The End of IYA (Part 1)

The End of IYA (Part 1)

It is January 10, 2010, and IYA is coming to a close. I’m am currently sitting in the Palazzo Bo in Padau (Padova), Italy. I am here for the IYA2009 closing ceremony. It has been a long journey getting here. The idea of the IYA2009 originated form Franco Pacini in 2002, and in 2003, at the Sydney General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a resolution was adopted to make 2009 our year to share astronomy with the world. It was to be fit within the UN Millennium goals, and we were to help educate the world in science. In 2005, our UNESCO endorsed our cause, and at the 2006 Prague General Assembly meeting of the IAU, in between sessions stripping Pluto of its Planethood, a group of determined individuals set about defining what the IYA2009...

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Charlie Bolden’s NASA Policy Talk: First Coverage

Charlie Bolden’s NASA Policy Talk: First Coverage

NASA Director Charlie Bolden is a grandfather (he talks about his grand kids all the time), an astronaut, a communicator who brings laughter, and a person willing to admit with humility that he’s not the smartest person in the room, and to admit with pride that he likes working with all the smart -icists in the room. As he speaks, he is looking forward to a great year of new launches and new science. […]

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Kepler First Science

Kepler First Science

This is the morning of Kepler. I’m currently sitting in a the Marriot Ballroom watching the speaker, William J Borucki (NASA/Ames) gear up to announcing planets. This amazing mission has been imaging the same rich stellar field over and over looking for planetary transits: the slight dimming of light from a star that comes from an orbiting planet passing between us and that distance star. After 20 minutes of gearing up, he announced 5 new planets with orbital periods between 3.2 and 4.9 days orbiting stars larger than the sun at orbital distances 4.31 to 18.8 times the size of the Earth’s orbit. Because the stars are bigger than the Sun (by an amount not shown in the table), this is hard to quantify – they could be very near the stellar...

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See you at AAS: Come the Real, Come the Virtual!

See you at AAS: Come the Real, Come the Virtual!

I have the internets and I’m not afraid to use them! Today we premiered our new wireless rig – 2 wireless 3G verizon cards and 2 netgear 3G -> wireless routers, and while we have kinks left to work out, I feel okay saying we are going to stream our little hearts out at this meeting in hopes that you can consume the best of what this meeting has to offer. Specifically, my team – the self-named SIUE Collective (they decided I’m their Borg Queen – Eek!) – will be UStreaming (pending confirmation with all speakers!) along the side the Second Life casting of the wonderful Adrienne Gauthier of the University of Arizona. The full plan can be found over on Astrosphere, but here are my “I can only see one thing a day”...

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AAS DC: AstroZone & upcoming AAS coverage

AAS DC: AstroZone & upcoming AAS coverage

Tomorrow (well, technically today), I’m going to be at the National Zoo in Washington DC doing outreach to animals in Amazonia (and hopefully to a few humans too – This could include you!) If you’re in DC, come on by! Activities start at noon, and details can be found on the AstroZone website. Now, for all of you cursing me for not giving you enough warning (and I do deserve it), you’re going to have a few more chances to consume astronomy at this meeting that anyone can attend for free (and in some cases online!) On Monday night, at 6:30pm, Brian B. Schwartz will be talking on Science as Performance. Wednesday night there will be a Tweetup / Meetup at a location to be announced. And online we will have a slew of events on Second Life...

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A new website for a New Year: Astrosphere .org

A new website for a New Year: Astrosphere .org

It’s December 25, Christmas day 2009. In 6 more days we’ll ring in 2010, and in 16 more days IYA will come to an official end. There are still pieces to tie up – the evaluations will all take place in South Africa in March, and there are a whole lot of websites that need ownerships transferred hither and yon, but the public side of IYA is this -><- close to wrapping up. As part of my own wrapping up process I need to do three things: clean my desk and triage the past 16 months of anything that came to me in paper; clean my hard drive and triage the past 16 months of anything that came to me in photons; and get websites set up to move all our cool new media products Beyond IYA. So, today I cleaned my desk (putting all the papers on the...

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