ASP E-Newsletter

December 2011

There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.  					                         Albert Einstein    Wishing you all the miracles of life—Season’s Greetings from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Dear Friends:

This is the time of year when our thoughts turn to the things that matter most. Family and friends, a roof and a loaf, a log for the fire and good company with which to share it.

At the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, our thoughts turn to you: our members, friends, supporters and advocates—the people who make a difference in our common cause to share the sky, advance science, and cultivate wonder for the world around us, and above.

We thank you for being such good company this past year—for your good will and your support. And on behalf of the Board and staff of the ASP, please let me extend to you our very best wishes for a happy holiday and a new year filled with prosperity and hope—a new year we live as though everything is a miracle!

Sincerely Yours,

James Manning

James G. Manning
Executive Director

Holiday Greetings from the ASP.

Fraknoi Becomes Honorary Member of the RASC.

Communicating Science - A National Education and Public Outreach Conference.

SOFIA Outreach Team Recognized.

The NASA Night Sky Network Shares Their Telescopes with Almost Two Million People!

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Andrew Fraknoi

Fraknoi Becomes Honorary Member of the RASC

Congratulations to Andrew Fraknoi, former Executive Director of the ASP, currently chair of the Foothill College astronomy department, for his selection as an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

The honorary title is carried by only 15 people at any one time who have contributed significantly to the field of astronomy; current holders of the title in addition to Fraknoi include Dr. Stephen Hawking.

Andy has been so honored for his long-standing work in “helping people understand astronomy,” says Colin Haig, RASC Vice President. His contributions include establishing the ASP’s signature Project ASTRO program teaming classroom teachers and astronomers in engaging students in science; editing the ASP’s exhaustive Universe at Your Fingertips resource of hands-on astronomy activities and materials; managing the ASP’s Cosmos in the Classroom symposium providing professional development opportunities for college instructors of introductory astronomy; writing a children’s astronomy book in partnership with Disney; creating the Silicon Valley Lecture Series; and teaching popular astronomy courses at Foothill College.

The ASP applauds Andy for his passion for astronomy education and his devotion to the Society’s education and outreach efforts, which continue to benefit from Andy’s ongoing role as a senior educator with the Society. And we salute him in his new guise as an honorary member of the RASC!

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ASP meeting logo

Communicating Science - A National Conference on Science Education and Public Outreach

Tucson, Arizona Aug. 4 - 8, 2012

Also featuring: In the Footsteps of Galileo, a national workshop of educators in grades 3-12 and in informal settings.

Join us in the beautiful setting of the American Southwest for a three-day symposium on the joys and challenges of communicating our understanding of the universe and science in general -- whether in the classroom, in a museum or nature center, to general and specific audiences, through books and magazines, on the web, via festivals and fairs, on radio and television, or through the social media. Preceding the symposium will be a two-day workshop: In the Footsteps of Galileo, a national workshop of educators in grades 3-12 and in informal settings.

Anyone involved or with an interest in science education and public outreach (EPO) and science communication is welcome, including: scientists and EPO professionals from NASA and NSF projects, planetariums, museums, science centers, universities, scientific organizations, research institutions, parks, nature centers, and afterschool settings; K-14 teachers and instructors; administrators; education researchers and program evaluators; book authors, science journalists, podcasters, bloggers, public information officers, webmasters; amateur astronomers doing outreach; and those interested in these fields of endeavor.

For more information and to sign up for updates, visit:

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SOFIA team

The SOFIA Outreach team is, front row, from left: Leslie Proudfit (Multimedia Assistant – ASP), Darlene Mendoza, (Outreach Coordinator – SETI), Dana Backman (Outreach Manager – SETI), Kassandra Bell (Outreach Administrative Assistant – ASP), Nicholas A. Veronico (SOFIA Public Affairs Officer – ASP). Back row, from left: Pamela Harman (Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program, co-manager – SETI), Coral Clark (Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors Program, co-manager – Universities Space Research Association), and Jeonghee Rho (Associate Scientist – SETI).

SOFIA Outreach Team Recognized

NASA contracts operation of the SOFIA Science Center to the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) of Columbia, Md., which in turn subcontracts the education and outreach functions of the SOFIA program to SETI and the ASP. NASA Ames management recently recognized the work of the SOFIA Outreach Group with an Ames Honor Award -- Group Achievement Award for the excellent service they provide. The Outreach group is responsible for SOFIA’s education activities -- informing groups from elementary school students to scientists at conferences and tradeshows, graphic design, website design and support, science-related content for print and web, media relations -- news and image releases as well as flight escorts for media, and the observatory’s Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program flying educators on board SOFIA.

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kids and telescope

The NASA Night Sky Network Shares Their Telescopes with Almost Two Million People!

The ASP invites you to send your holiday cheer and gratitude to support our amazing amateur astronomers that are a key component to front-line astronomy outreach

It's always fun to walk up to a public building and see a telescope, isn't it? Tony Iannone, member of the South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association is safely showing these girls the Sun. He's at the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, an organization that the astronomy club collaborates with on a regular basis. The club is part of the NASA Night Sky Network, an ASP managed program, made up of over 350 astronomy clubs across the U.S. Through club outreach, they've reached almost two million people over the years!

Many people never get to see the Sun through a telescope, but as the Night Sky Network expands its outreach, more and more people will get to safely enjoy the Sun in a unique way, through properly filtered telescopes and educational demonstrations done by NSN members. We provide the ToolKits for the demos, but the amateurs share their passion, knowledge of the sky, and are advocates of science literacy. Looking through a scope is one of the best ways to do outreach, says Dean Regas, NSN member, host of PBS' Star Gazers and Outreach Astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory Center.

The staff at the ASP invite you to join us by sending your holiday cheer and gratitude to the NASA Night Sky Network (NSN), a community of over 4,000 amateur astronomers, for their astronomy outreach efforts in 2011. Even though it's icy cold in many parts of the U.S., the clubs continue their public stargazing. If you've never been out to a stargazing event, bundle up, brave the cold, and stargaze! You can check the NSN website, use Go StarGaze, the iPhone app, and join the Night Sky Network on Facebook and Twitter.

Psst! Mark your calendar for the Transit of Venus, on June 5, 2012. You'll want to see the transit with a Night Sky Network club, because they'll have all the safe solar viewing gear and they'll be doing demos with the soon-to-be released ASP ToolKit, Our Magnetic Sun.

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