onward to other parties.

C. Subcontractors. The AAS may disclose Personal Information to third parties who support AAS services, including financial services, communications and publications providers, and hotels used for meetings. This sharing is subject to agreements with the third parties to ensure the information is used only for such service support and in accordance with this Policy and applicable law.

D. Aggregated Data. We may process and disclose to our advertisers and other reputable third parties aggregated information (based on Personal Information held by the AAS or an affiliated company) that does not reasonably identify an individual member or user or specific user transaction on an AAS website. Such aggregated information may include demographic information, sales information, website traffic patterns, and related website information.

E. Disclosures to Comply with Legal Process and to Protect Us and Others. The AAS may disclose Personal Information if required under applicable laws (including for law enforcement and national security purposes) or to comply with legal process, to protect and defend our rights and property, to protect against misuse or unauthorized use of a website or service, to report a violation or suspected violation of applicable laws to appropriate governmental authorities, or to protect the personal safety or property of our users or the public.

Retention of Information

The AAS applies the following policies on retention of Personal Information:

  • We retain information regarding the AAS services that you use for as long as you use those services.
  • Successful membership applications are retained indefinitely to facilitate the work of historians studying the history of our field. Inactive member user accounts are retained for five years.
  • Publications (and associated public information) are available indefinitely. Non-public information regarding publications, such as the report of a referee, is retained for five years (except that certain historical information from before 1999, when this policy was adopted, may be available in a restricted-access archive).
  • We retain nonmember meeting attendance data for ten years because we do not allow nonmembers to present at our meetings more than once per decade. Inactive nonmember user accounts without meeting transactions are retained for one year.
  • We retain general and routine correspondence for three years.
  • Cookies are stored on user computers and may be deleted at any time by the user.

When data is deleted from AAS systems, it may remain in our backup storage for two years.

Rights Regarding Your Personal Information

You may request access to, and correction or deletion of, your Personal Information held by AAS, or request that we limit the ways in which we process your information. The AAS may choose not to delete Personal Information where the data is necessary to the integrity of AAS services, to the operation of services provided by the AAS to other users, or for compliance with the law. EU customers of the AAS have certain rights to restriction of data processing and data portability to other service providers. Users may exercise any of these rights by writing to [email protected].

Contact Information

It is also important to us that we have your correct and up-to-date contact information so that you don't miss out on further correspondence or experience problems with the delivery of products. To review, edit, or delete your personal information or your email requirements please contact us using the contact information below. Some sites may also allow you to access and change or delete your Personal Information by clicking on the "My Profile" tab at the top of any page on the site.


The AAS uses industry-standard technological, physical, and organizational measures to protect Personal Information and other data from unauthorized disclosure, alteration, or destruction, both online and offline. We use encryption to protect sensitive financial and other information, and all connections to our websites are encrypted by default whenever possible. We make available only the minimal amount of Personal Information necessary to leadership, members, meeting attendees, vendors, and others. However, data security presents many risks, and the AAS cannot guarantee that information will be 100% secure. The AAS relies on users to select secure passwords, to protect those passwords, and to use appropriate security software on their devices. Please contact the AAS with any information regarding unauthorized use of AAS services.

Third-Party Sites and Services

Our websites contain links to other sites and services, and other sites and services have links to our websites. Please be aware that the AAS is not responsible for the privacy practices (or other practices, goods, services, or content) of other sites or services. We encourage you to be aware when you leave our site and to read the privacy statements and terms of service of each website you visit. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by the AAS.

Transfer to United States and EU Compliance

The AAS and its servers are located in the United States. By providing information to the AAS, you are consenting to the transfer of that information to the United States and accepting that the transfer is necessary for our relationship with you. In certain cases, we may implement EU Standard Contractual Clauses for transfer of data to the AAS from EU entities.

Updates to This Policy

From time to time, the AAS may update this Policy to reflect changes in the law, changes in the AAS’s services, or for other reasons. Updated versions of this Policy will be posted on our websites. If the AAS makes material changes to the Policy regarding the use or disclosure of information, we will send a copy of the updated Policy to customers who have provided us with their contact information and (if applicable) obtain any required consent to such changes..

Contact Information and Complaints

If you have inquiries or complaints about this Policy or your Personal Information, you should first contact us at [email protected]. If we receive a complaint, we will contact the person who made the complaint to follow up. Complaints may also be submitted via regular postal mail to American Astronomical Society, 1667 K Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20006.

The AAS works with the appropriate regulatory authorities to resolve any complaints regarding Personal Information that we cannot resolve with our members and users directly. If you are a non-US member or service user of the AAS, you may also have the right to complain to the data protection authorities in your country.