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ASP E-Newsletter


September 2012

New Online Resource for Members & Donors

Farewell to a Friend: Andy Fraknoi Retires from the ASP

Paul Deans to Serve as New Astronomy Beat Editor

ASP, University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory & Partners Awarded NSF Grant to Launch Skynet Junior Scholars Program

2012 Annual Meeting Highlights

Save the Date: January 25th Fundraising Dinner in San Francisco

Save the Date: July 20-24, 2013 125th Annual Meeting in San Jose

Galileo Educator Network in Chicago

Partners in Public Engagement: Solar Astronomy Workshop for Park Interpreters, Nature Center/Environmental Educators & Amateur Astronomers

ASP at AAS in January

Sky Rangers Online Workshop for Outdoor Astronomy Interpretation

CAE Resource for College-Level Introductory Astronomy Instructors


ASP online portal

New Online Portal for Members & Donors

In response to your feedback, the ASP is excited to launch a new online portal that will provide you with secure, personal and timely access to your member benefits and donor history. All you need to do is login and register!

After setting up your unique login and password, you will be able to update your personal profile, join, renew, purchase a gift membership, donate, set up a recurring gift, view your giving history, and indicate your preferred contact information. (An accurate email address is particularly important as we shift toward this method of communication.) Please note that after you have registered, you will receive an email confirmation. Within 1 to 2 business days you can login and access your profile and member benefits.

ASP members will also now access Mercury magazine and Astronomy Beat through the online portal -- no additional username and password are required once you are logged in as a member. We are phasing out the current method of accessing Mercury magazine and Astronomy Beat, so please make sure to register with the portal in order to continue enjoying these membership benefits.

As stewards of your financial support and generosity, the ASP continually seeks to manage operations in a manner that is both efficient and responsible. Improving online interactions with you, and utilizing electronic communications, allows for savings realized by reducing paper and postage expenses. These funds can then be redirected toward astronomy programs, services and publications. Thank you!

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Andy Fraknoi

Farewell to a Good Friend: Andy Fraknoi Retires from the ASP

The ASP is saddened to announce that, after 39 years of service and support to the ASP, Andy Fraknoi is retiring from the organization this month. The “father” of such programs as Project ASTRO, Family ASTRO, Universe in the Classroom and Cosmos in the Classroom, and longtime editor of Astronomy Beat, Andy’s legacy runs deep and he will be missed.

At the ASP 2012 Annual Meeting last month, a new award was inaugurated and presented to Andy, the Andrew Fraknoi Supporters Award. At future Supporters Luncheons (part of the ASP Annual Meeting), ASP staff will identify and honor an individual who has demonstrated exceptional support to the organization. We look forward to carrying on Andy’s remarkable spirit this way.

Be sure to keep up with Andrew Fraknoi (The AstroProf) via Facebook!

Clear skies, Andy!

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ASP award

Paul Deans to Serve as New Astronomy Beat Editor

The ASP is pleased to announce that Mercury magazine editor, Paul Deans, will serve as the new editor of Astronomy Beat. Paul is a seasoned editor in astronomy and space science publications, and well versed in the ASP’s mission, outreach and publication goals.

Astronomy Beat was the brainchild of ASP executive director, Jim Manning, in 2008. Under Andy Fraknoi’s editorship over the past 102 issues, the publication has grown into a valuable ASP asset and popular member benefit.

We welcome Paul in his new role, and look forward to working with him!

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NSF logo

ASP, University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory & Partners Awarded NSF Grant to Launch Skynet Junior Scholars Program

The ASP, University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, University of North Carolina and 4-H are collaborating to provide professional development to 180 4-H leaders and other informal science educators, and engage 1,400 middle school youth in using research-grade robotic telescopes and data analysis tools to explore the Universe. Youth participating in 4H-based out-of-school programs in Wisconsin, West Virginia and North Carolina will learn about the universe and preparing for STEM careers by conducting authentic astronomy research, completing astronomy-related hands-on modeling activities, interacting with astronomers and other professionals who are part of the Skynet Robotic Telescope Network, and interacting with other youth who are part of the Skynet Junior Scholars virtual community.

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Growing Your Astronomy Club

2012 Annual Meeting Highlights

The ASP welcomed more than 200 science education and outreach professionals at our 2012 Annual Meeting in Tucson. We wish to extend our hearty thanks to all who made their participation a priority in terms of time and budgets. We hope you found the plenary sessions and workshops engaging and informative, and the networking fruitful and enjoyable.

We are grateful to the American Geophysical Union, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and Pima Community College for their support. We also thank our valued sponsors and exhibitors whose financial contributions helped the ASP organize this marquee event.

We are also pleased to share footage from one of this year’s highlight plenary sessions: “Doomsday 2012 and Cosmophobia – Challenges and Opportunities for Science Communication,” featuring: David Morrison, Kristine Larsen, Bryan Mendez, Mark Van Stone and Q&A. (With special thanks to NASA’s Brian Day and Ricky Guest.)

Last but definitely not least, the ASP extends sincere thanks to everyone who stepped up and participated in the Annual Meeting’s Board of Directors matching gift challenge! As a result of your generosity, nearly $10,000 in unrestricted funds was raised in support of ASP services, programs and publications. Thank you again!

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Save the Date! January Fundraising Dinner in San Francisco

The ASP’s 4th Annual Winter Fundraising Dinner will be held on Friday, January 25th at Delancey Street Restaurant on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. This gala event will feature exciting speakers – including Dr. Pascal Lee, co-founder and CEO of the Mars Institute – a fabulous meal prepared by Delancey’s remarkable staff, silent auction and wonderful camaraderie amongst ASP friends old and new. Members should be on the lookout for a specially reduced ticket price! More information is soon en route, or please feel free to contact Kathryn Harper via kharper {at} astrosociety.org or 415-715-1406.

