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The International Year of Astronomy: The Existing Networks & Services of the ASP


playing the Moon Mission gameFounded in 1889, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) is an international organization dedicated to advancing science literacy through engagement in astronomy. Its programs, many with sponsorship from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and astronomical institutions around the world, are particularly designed to assist those who work to improve the public understanding of science. In recent years, the ASP has been expanding the impact of its diverse projects through a variety of networks and services:


  • The Night Sky Network: an organization of 200+ astronomy clubs engaged in outreach, which receive training and kits of materials through the ASP, with support and infra-structure from JPL's Exoplanet Exploration Program and several other NASA projects.

  • The Project ASTRO/Family ASTRO Networks: 13 regional sites for training educators and professional and amateur astronomers to work together in classrooms and on family events; each astronomer adopts a 4th - 9th grade class for a year; thousands of astronomers and teachers have been trained since 1994.

  • The Astronomy from the Ground Up Network: an expanding group of smaller museums and nature centers whose staff are being trained to do more astronomy.

  • The College Astronomy Instructors: an informal listing of more than 1,200 instructors who teach introductory astronomy in 2 and 4-year colleges, some of whom meet every three years at "Cosmos in the Classroom" conferences.

  • The ASP's EPO Conference Participants: an informal group of people who do education and outreach in astronomy and space science. The ASP has been organizing symposia for these professionals at its recent international meetings.


  • The Universe in the Classroom: a quarterly electronic newsletter for educators in grades 3-12 who teach astronomy; 3000 active subscribers and far greater distribution through the web and through translation.

  • The ASP AstroShop: a nonprofit, online distribution service for educational resources in astronomy and space science.

  • ASP Membership (in all 50 U.S. states and more than 40 other countries) who receive Mercury magazine on line and regular updates from the Society.

  • The ASP Web Site with background information, resource guides, classroom and family activities, podcasts of lectures, and 120 years of ASP history.


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