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Astronomical Society of the Pacific Newsletter
March 2013
  • ASP Welcomes Students with New Membership Rate
  • 2013 Annual Meeting: Ensuring STEM Literacy – Abstracts Now Being Accepted
  • Look Up for Comet Pan-STARRS March 10 – 12
  • Celebrate Sun-Earth Day, “Solar Max, Storm Warning,” on March 22
  • Other Goings-On the March Sky
  • 2013 GTTP Teacher Training Workshop July 20 & 21 – Registration Now Open
  • 2013 Bay Area Project ASTRO Workshop Aug 2 & 3 – Sign Up Today
  • Professional Astronomers Invited to Participate in AAVSO Survey
  • SOFIA Invites Educator Applications for Cycle 2 Ambassadors
  • Friends of Keck Observatory Celebrate 20 Years

Calling all students of astronomy (and space science, astrobiology, astrophysics, etc.)!
The ASP is pleased to announce a new membership rate just for students. With all the benefits an Individual Member at $55, the new student rate of $35 is intended to introduce the ASP and its valuable resources to those pursuing degrees in the sciences and in education.
Click here for more information about how membership supports the ASP and its mission to advance science literacy through astronomy. Join us!
Ensuring STEM Literacy
2013 Annual Meeting: Ensuring STEM Literacy – Abstracts now being accepted
Abstract proposals are now welcome for the ASP’s 2013 Annual Meeting, “Ensuring STEM Literacy.” Proposals for abstracts must be submitted via our online system, and not via regular mail or email.
Abstract Submission Deadline: April 1, 2013
The ASP invites EPO Abstract submissions in four categories:
  • Poster Papers
  • Ten-minute Oral Presentations
  • Hands-on Workshops/Sessions, one hour duration
  • Special Interest Group (SIG) Discussions, one hour duration
EPO Conference Abstract Threads – “Ensuring STEM Literacy” through:
  • 21st Century Media and Technology
  • Multicultural and Cross-Cultural Initiatives
  • Addressing Misconceptions & Conceptual Change
  • Evaluating and Assessing EPO Programs and Products
  • Using Authentic Science and Citizen Science
  • Improving Our Professional Practice
The ASP invites Cosmos in the Classroom Abstract submissions in three categories:
  • Poster Papers
  • Hands-on Workshops/Sessions, one hour duration
  • Special Interest Group (SIG) Discussions, one hour duration
Cosmos Abstract Threads - Examining Teaching & Learning in the Context of:
  • Laboratories, Planetariums, and Observatories
  • Online Courses
  • Classroom Technology
  • Education Research Studies
  • Integrating New Science Discoveries into Courses
  • Innovations and Great Ideas for the Classroom
Abstract Submission Deadline: April 1, 2013

Look up for Comet Pan-STARRS this month
The Comet Pan-STARRS has brightened dramatically over this past week, putting it back on back on track for a potentially spectacular night sky display this month.
The comet is now seemingly very close to early predictions of its brightness in the March sky, and it could conceivably be as bright as, or brighter, than a first-magnitude star when it makes its closest approach to the sun (called perihelion) on Sunday, March 10. That would make it clearly visible to the naked eye.
However, the best dates to look may be March 12 and 13 when Pan-STARRS emerges in the western sunset sky not far from the crescent Moon. A comet and the Moon, together, framed by twilight-blue is a rare sight.
Comet Pan-STARRS, known officially as comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS), was discovered in June 2011 by astronomers using the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System, or Pan-STARRS telescope, in Hawaii.  Comet Pan-STARRS should not be confused with another, even better comet coming later this year. In November, Comet ISON could shine as brightly as a full Moon in broad daylight when it passes through the atmosphere of the sun.
Celebrate Sun-Earth Day – “Solar Max, Storm Warning”
Sun-Earth Day is comprised of a series of programs and events that occur throughout the year culminating with a celebration on or near the Spring Equinox. Each year, NASA wraps a fresh new thematic approach around Sun-Earth science while highlighting Heliophysics scientists, their missions, and research. This year's theme is 'Solar Max – Storm Warning!'  NASA will prepare you to explore the violent nature of our Sun at the peak of solar activity, and share discoveries that come from NASA's heliophysics missions during this exciting period.
For local astronomy club activities in your area, check out the NASA Night Sky Network, managed by the ASP. NSN is your best resource for all things relating to amateur astronomy.
Other reasons to look up in March!
Mercury rises shortly before the Sun at month’s end, extremely low in the east-southeast. Saturn rises in the east-southeast well into the evening and is visible for the rest of the night. With its second visit at month’s end, the waning gibbous Moon is to Saturn’s upper right on the 28th and beneath it on the 29th (as both rise around 11:00 pm). Jupiter shines high in the southwest after sunset. If you want to explore this belted giant and its four brightest moons, don’t delay too much longer. The planet is sinking into the west each evening, and two months from now, it will be nearly lost in the solar glow. On the 17th the 6-day-old Moon sits nicely between Jupiter (2° to its upper right) and the orangish star Aldebaran (3° to Luna’s lower left).
The Spring Equinox arrives on the 20th at 7:02 am Eastern daylight time, 4:02 am Pacific daylight time.