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ASP logo

Save the Date! 2013 Annual Meeting in San Jose, CA: July 20-24

In 2013, the ASP is excited to celebrate our 125th Annual Meeting and premier gathering of science education and public outreach (EPO) professionals from across North America and abroad in San Jose, CA -- our backyard and the nation’s hub of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries. With tremendous thanks to San Jose State University for hosting the meeting, 2013 will also include a Cosmos in the Classroom conference. Please visit www.astrosociety.org for more information as planning gets underway!

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Adler Planetarium

The ASP Brings Galileo, NASA, and the Next Generation Science Standards to Teachers

September 29 & 30
Adler Planetarium, Chicago, Illinois

The ASP will lead 18 NASA Galileo Educator Fellows through a 15-hour Professional Development Institute (PDI) for teacher leaders, teacher educators and PD providers. The Galileo Educator Network (GEN) PDI emphasizes the integration of science content, science practices, and the nature of science as outlined in the national Framework for K–12 Science Education. Goals include preparing participants to deliver their own GEN professional development to assist K–12 teachers with the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards, in the context of astronomy and space science.

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Our Magnetic Sun

Partners in Public Engagement: Solar Astronomy Workshop for Park Interpreters, Nature Center/Environmental Educators & Amateur Astronomers

Friday, November 30 at East Bay Park TBD
Saturday, December 1 at Space Sciences Laboratory, UC Berkeley

Are you a park interpreter, nature center educator or other environmental educator who wants to include more science about the Sun in your education programs? Or an amateur astronomer who wants to make your outreach events even more engaging using tips and tricks from these educators? Come to this free two-day pilot workshop to share best practices with local amateur astronomers and park interpreters/environmental educators and learn about partnering with each other. Each participant will receive a free toolkit of hands-on activities and demos related to daytime solar observing and interpreting the Sun, and will learn about how to best use these materials during the workshop. 

The toolkit and workshop are free of charge, sponsored by the ASP, UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory and NAI Region 9. We simply ask that participants commit to holding at least one Sun-related public program by March 30, 2013 and fill out occasional surveys on the workshop experience and the use of the toolkit materials.

Park interpreters and other nature/environmental education employees apply here

Amateur astronomers apply here

Please sign & return the Expectations Form which you can download here 

The application deadline is October 1 and space is limited. We will notify you by October 26. Please contact Pablo with any questions via pnelson {at} astrosociety.org

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AAS 221st Meeting

ASP at AAS in January

Astronomy Ambassadors Launches at AAS Winter Meeting

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), in partnership with the ASP, the Center for Astronomy Education (CAE), and other organizations active in science education and public outreach, has created a new program for young astronomers just starting their careers. Astronomy Ambassadors involves a series of professional-development workshops and a community of practice designed to help improve participants’ communication skills and effectiveness in doing outreach to students and the public. The new program will provide mentoring and training experiences for new members of our profession, from advanced undergraduates to postdocs, providing access to resources and a network of contacts within the astronomy EPO community.

Astronomy Ambassadors will debut at the AAS winter meeting in Long Beach, CA in January.

If you are interested in becoming an Astronomy Ambassador, please fill out the online application by October 24, 2012. The AAS expects to provide successful applicants with modest travel stipends to help defray the cost of coming to Long Beach two days early to attend the workshop.

If you are an experienced EPO professional and interested in contributing outreach materials or techniques you have developed and that could be featured on the Astronomy Ambassadors website and/or our workshops, please contact Suzy Gurton, ASP Education Manager, sgurton {at} astrosociety.org.

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computer with information

ASP Sky Rangers Online Workshop for Outdoor Astronomy Interpretation

Sky Rangers Online Workshop for Outdoor Astronomy Interpretation
January 21 - March 15, 2013

Does your park or nature center have dark star-filled skies? Are your visitors excited about astronomy, but you would like more confidence in order to interpret the sky for them? Want to be able to find more in the sky than just the Big Dipper and Orion? Join our upcoming Sky Rangers online workshop so we can enable you to share the night sky as another important natural resource of your park. 

Applications are now being accepted for the Sky Rangers Workshop from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, taking place January 21 - March 15, 2013. This free online workshop provides training and a toolkit of materials for interpreters and outdoor educators who want to learn how to tell the story of the sky and bring the excitement of astronomy to their audiences. Participants of the winter 2013 workshop will also receive the Our Magnetic Sun toolkit with activities focused on the Sun and solar observing.

Apply on-line by November 28, 2012!

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CAE logo

CAE Resources for College-Level Introductory Astronomy Instructors

The Center for Astronomy Education (CAE)  is hosting two professional development workshops for teaching excellence in introductory college-level Astronomy and Space Science on Saturday & Sunday, January 5 & 6, 2013 as part of the AAS Winter Meeting in Long Beach, CA:

CAE’s Tier I (Introductory) Teaching Excellence Workshop and CAE Tier II Teaching with Technology Special Topics Workshop

The AAS charges a nominal small fee to attend these workshops, so in addition to registering for the workshop please take a moment to register with the AAS.

CAE Teaching Excellence Workshops have been hosted all around the country and at the national meetings of professional societies, such as the AAS. More than 2,000 college-level instructors, postdocs, and graduate students have attended in the past.

Please contact cae@as.arizona.edu with any questions.

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Courtesy of MWT Associates

Join us on our tour of Australia for the 2012 total eclipse.
November 2012

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ASP Legacy Giving

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another
-- Plato

Leave a universal legacy...

Astronomy shows us that we are part of something much greater than ourselves, and that our actions on earth have a lasting impact. A legacy gift to ASP as part of your estate plan reflects this understanding, and will support future generations as they reach for the stars.

ASP Legacy Giving



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