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ASP October 2012 Newsletter

ASP Launches New Website

ASP & Partners Receive $2.5M NSF Grant to Research Early Childhood Science Learning

National Estate Planning Awareness Week: October 15-21

ASP Fall Appeal Underway

ASP Welcomes Three New Board Members

October 17th - Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series kicks off

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

Don't "Fall" for the Hype!

Galileoscopes in the Classroom

ASP at AAS in January

Multicultural Astronomy in the Classroom

ASP Sky Rangers Online Workshop for Outdoor Astronomy Interpretation


website screenshot

ASP Launches New Online Destination for Astronomy Educators, Researchers, Outreach Professionals, Amateurs and the Public

The ASP Staff is excited to announce the launch of our new website … a dynamic online destination for astronomy news, information, education program alerts, special event calendars, Annual Meeting details and much more. This collaborative project has been a labor of love for everyone involved, and we look forward to interacting with all of our valued members, donors, partners and friends via our new online destination for nearly all things astronomy-related.

Should any information you seek not be readily located, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to guide you. Please visit soon and return often!

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NSF logo

NSF Grant - "My Sky Tonight"

The ASP and its partners have been awarded $2.5M by the National Science Foundation as part of its Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program. The overall goal of the 4.5 year project is to help science centers and museums offer effective informal learning opportunities for families with young children that will reinforce and extend their interest in astronomy-related topics, and promote their developing identities as “kids who like science.” Although young children spontaneously show great interest in the sun, moon, planets, and stars, many parents and informal science educators lack the astronomy content, interpretive strategies, and confidence they need to effectively support preschool-age children’s developing astronomy-related understandings. This project will develop engaging new ways to support and encourage young children’s understanding of science.

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desk calendar

National Estate Planning Awareness Week: October 15-21

Estate planning is one of the most overlooked areas of personal financial management. Approximately 120,000,000 Americans do not have up-to-date estate plans to protect themselves or their families in the event of sickness, accidents or untimely death. This can result in financial uncertainty and emotional hardship – which can be minimized with advanced planning. In recognition of National Estate Planning Awareness Week, the ASP is pleased to share easy-to-understand estate planning resources to help you protect yourself, your loves ones, your assets and your legacy. 

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ASP 2012 Fall Fund Drive

This photo illustration depicts a view of the night sky just before the predicted merger between our Milky Way galaxy and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy. Courtesy NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), and A. Mellinger

ASP Fall Appeal Underway

What would life and learning be like without the stars? They engage, inspire, and help us to understand this world and the worlds around us. For all of us here at the ASP, they help advance science and science literacy, and we seek your support in delivering on our mission.

Whether training park rangers to share the wonder of the sky with families and children, providing professional development to K-12 educators to improve science literacy in the classroom, or facilitating amateur club activities to instill a grassroots interest in astronomy in their public outreach, the ASP is at the forefront of fostering the excitement of scientific discovery. Through our workshops, programs, professional publications, and special initiatives, we use the precious natural resource of the stars to inspire and educate girls and boys, young women and men – our science, technology and academic leaders of tomorrow. Your gift is an investment in this exciting, science literare future!

Won’t you please take a moment to read more from ASP Executive Director Jim Manning, and thank you for considering a gift the to the ASP.

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ASP logo

Welcome to the ASP Board

We hope you join us in welcoming three new members to the ASP Board of Directors:

  • Noelle Filippenko, piZone.org, public outreach & education
  • Christine Jones, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • Dr. William Cochran, University of Texas McDonald Observatory


We thank each of them for their commitment to the ASP, and look forward to working with them to advance science literacy through astronomy!

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SVAL logo

Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures

Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture series kicks off with a free, illustrated, non-technical talk on “Finding the Next Earth: The Latest Results from the Kepler Mission” given by Dr. Natalie Batalha, Mission Scientist for NASA's Kepler Project. 

When: Wednesday, October 17 at 7 pm
Where: Smithwick Theater, Foothill College, El Monte Road and Freeway 280, Los Altos Hills, CA.
How Much: the lecture is free but on-campus parking is $3

Please call the series hotline at 650-949-7888 for information and driving directions. The ASP is pleased to co-sponsor Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures.

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ASP's 4th Annual Fundraising Dinner: How to Get to Mars and What to do Once You Arrive

The ASP’s 4th Annual Fundraising Dinner will be held on Friday, January 25th at Delancey Street Restaurant on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. We are excited to announce that best-selling author Mary Roach (“Packing for Mars”) has tentatively confirmed to join Dr. Pascal Lee, co-founder and CEO of the Mars Institute as a speaker.

Invitations are soon on the way, and ASP Members should be on the lookout for a specially reduced ticket price. Please also feel free to contact Kathryn Harper via kharper@astrosociety.org or 415-715-1406.

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NLSI website screenshot

Don't "Fall" for the Hype!

As students return to school this fall and the media and web hype about Doomsday 2012 reaches a final, fevered pitch, all of us in science education will need to be prepared to respond to concerns from those who are genuinely worried or confused.

A video recording of the plenary session "Doomsday 2012 and Cosmophobia" at the ASP’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Tucson has been posted by NASA's Lunar Science Institute. The panel features astronomers, educators, and an expert on Mayan civilization. Panelists examine some of the key claims about end-of-the-world predictions and the more general idea of "cosmophobia" -- fear of celestial events and phenomena. The website also includes an overview letter from Dr. David Morrison (of NASA and the SETI Institute) and links to useful resources.

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Project ASTRO Workshop: Galileoscopes in the Classroom

This workshop is an opportunity to learn more about using the Galileoscope in your classroom. Through hands-on activities in light and optics, workshop participants will learn more about how telescopes work. Each teacher participant will receive a set of Galileoscopes for use in their classroom!

Who: 5th - 9th grade teachers; interested educators of all grade levels
When: Saturday, December 1, 2012; 9 am to 1 pm
Where: RAFT, 1235 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose
How much:
$25 for active Project ASTRO partners and/or RAFT members; $40 for non-members
To Register, please go to: http://www.raftbayarea.org/workshops

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AAS 221st Meeting

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.

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Project ASTRO logo

Multicultural Astronomy in the Classroom

So often the teaching of astronomy ignores or sidesteps the contributions of non-European and non-U.S. cultures. Few educators receive much training in this area and often stick to what they know best, even when an increasing number of their students are from cultures beyond those familiar to them. In this workshop, explore activities and resources about the astronomical heritage of cultures from around the world.

Audience: 3rd - 9th grade teachers; interested educators of all grade levels
Tentative Date: Saturday, January 12, 2013; 9 am to 1 pm
Location: TBD
$25 for active Project ASTRO partners; $40 for non-Project ASTRO partners
For more information and to register, please email: bayareaastro@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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kid wearing spacesuit

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Travel with the ASP


Courtesy of MWT Associates

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

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astronomy tours

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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