Archive for 2007
2009 International Year of Astronomy
December 20, 2007 - The Astronomical Society of the Pacific comments on the United Nations 62nd General Assembly declaration of 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. Jim Manning, executive director of the ASP, said, “The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is extremely pleased by the United Nations endorsement of the International Year of Astronomy. The sky belongs to everyone, and this global expression of support will provide a critical impetus to our international efforts and those of other organizations to use the appeal of astronomy to improve science literacy in general, and to promote greater appreciation and understanding of our place in the cosmos.” Full press release.
Scott Roberts Appointed to ASP Board
December, 2007 – The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), is pleased to announce the appointment of Scott W. Roberts to a vacant position on the Board of Directors. Roberts is the Vice President for Global Client Support and Community Relations at Meade Instruments Corporation and also serves as the Executive Director of the Meade 4M Community, an alliance of astronomy and space exploration organizations and enthusiasts, with members spanning the globe. Roberts has an extensive background in astronomy public outreach. Full press release.
Andrew Fraknoi Receives 2007 Professor of the Year Award
November, 2007 – Foothill College Astronomy Instructor Andrew Fraknoi, M.A., has been named the 2007 California Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement & Support of Education (CASE). Fraknoi was selected from more than 300 top professors in the United States. Full press release.
New Horizons at Jupiter (and Some Saturn News)
Dr. Jeff Moore (NASA Ames Research Center)
Listen (mp3 file, 17.4 MB)
In February, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft swung by the giant planet Jupiter on its way to Pluto. Its instruments recorded winderful images and other data about Jupiter’s wild weather, its ring, and its giant moons. Dr. Moore, who was Leader of the Imaging Node for the encounter, shows the new photos of the Jupiter system and discusses some of the discoveries made by New Horizons. He also talks about one of the most exciting discoveries of the Cassini mission around Saturn — the new understanding and exploration of water geysers on the moon Enceladus.
Taking a Hit: Asteroid Impacts and Evolution
Dr. David Morrison (NASA Ames Research Center)
Listen (mp3 file, 18.9 MB)
Asteroids have hit the Earth many time in the past, and they will continue to hit in the future, whether we are prepared or not. Collisions with our planet over 4.5 billion years have profoundly influenced the evolution of life. (In fact, were it not for the impact of a 15-km wide asteroid 65 million years ago, it is likely humanity would not be here.) Dr. Morrison, one of the world’s experts on the study of asteroid impacts, discusses the past and the future of these catastrophic hits, and explains how, in the last two decades, we have learned (in principle) how to defend ourselves. Unlike other natural hazards, we now have the capability of removing most of the impact risk within the next generation. However, the government still does not have a plan of action for when an asteroid is discovered heading our way or when an impact happens without any warning. (We recommend you listen to this podcast holding hands with someone you love.)
2006 ASP Year in Review
The ASP is pleased to provide this online publication to highlight the Society’s many accomplishments in 2006. The success enjoyed by the ASP would not be possible without the generous support from those who share in and financially support the ASP’s mission. Please take a moment to read this document to learn more about the ASP.
2006 Year in Review (pdf, 1.1 MB)
ASP Announces New Board Members
August, 2007 – ASP is pleased to announce its newest members to the ASP Board of Directors; Edna DeVore, Deputy CEO and the Director of Education and Public Outreach (EPO) at the SETI Institute, Phil Sakimoto an astrophysicist; education, outreach, and diversity specialist; and planetarian with the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Physics and joining them is re-elected board member, Lynne Hillenbrand, an associate professor of astronomy at the California Institute of Technology.
A Ringside Seat to the Formation of Planets
Dr. Dana Backman (SETI Institute and Astronomical Society of the Pacific)
Listen (mp3 file, 19.8 MB)
Astronomers have discovered dusty “doughnuts” of cosmic raw material around many younger stars. In some cases, astronomers can see tantalizing hints in the rings that planets may be forming or may already have formed from this material. Dr. Backman explains how new kinds of telescopes and observations are making it possible for us to detect the birth process of planets around nearby stars. He concludes by previewing future observations of these intriguing dusty rings with upcoming telescopes, particularly the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) Project in which NASA has outfitted a 747 plane with a telescope that can observe heat-rays from distant objects.
2007 ASP Award Recipients Announced
May 15, 2007 – The Astronomical Society of the Pacific announced today the eight winners of its 2007 awards for excellence in astronomy research and education. The ASP’s most prestigious award, the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal for lifetime achievement in astronomy has been awarded to Martin Harwit, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, Cornell University.
Comparing Worlds: Climate Catastrophes in the Solar System
Dr. David Grinspoon (Denver Museum of Nature and Science)
Listen (mp3 file, 22.3 MB)
Take an entertaining and enlightening journey with an astronomer and popular author through the history of our solar system, discovering runaway greenhouses and snowball planets. Compare the evolution of Venus, Earth, and Mars over the years. And learn how studying the evolution of other planets can help us understand and predict climate change on Earth.