"It's the most wonderful time of the year," says the song-in this unlikeliest of seasons, when the sun is at its nadir and the days are darkest and cold. And yet the human race has always made of it a celebration, a great whistling in the dark, making it beautiful with light, good fellowship, and good cheer.
It's the time of year made beautiful by our appreciation of those around us and the things that matter most. The time of year when we at the ASP are especially thankful for you, our good friends and supporters, for mattering so much to us and to the work in which we all believe.
On behalf of the Staff and Board of the ASP, please let me sincerely thank you for that support and good will, to wish you the best of holiday seasons, and a new year that finds you running with the stars!
Jim Manning, Executive Director
Jeffrey Mangum, NRAO Scientist, Named New PASP Editor
The journal, an ASP Technical Member benefit, occupies a well-respected position in the field of astronomy that appeals to Mangum. “I specialize in developing advanced astronomical instrumentation, and PASP is one of the top places for instrument and software developers in astronomy to rigorously document and disseminate their
contributions to the field,” he said.
“We are delighted to have a scientist of Jeff’s experience and professional stature at the editorial helm of PASP,” said ASP executive director James Manning. “With the tremendous resurgence that radio astronomy is enjoying through the new telescopes that NRAO is bringing on-line, it’s a fitting time to welcome our first-ever PASP editor from the radio astronomy community.”
Prior PASP editor, Paula Szkody, astronomy professor at the University of Washington, steps down following seven years of excellence in editing this industry leading publication. Thank you, Paula, for a job well done!
NASA Recognizes SOFIA Educator Program
NASA recently presented the staff of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Education and Public Outreach team with a group achievement award in recognition of its pilot Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (AAA) program. The ASP, in conjunction with the SETI Institute, manages and implements the AAA program, which pairs middle school, high school and museum-based teachers with scientists to experience a flight mission on the world’s largest airborne observatory. Educators
return to their classrooms and communities to relate the excitement, hardships, challenges, discoveries, teamwork, educational values of SOFIA, and scientific research in general.
SOFIA began initial science operations in December 2010, and the first group of Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors was known around the mission as the “SOFIA Six.” Flying at altitudes between 39,000 and 45,000 feet, above more than 99 percent of the Earth’s water vapor, the SOFIA Six educators sat side-by-side with scientists during research missions in the summer of 2011.
Ambassadors incorporate knowledge gained during research flights, as well as specific parts of their experience, into their curricula. They have also organized dozens of talks and teacher professional development workshops. Their efforts, to date, have influenced and inspired hundreds of students, teachers, and community members.
Photo: Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors Mary Blessing and Cris Wolf with Education and Public Outreach director Dana Backman. Image credit: NASA/SOFIA/N.Veronico
ASP Makes it Easy to Connect to Astronomy via Mobile Apps
NSN Club events now on SkySafari! Finding star parties and Night Sky Network (NSN) astronomy club events is easier than ever with the SkySafari mobile app. SkySafari is the latest mobile astronomy app (it’s a planetarium in your pocket!) to include NSN events. Check the app's Help menu for “Local Astronomy Events.”
The Distant Suns planetarium app also lists Night Sky Network club events. Tap on “Events” in the navigation bar. Distant Suns is available on iPhone, iPad, Kindle, and NOOK.
For many people, this time of year represents a slowing down of enterprise and activity – providing precious moments to take stock, look around, and look ahead. Regardless of your age or professional standing, it’s also an excellent time to review your finances and plan for the unexpected challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.
The ASP’s planned giving partner, The Stelter Company, and the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils have launched a new, free online resource to help promote financial awareness and literacy: A Smart Plan: A Better World. The site provides visitors a place to gain a better understanding of estate
planning, access tools to get started, and explore ways to support charitable causes.
Take Back the Calendar on 12/12/12!
While many pundits and prognosticators lament the supposed end of the world on December 21, 2012 (thanks to misinterpreting Mayan predictions), here at the ASP we encourage everyone to go in the opposite – and accurate – direction. Thus, we are declaring December 12, 2012 as Anti-Doomsday Day in celebration of rational thinking and reasoned discourse.
We also feel that, in many respects, the number 12 is most auspicious: contemporary calendars (12 months in the year), chronology (12 hours of day and night), traditional zodiac (12 astrological signs*), Greek mythology (12 Olympic gods and goddesses), holiday folklore (12 days of Christmas), Shakespeare (Twelfth Night), and of course in our culinary world (dozen eggs, case of wine)!
More importantly, in astronomy Mars is 12 light minutes from the Sun, the average temperature of the Earth is 12 degrees Celsius, and Jupiter takes 12 years to orbit the Sun.
Last but not least, this date structure – a triple set of the same two-digit number – will not occur again until 2112! So, at 12 noon on 12/12/12, please take a moment to thank all who keep us on the path of science literacy. Please also feel free to show your support by donating $12, $24 or $36
dollars to the ASP!
