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Astronomical Society of the Pacific Newsletter
September 2013
  • Executive Director, James G Manning, to Depart the ASP in early 2014
  • SOFIA Reaches New Heights in the South Pacific Sky
  • Timothy Ferris to Keynote at ASP’s 125th Anniversary Dinner on February 7, 2014
  • ASP’s 125th Anniversary Commemorative 2014 Calendar Soon Available for Sale
  • ASP Seeks Funding to Launch Portfolio of New Programs
  • Dr. Paul Henry Guttman, Jr.

Executive Director, James G Manning, to Depart the ASP in early 2014
James ManningJames Manning, ASP Executive Director, has announced plans to resign from the position effective February 7, 2014—the 125th birthday of the ASP. Manning has served as Executive Director since 2007.

“I’m very proud of the work the staff and I have accomplished during my tenure,” Manning said. “We established a firm financial, operational and programmatic foundation for the Society during an ongoing period of economic challenges in both the nonprofit and public sectors. We’ve taken the ASP in new strategic directions, grown and expanded existing programs and created new ones, grown our digital presence via social and mobile media, and developed sustainable partnerships with other organizations. We have also increased the ASP’s visibility and engagement on the national stage.

“But it’s time for me to pursue other interests, and to support and encourage new leadership to build on our accomplishments to carry the ASP into the next 125 years. I look forward to assisting in the transition to a new executive director.”

ASP Board President Gordon Myers thanked Manning for his hard work and dedication to ASP. “His work put ASP in a sound financial position and made it a leader in the astronomy education and public outreach community.”

Please visit the ASP's website for more details about the search for ASP’s new Executive Director.
SOFIA Reaches New Heights in the South Pacific Sky
SOFIA in New Zealand with rainbowNASA's SOFIA airborne observatory was deployed to Christchurch, New Zealand, from July 12 to Aug. 2, 2013, taking advantage of the Southern Hemisphere's orientation to study celestial objects that are difficult or impossible to see in the northern sky. The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that carries a telescope with an effective diameter of 100 inches (250 centimeters). It provides astronomers access to the visible, infrared, and submillimeter spectrum.
Water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere, which blocks infrared radiation, is extremely low during the winter months over the southern oceans, thus the decision to base the observatory at Christchurch. On the first flight from Christchurch, July 17/18, astronomers used SOFIA to observe the disk of gas and dust orbiting the black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, and two dwarf galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, which accompany the Milky Way. The Magellanic Clouds can be seen easily with the naked eye in the southern sky.
SOFIA completed three science flights per week for three weeks before returning to its home base at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., on Aug. 2. Peer-reviewed science results from the New Zealand observations are expected to be released in late summer 2014. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific provides education and public outreach services to NASA’s SOFIA program. For more information, visit: or
[Image: Rainbow over SOFIA and the Christchurch International Airport. Credit: NASA/USRA/Greg Perryman]

