Like on Facebook

Like this message on Facebook.

Astronomical Society of the Pacific Newsletter
August 2013
  • 2013 Annual Meeting Welcomes More than 250 EPO Professionals and “Cosmos” Astronomy Professors to Explore Science Education and Outreach, and STEM Literacy
    • Plenary Speakers and Workshop Presenters Discuss Diverse Topics
    • Supporters Luncheon Features Lockheed Martin Executive and Silicon Valley Leadership Group VP Sharing STEM Literacy Insights
    • ASP 2013 Astronomy Award Recipients Feted at Annual Banquet
    • Thank You to Sponsors and Exhibitors!
  • NASA EPO Funding Remains Uncertain as Congress Breaks for Recess
    • ASP Meets with Elected Officials about Perils of Cuts to NASA EPO Budget
  • ASP Plans for 125th Anniversary Year in 2014
    • Save the Date: February 7 for Celebratory Dinner Gala in San Francisco
    • Commemorative 2014 Calendar Soon for Sale
  • Planned Giving Check-In
    • How to Protect Your Loved Ones and Your Legacy
  • ASP Participates in Dark Sky Festival at Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • ASP to Participate in Silicon Valley Leadership Group 2013 Education Summit
  • New “Universe in the Classroom” Newsletter Available
  • MWT Associates

ASP’s 125th Annual Meeting Highlights
Ensuring STEM Literacy
ASP Board Member Schyleen Qualls with Dr. Gibor Basri from UC BerkeleyThe ASP welcomed more than 250 educators (K-12, university) and public outreach professionals to San Jose, CA for its Annual Meeting: Ensuring STEM Literacy, July 20 through 24 on the campus of San Jose State University. The event kicked off with a series of public science talks, and the ASP extends its thanks to speakers Lloyd Knox, Pamela Marcum, Brian Day, Chris McKay and Alex Filippenko. The Meeting line-up also featured a two-day Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP) workshop, and three days of workshops about science and STEM literacy in the classroom and informal settings. Diverse plenary sessions covered topics from Kepler to NASA EPO funding threats to citizen science to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to Next Generation Science Standards. Most – if not all – attendees carved out precious time from their schedules and even more precious funds from their budgets in order to join us in San Jose, and we thank you all very much. Thanks also to our many Meeting volunteers who helped keep things on the ground running smoothly!
[Image: ASP Board Member Schyleen Qualls with Dr. Gibor Basri from UC Berkeley. Credit: ASP]
Andrew Fraknoi and Katherine BracherThe ASP’s Annual Supporters Luncheon was a great success, hosting nearly 150 people (special guests from around Silicon Valley and Meeting attendees). Our long-standing Project ASTRO program was introduced to many new audiences through the enthusiastic discussion by teacher-astronomer partners Anna Batalao and Dr. Erin Smith. Engaging keynotes were then provided by 30-year Lockheed Martin executive Julie Sattler and Silicon Valley Leadership Group VP Dennis Cima, who shared their front-line perspectives on the “Triple Crown of STEM Literacy: Education, Public Policy, and Private Sector Employment and R&D.” The ASP’s 2013 Fraknoi Supporters Award recipient, Katherine Bracher, was also honored. Kate recently retired after more than 25 years as a prolific volunteer writer for Mercury Magazine. Last but certainly not least, the Luncheon raised nearly $10,000 in unrestricted funds for the ASP. Thank you!
[Image: Andy Fraknoi and 2013 Fraknoi Supporters Award Recipient Katherine Bracher. Credit: Andrew Fraknoi]
The Annual Meeting would of course be incomplete without its Awards Banquet, where we honored those whose work, studies, and volunteerism are advancing astronomy and science literacy across the country. Read more about the 2013 Bruce Medal and Awards recipients.
Rounding out the whole Annual Meeting was the support and participation of our very generous sponsors and exhibitors. We simply could not succeed with you!
Meeting sponsors

NASA EPO Funding Remains Uncertain as Congress Breaks for Recess – ASP Meets with Elected Officials to Share Concerns
In light of continued funding uncertainty and "political wrangling" over NASA’s FY2014 budget – especially relating to Education and Public Outreach (EPO), the ASP has met, and will continue to meet, with key U.S. Senators and Representatives. We share our concerns, and educate them about NASA’s successful approach in disseminating astronomy and space science through its nonprofit education and outreach partners. Meetings have taken place in Washington, D.C., as well as in local district offices, and the ASP’s Statement Regarding the Obama Administration’s GFY14 Budget Proposal Relating to NASA SMD EPO Funding remains posted on our website. We have also added new resources for those who are equally concerned about threats to NASA’s EPO program and budget. It is not too late to get involved and reach out to your elected officials.  U.S. Representatives and Senators are back in their local districts, so now is a good time to contact them. Please visit the ASP public statement page for helpful tools and guidance.