Happy Anti-Doomsday Day!
“How to Get to Mars … and What to Do Once You Arrive” – Dinner Tickets Now on Sale
Please join your friends at the ASP for our annual fundraising dinner on Friday, January 25, 2013: an evening with Dr. Pascal Lee of the Mars
Institute, and “Packing for Mars” best-selling author Mary Roach*.
All proceeds will go towards supporting the ASP’s diverse astronomy and education and outreach programs and services!
Delancey Street Restaurant, Embarcadero at Brannan
“Stardust” $100 ASP member / $125 non-member
“Comet” $150 (preferred seating)
“Mercury” $200 (premium seating)
“Jupiter” $300 (dine with VIP guests)
“Earth” $1,250 (table for ten)
The fair market value for this event is $75 per person; the amount paid over and above this may be tax deductible as provided by law.
*Pending schedule confirmation
ASP 2013 Annual Meeting
July 20 to 24, San Jose, CA
The ASP is excited to celebrate our 125th gathering of educators and public outreach professionals. Via workshops, lectures, panels, discussions and exhibits, more than 200 specialists from across the science spectrum collaborate to explore best practices, research findings, trends and professional development opportunities. Meeting attendees then return to their classrooms, laboratories, lecture halls, technology offices, government
agencies, publishing houses and science centers armed to diffuse and disseminate all that they have learned.
Co-hosted by San Jose State University, we are also excited that our 125th Annual Meeting will be held in our backyard and the nation’s hub of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries. Astronomy is perhaps the most integrated of sciences – rooted in all four STEM pillars – and thus we are focusing our 2013 Annual Meeting on STEM literacy.
2013 also marks a Cosmos in the Classroom year. This unique co-conference welcomes more than 150 teachers of college-level introductory astronomy for a series of education workshops about the most popular and populated basic science class in universities across the country.
EDUCATION & OUTREACH PROGRAMS
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
Date: Saturday, January 12, 2013; 9 am to 1 pm
Location: College of San Mateo Astronomy Department and Planetarium, 1700 West Hillsdale Blvd.,
NASA’s SOFIA Mission and Active Astronomy in the Classroom – Feb 9
Most students are familiar with the rainbow of colors that make up visible light. They're often less comfortable dealing with light from the other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum — gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, infrared light, microwaves, and radio waves. Students may not realize the important role non-visible light plays in their everyday lives. In this workshop learn some hands-on and demonstration activities
designed to complement instruction on the electromagnetic spectrum for middle and high school students. Each activity is designed to take 1–2 class periods.
Audience: 5th–12th grade teachers; interested educators of all grade levels
Date: Saturday, February 9, 2013; 9:00am–1:00pm
Location: SETI Institute, 189 Bernardo Avenue, Mountain View, CA
NASA Galileo Educator Network Teacher Workshop – Mar 2, Mar 23
Become a NASA Galileo Educator through this 15-‐hour professional development opportunity for teachers. This NASA Galileo Educator Network workshop emphasizes inquiry-based strategies and the nature and practice of science. Learn activities and strategies for teaching Galileo-‐themed science inquiry and space science content with NASA resources. Follow‐up sessions allow participants the chance to try strategies and activities in
their classrooms, then share with the group their successes and challenges. Each workshop participant will receive the large best-selling astronomy teaching resource guide The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0, and NASA resources for use in your classroom.
Audience: Teachers in grades 3–9 Cost: FREE!
Date: Saturday, March 2 / Saturday, March 23, 2013; 9:00am–4:30pm (attendance on both days is required)
Location: Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 390 Ashton, San Francisco, CA (at Ocean Ave in Ingleside, neighborhood parking or K-Line)
2013 Bay Area Project ASTRO Workshop – Aug 2 & 3
Project ASTRO is a program that matches teachers with astronomers in Bay Area schools and community organizations. Project ASTRO is looking for 3rd–9th grade teachers to work with volunteer astronomers who have a keen interest in sharing the wonders of astronomy with students. Together, teachers and their astronomer partner attend a free 2-day summer workshop to learn hands‐on, inquiry-based astronomy activities designed to involve students in the
excitement of scientific discovery.
Audience: Teachers in grades 3–9; volunteer astronomers with a passion for sharing their love of astronomy
Date: Friday, August 2 / Saturday, August 3; 9:00am–4:30pm (attendance on both days is required)
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, 101 Twin Dolphin Drive, Redwood City, CA
~ Season's Greetings from the ASP ~
Reflection. Gratitude. Giving. Traditional tenets of this time of year. We recognize how many are in need as a result of recent events on the East Coast, and we understand that people only have so much to contribute.
As you plan your year-end charitable donations, won’t you please take a moment to consider a gift to the ASP? Perhaps more relevant than ever, tomorrow’s science, technology and academic leaders are being influenced and inspired today.
This is where the ASP and our incredible supporters make a difference … thank you!