The AAS Finale: Astronomy Cast Meet-up (Photos)

A unique beer-fuelled AAS camera angle. Clockwise from top right: Pamela Gay, Fraser Cain, Chris Lintott and Ian O'Neill
A unique beer-fuelled AAS camera angle. Clockwise from top right: Pamela Gay, Fraser Cain, Chris Lintott and Ian O'Neill

It’s Thursday afternoon and the hangover is finally subsiding. This morning wasn’t a nice experience, having stumbled back to the hotel at 2am, knowing very well I had to get up at 7am for the final round of sessions at the AAS conference, I knew the lack of sleep might be a problem.

After all, there would be no presentations in the afternoon and I was very motivated to get the scoop on some more breaking astro news. Unfortunately, 7am turned into 10:30am, and although I tried, I couldn’t make it past the hotel lobby. For me, Thursday was cancelled. Oh well, at least the previous night was awesome
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AAS Update: The Story So Far

The galactic centre in unprecidented detail from Hubble (NASA, ESA, and Q.D. Wang)
The galactic centre in unprecidented detail from Hubble (NASA, ESA, and Q.D. Wang)

Day One: Information overload! When Fraser and I turned up in Long Beach, CA yesterday for the 213th American Astronomical Society meeting, I had an overwhelming feeling that I should have done my homework before travelling to the event. Hundreds of participants, hundreds of posters and hundreds of presentations… as an astrophysicist, I feel like a kid in a candy shop, but as a blogger, it’s hard to know where to start!

A shredded asteroid around a white dwarf star (NASA/JPL)
A shredded asteroid around a white dwarf star (NASA/JPL)

Fortunately Team Universe Today has some strong backup in the form of Nancy Atkinson who is operating from home, delivering a huge amount of AAS coverage on the Universe Today. This is good, as the Internet connection at the Long Beach Convention Center is patchy at best. It’s great to meet Pamela and everybody else involved in the Astronomy Cast effort, and everyone seems to be finding articles and lining up the press releases rather nicely.

Also, I echo Scott Miller’s sentiments about “Rock Bottom” pub. Had a couple there last night. The “Mad Lizard” beer. 8.2%. Never again… (well, not till Wednesday in any case!)

I am just about to attend the 10am Session 328 Black Holes I presentations, and I’ll hopefully be adding a long “live blogging” post about each of the speakers. All going well a couple of interviews might come out of the session too. Until then, here’s a brief run-down of the Universe Today coverage of the various press releases, from supermassive black holes, brand new Hubble views of the galactic centre, shredded asteroids around white dwarfs to the heavy Milky Way…

Young Stars Forming Near Galactic Black Hole

The Case of the Disappearing Planetary Disks

Broken-up Asteroids Found Orbiting White Dwarfs

Hubble, Spitzer Collaborate for Stunning Panorama of Galactic Center

Triple Whammy: Milky Way More Massive, Spinning Faster and More Likely to Collide

But ultimately, be sure to keep an eye on Astronomy Cast LIVE, for ALL coverage from us in Long Beach!

AAS Meeting, Long Beach, 4-8 January 2009

The January AAS meeting is being held in Long Beach, CA (Image by Kevin Stanchfield)
The January AAS meeting is being held in Long Beach, CA (Image by Kevin Stanchfield)

I’m currently organizing myself for this week’s AAS meeting down in Long Beach, so expect a feast of breaking news and information from one of the biggest astronomical conferences on the planet! Dictaphone? Check. Pen? Check. Laptop? Check. Camera? Check… Beer money? What do you think?

Who?

I’ll be travelling down to Long Beach tomorrow to join forces with the rest of the New Media crowd, including my Universe Today publisher, Fraser Cain. Joining us will be Pamela Gay (a.k.a. Star Stryder), Chris Lintott, Michael Koppelmann, Georgia Bracey and Jordan Raddick. It will be great to finally put a face to all these names I’ve become so used to in the last year of blogging.

What?

This will be a new experience for me, as although I’ve been to many conferences, this will be the first time I’ll be reporting on other people’s research. So, the pressure is off and I can enjoy the vast ocean of knowledge being shared with the world. However, this isn’t going to be your normal reporting gig. Pamela and Fraser have been organizing this New Media venture to distribute information accurately and rapidly. This is the power of blogging; we are on the ground publishing articles as the news becomes available. This means you don’t have to wait to get your conference news fix, it will appear on the blogs as soon as we hear it.

Astroengine Live!

Internet connections permitting, I’ll be running my Wednesday Astroengine Live from the scene at the Long Beach Convention Center. I’ll see if I can get some interviews in, and a lot of the reporting will be done on-the-fly, but it should make for an interesting show! That’s 4pm PST, Wednesday January 7th, Astroengine Live via WPRT Radio!

When?

So, from Monday Jan. 5th, to Thursday Jan. 8th, I hope to stack Astroengine.com full with breaking news articles from the frontier of astrophysics, astronomy and space exploration.

How?

I will also be dumping as much information onto the Universe Today as possible. Plus, ace Universe Today writer Nancy Atkinson will be back at UT Mission Control overseeing the whole event. This way, you don’t only get your regular news updates, you also get the best the AAS has to offer!

All blog posts on every space news website will be linked to via Astronomy Cast LIVE, so be sure to check on that regularly for your up-to-the-minute news.

Don’t forget Twitter! I will be firing microblog posts out every time I get a new piece of news, so be sure to follow Astroengine.com’s Twitter Feed. I might even activate the Twitter feed though my main blog on Astroengine.com, but we’ll see how quickly the news breaks before I do this (I don’t want to create a bottleneck of news overflow!).

Meet Us!

Rock Bottom Brewery... Location for the Wednesday meetup!
Rock Bottom Brewery... Location for the Wednesday meetup!

If you just happen to be in the Long Beach area on Wednesday, drop by the Rock Bottom bar and restaurant from 6pm-9pm to meet me, Fraser and the whole New Media/Astronomy Cast LIVE team!

Rock Bottom is located at 1 Pine Ave, at the E Ocean Blvd./Pine Ave. cross street. This place is big, in a prominent location on the corner of Pine, so you shouldn’t miss it. Check out Google Maps for the location.

So, keep an eye on Astronengine.com, Universe Today, Astronomy Cast LIVE and my Twitter feed for the full spectrum of the conference… it’s going to be awesome.