ASP Makes Plans to Celebrate its 125th Anniversary Year in 2014
ASP logoMany of you are very familiar with the story, “On a chilly February evening in 1889 in San Francisco, astronomers from Lick Observatory and members of the Pacific Coast Amateur Photographic Association — fresh from viewing the New Year’s Day total solar eclipse north of the City — met to share pictures and experiences. Edward Holden, Lick’s first director, complimented the amateurs on their service to science, and proposed to continue the good fellowship through the founding of a Society ‘to advance the Science of Astronomy, and to diffuse information concerning it.’ Thus the Astronomical Society of the Pacific was born.”  Today the ASP is excited to plan for its 125th anniversary year in 2014. The celebration will kick off with a dinner gala on Friday, February 7 in San Francisco so please save the date. More details soon!

The ASP is also designing a limited edition commemorative 2014 anniversary calendar to be sold in our AstroShop to raise funds for programs and services. The calendar will feature stunning astronomy pictures – many taken by the talented photographers in our NASA Night Sky Network – as well as historical images, noted milestones from our history, and what to look for in the sky throughout next year. The calendar will be available for sale in the fall, and we will send out an alert at that time.
Planned Giving Check-In
Horsehead NebulaAs many of you know, from time to time it is an excellent idea to review your estate planning and legacy giving … and please don’t let the word “estate” mislead you. Regardless of income, everyone has an estate, everyone will have final expenses, and everyone is responsible for his or her own financial planning. End of life issues can be sensitive and scary. They are also incredibly important to address when you have the capacity and capability to do so.  Each month, the ASP provides new information about planned giving: IRS regulations, charitable gift opportunities, and stories about real people who learned unfortunate lessons by not paying attention to their financial housekeeping. You have worked hard for all that you have accomplished and achieved in life. Your legacy is too important to be left to chance. Please visit Give for Tomorrow every month to keep abreast of the latest estate planning news and information.
[Image: Horsehead Nebula, Barnard 33. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)]

ASP Participates in Dark Sky Festival at Lassen Volcanic National Park
Coinciding with the Perseid meteor shower the weekend of August 10 & 11, Lassen Volcanic National Park (east of Redding, CA) hosted its 2nd Annual Dark Sky Festival. The ASP's Education Manager, Suzanne Gurton, organized activities and interactive demos for participating families, with themes revolving around comets, meteors, and impacts.
Suzy shows how to make a cometThe Dark Sky Festival was launched after two Lassen Park Rangers participated in the ASP's Sky Rangers workshop. The Rangers already knew NASA astrobiologists studying life forms that thrive in Lassen's volcanic hot spots, and they also connected with local amateur astronomers for safely observing the 2012 Transit of Venus and annular eclipse. The ASP Sky Rangers workshop provided tools to organize an annual festival that celebrates the fact that "half the park is after dark." Visitors now enjoy the other precious resource that they conserve: the night sky.
[Image: ASP Education Manager Suzanne Gurton Demonstrates How to “Create a Comet”. Credit: ASP]
ASP to Participate in Silicon Valley Leadership Group 2013 Education Summit
On September 4 at the Silicon Valley campus of Microsoft, the ASP will participate in the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s 2013 Education Summit. ASP Executive Director Jim Manning will network and rub elbows with leaders from organizations across the education and education funding sectors, including Teach for America, University of California system, California Community Colleges, California State University system, Health Trust, Partners in School Innovation, and Children Now. The ASP will also exhibit our programmatic “wares,” and showcase our efforts and achievements in educator professional development.
New “Universe in the Classroom” Newsletter Available
The Universe in the ClassroomThe summer issue of the ASP’s quarterly teacher newsletter, Universe in the Classroom, is available via the ASP website. “Energy Budget: Earth’s Most Important and Least Appreciated Planetary Attribute” was written by Lin Chambers (NASA Langley Research Center) and Katie Bethea (SSAI).
Scientists have worked to understand the Earth’s energy budget for well over a century.  Starting in 1978, NASA has added to scientist’s understanding through orbital instruments and dedicated satellites to collect data on the input of solar radiation, and the outflow of energy from the Earth.  Analysis of this data has helped scientists understand the factors that influence this energy budget.  Through My NASA Data, educators can now access much of this data, along with activities for its use in the classroom.
In this edition of Universe in the Classroom, learn about how NASA studies the Earth’s energy budget, and how to use My NASA Data to bring NASA data into the classroom.

Corporate Partner Highlight: MWT Associates
MWT Associates logoUnderstanding the unparalleled excitement that exists at the crossroads of astronomy and travel, the ASP is grateful for its relationship with MWT Associates, premier astronomy travel company and one of the ASP’s valued corporate partners. MWT’s international expertise and global destinations are designed for people new to astronomy travel as well as those seasoned in exotic expeditions. And your travel experience is enriched by the scientific knowledge of a distinguished and engaging lecture team – often someone from the ASP. Best of all? Your journey with MWT results in a charitable contribution to the ASP. A definite win-win! So we invite you to explore MWT Associates’ unique and intriguing astronomy travel packages, book an astronomy adventure, and support the ASP at the same time.

donate to support science literacy facebook twitter YouTube