Timothy Ferris to Keynote at ASP’s 125th Anniversary Dinner on February 7, 2014
The ASP is pleased and excited to announce that award-winning astronomy writer, journalist, lecturer, and educator, Timothy Ferris, will present the keynote address at the ASP’s 125th Anniversary Dinner Gala on February 7, 2014 in San Francisco. The evening will celebrate and showcase the ASP and the organization’s 125 years of empowering and inspiring astronomy education and outreach. Mr. Ferris’ talk will be entitled. “The State of the Universe,” weaving in historic and contemporary astronomy themes.
Timothy FerrisNominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book award, Mr. Ferris is the author of a dozen books, among them “Seeing in the Dark,” “The Whole Shebang,” and “Coming of Age in the Milky Way,” which was translated into fifteen languages and named by The New York Times as among the leading books published in the twentieth century. A former newspaper reporter and editor of Rolling Stone magazine, he has written more than two hundred articles and essays for publications such as The New Yorker, National Geographic, The New York Review of Books, Forbes, Harper's, Life, Nature, Time, Newsweek, Readers' Digest, Scientific American, The Nation, The New Republic, and The New York Times.
Called "the best popular science writer in the English language" by The Christian Science Monitor and "the best science writer of his generation" by The Washington Post, Mr. Ferris has received the American Institute of Physics prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
An annual fundraising event for ASP programs and services, tickets for the 125th Anniversary Dinner will go on sale in October. Please visit the ASP website for more details.
ASP’s 125th Anniversary Commemorative 2014 Wall Calendar Soon Available for Sale
ASP Astronomy calendarIn honor of the ASP’s 125th anniversary in 2014, the organization plans to publish for sale a limited edition commemorative wall calendar featuring stunning astrophotography submitted by our own Night Sky Network community members and other sources. In addition to “what to look up for” each month, this large calendar will also include key dates, milestones, and “firsts” from the ASP’s extensive and diverse history. The calendar is being sold to help raise funds for ASP programs and services, and will make a perfect holiday or year-end thank you gift for friends, family members, colleagues and clients! Size: 13" x 10.5".
One calendar for $20
Three calendars for $15 each (25% discount)
Five calendars for $10 each (50% discount)
(Shipping and handling charges apply)
Please visit the ASP’s AstroShop to pre-order your calendars today!

ASP Seeks Funding to Launch Portfolio of New Programs
ASP logoIn response to new challenges and opportunities in science education and outreach, the ASP is seeking funds to launch four innovative programs to support and empower educators, outreach professionals, and students of astronomy across formal and informal settings.
STEM Stars of the Universe
Piloted in May 2013 at KIPP Academy Bayview in San Francisco, STEM Stars showcases scientists of color as role models via interactive assemblies for middle-school students of under-served demographics. Through discussions, games, and Q&A, young people meet and become inspired by diverse leaders in STEM academics and careers.
Astronomy as the Gateway to Next Generation Science Standards
Building on our well-established programmatic success in arming educators with tools and training to teach science better, the ASP plans to incorporate astronomy as the gateway science when the Next Generation Science Standards are implemented by school districts across the country.
Remote Scopes
What is the next evolution in public outreach? Incorporating robotics and remote scope access in real time, at star parties and beneath the skies. The ASP plans to partner with scope networks such as Las Cumbres to provide new and unprecedented access to global viewing opportunities for members of our NASA Night Sky Network and other groups.
Project ASTRO in the Parks
Nearly 20 years ago, the ASP invented a new way to help teachers teach science: Project ASTRO, which pairs professional and amateur astronomers with teachers for a unique classroom learning experience. The program has expanded nationally, and grown into a well-respected methodology in teacher training. Now the ASP plans to replicate Project ASTRO’s in-class success for the benefit of state and national park rangers, naturalists, and interpreters – as well as millions of park visitors.
To learn more about these exciting new programs, or to help the ASP launch new initiatives in astronomy education and outreach, please contact Kathryn Harper, Director of Development, at 415-715-1406 or

In Memoriam: Dr. Paul Henry Guttman, March 16, 1941–August 16, 2013
The ASP was saddened to learn of the August death of Dr. Paul Guttman, long-time organizational member and donor. Dr. Guttman was also a passionate champion of astronomy education, having founded Space Science for Schools in Nevada. Dr. Guttman was also an ASP Project ASTRO volunteers since 1993, and Space Science for Schools hosted the 2009 Project ASTRO National Network Site Leaders Meeting. Staff and board of the ASP last saw Dr Guttman at the organization’s annual dinner in late January of this year.
Paul GuttmanFrom a recent remembrance published in a Nevada newspaper:

“There are a handful of people in this world to whom a dull moment is an unknown thing and an impossibility, Paul Guttman was one. A prodigious noticer, he was intensely curious about all things large and small. Most men of this century seem to feel that they have got the duties of two lifetimes to accomplish in one, and so they rush, and rush, and never have time to be companionable. Paul was not one of these men. He would share a new recipe, a new arrangement of an old song, the sighting of a distant star. Paul spoke a universal language, a language of kindness, and kindness is a language that those without audible can hear and those without sight can read.”

We will miss you, Dr. Guttman.

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