2013 GTTP Teacher Training Workshop July 20 & 21 – registration now open
Cathy in the classroom making a cometGalileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP): Galileo Looks Beyond to Other Worlds
A hands-on astronomy workshop for teachers in Grades 3–12 and those who work with them
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, July 20–21, 2013, 8:30 am–5:00 pm
WHERE: Clark Hall on the Campus of San Jose State University
$75 Early Bird Rate (through May 15)
$95 Regular Rate (May 16–July 5)
$125 Onsite Registration (July 20)
*For both days (includes The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD, a $30 value).
Space is limited and registrations are accepted in the order received.
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
Cost: FREE!

Professional Astronomers: Invitation to Participate in an AAVSO Survey
The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) invites the participation of professional astronomers in its "Professional Astronomer Survey of 2013."
Your opinions and comments about the AAVSO's data offerings, services, software, and other activities are being solicited. Responses to our survey will be used to improve the offerings and services that the AAVSO provides to the global research community. Survey responses will be collected through April 15, with results and analysis posted on the AAVSO website in mid-May.

If you are a professional astronomer and wish to participate in this survey, please click here.

To learn more about the AAVSO, please click here.

Please share this notice with colleagues in your own institution and with others inside and outside the U.S.  Thank you in advance for your participation!
SOFIA Invites Educator Applications for Cycle 2 Ambassadors
AAA participants onboard SOFIANASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, is a Boeing 747SP fitted with a 100-inch (2.5-meter) diameter infrared telescope. Using a highly modified airliner gives the observatory the unique opportunity to take formal and informal educators on science missions. Once on board, educators become part of SOFIA’s on-going astronomy research as they partner with scientists scanning the infrared universe. Educators selected for SOFIA missions join the observatory’s Airborne Astronomy Ambassador (AAA) corps.
Currently, SOFIA is in the process of flying 13 educator teams as part of the observatory’s AAA Cycle 1 flights. To date, the first two teams have flown on two, 10-hour science missions from SOFIA’s home base in Palmdale, Calif.  The next opportunity for teachers to participate in SOFIA science missions will take place between January and December 2014 (AAA Cycle 2 flights). Applications will be accepted from March 1 through May 3, 2013. For further details, application requirements, and to access to the application form, please click here.
[Image: Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (from left) Constance Gartner, Vince Washington, Ira Harden and Chelen Johnson at the educators' work station aboard the SOFIA observatory. (NASA / ASP / N. Veronico)]
From Hawaii Island, a celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the W. M. Keck Observatory
March 16, 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the very first science observations made by the Keck I telescope on Mauna Kea. The Observatory’s discoveries about our Universe alongside our unsurpassed technical innovations have made Keck the premier observatory on Earth. Friends of Keck Observatory are organizing a series of programs to commemorate its 20th year and what they have accomplished. Through the entire week, Keck’s science, scientists and supporters will be celebrated.

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