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- Dear Members, Supporters, and Friends of the ASP, Over the last 6 months, the astronomy community has been rocked by the revelations of very serious cases of sexual harassment against women at several institutions. Equally disturbing was the discovery that these behaviors had gone essentially unchecked at universities for decades. Serious questions were raised concerning who knew about it, how and why this behavior was tolerated for so long, and whether the profession has the right mechanisms in place to address sexual harassment swiftly and meaningfully. Horrendous emotional damage has been done to women directly affected by sexual harassment and we have lost scores of female astronomers who left the field because of what they experienced or witnessed. Internationally respected science news outlets such as Nature, The New York Times, and Washington Post have pronounced: “Astronomy’s Snowballing Sexual Harassment Scandal Picks Up Even More Cases,” “Stories Spill Out as Spotlight Is Shined on Sexism in Astronomy,” and “Astronomy Roiled Again By Sexual-Harassment Allegations.” These are hardly headlines that encourage girls and young women to pursue astronomy as a career. Formal statements have been made by professional societies such as the American Astronomical Society, Royal Astronomical Society, and American Geophysical Union strongly denouncing sexual harassment and re-affirming institutional commitments to create safe and inclusive work and learning environments. ASP now adds its voice to condemn harassment, support victims, and promote a culture of inclusion. The ASP Board of Directors and ASP Staff has and continues to strongly condemn harassment based on gender, gender identity, sexual preference, race, ethnicity, age, religious beliefs, or disability. We affirm our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity and commit ourselves to promoting change through education (See ASP Board of Director’s Statement on Sexual Harassment in Astronomy). The ASP also announces several proactive initiatives designed to promote equity and inclusion (See Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Statement On Diversity and Inclusion). More than any other organization, the ASP is uniquely positioned, holds the reputation, and possesses the skills needed to educate the astronomy community. Ending sexual harassment requires a multipronged approach focusing on the beliefs and behavior of individuals, organizations, and systems. We are the trusted organization that the entire astronomy community looks to when it needs the access the very best in educational materials, resources, and training. Through existing ASP programs and initiatives -- Astronomy Ambassadors (training young astronomers in education outreach), My Sky Tonight (developing materials for young children), ASP Teacher Learning Center (K-12 teacher professional development) -- we can do a great deal to promote equity and inclusion. On behalf of the ASP Board, Staff and all the astronomy enthusiasts our programs serve, thank you for your continued support of our work. Together we will ensure that the excitement of astronomy is available to all. Sincerely, Linda Shore, Ed.D Executive Director
- The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) is accepting nominations for the organization’s national annual awards which recognize special achievements in astronomy research, technology, education, and public outreach. Nominations are welcome in eight categories, online or in writing until February 15, 2016. Honorees receive a cash award and engraved plaque, as well as travel and lodging to accept the award at a banquet which takes place as part of the ASP’s Annual Meeting next fall. The awards for which nominations are accepted are as follows: The Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal, awarded for a lifetime of outstanding research in astronomy. The Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award recognizes recent significant observational results made possible by innovative advances in astronomical instrumentation, software, or observational infrastructure. The Robert J. Trumpler Award is presented each year to a recent recipient of the PhD degree in North America whose research is considered unusually important to astronomy. The Klumpke-Roberts Award recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy. The Richard A. Emmons Award celebrates outstanding achievement in the teaching of college-level introductory astronomy for non-science majors. The Thomas J. Brennan Award is given for excellence in the teaching of astronomy at the high school level in North America. The Amateur Achievement Award recognizes significant observational or technological contributions to astronomy or amateur astronomy by an individual not employed in the field of astronomy in a professional capacity. The Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award honors outstanding educational outreach by an amateur astronomer to K-12 youth and the interested lay public. The nominations deadline is February 15, 2016. Submission guidelines, lists of past recipients and additional information may be found here: www.astrosociety.org/about-us/awards About the ASP Founded in 1889 in San Francisco, the ASP’s mission is to increase the understanding and appreciation of astronomy--by engaging scientists, educators, enthusiasts and the public--to advance science and science literacy. The ASP publishes scholarly and educational materials, conducts professional development programs for formal and informal educators, and holds conferences, symposia, and workshops for astronomers and educators specializing in education and public outreach. More information may be found at www.astrosociety.org
- The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), one of the oldest and most respected science education organizations in the U.S., has announced that Michael Greene is the 2015 recipient of its Andrew Fraknoi Supporters Award. 125 years ago, the ASP has evolved into one of the most recognized and well-respected nonprofit astronomy organizations in the country. Boasting diverse national programs endorsed by NASA and the NSF, publications, and awards designed to serve, empower, and recognize professional and amateur astronomers, as well as formal and informal educators, the ASP is unique in its mission to foster science literacy and share the excitement of exploration and discovery through astronomy. The ASP is headquartered in the Ingleside neighborhood of San Francisco, and is financially supported by donations, grants, corporate sponsorships, subscriptions, member dues, and retail sales.