WASHINGTON - NASA researchers will present new findings on a wide range of astrophysics topics during the 213th American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting. The meeting runs from Sunday, Jan. 4, through Thursday, Jan. 8, at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, 300 East Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, Calif.
News briefings held during the meeting will feature the latest results from NASA missions. In addition, NASA scientists and their colleagues using NASA research capabilities will present noteworthy findings during scientific sessions that are open to registered media representatives. NASA also will hold two town hall meetings open at all AAS attendees.
The AAS Press Office will be located in Room 202C of the Long Beach Convention Center. Press room phone numbers are: 562-628-8401, 8402 and 8405. Press conferences will be held in Room 204. The press room will open at 8 a.m. PST daily.
Monday, Jan. 5, beginning 9:20 a.m. PST (12:20 p.m. EST)
SESSION: NASA SCIENTISTS DETECT HYDROCARBON
IN COLD DUST BETWEEN STARS
NASA Ames' Jean Chiar and Alexander Tielens and their colleagues will present the first clear detections of a feature associated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the Spitzer Space Telescope Infrared Spectrometer in the cold space between stars. PAHs are normally observed near an exciting source, such as stars, rather than in the cold interstellar medium dust. The observations yield crucial information on PAHs and carbon in cold interstellar dust. (Session 412: Dust II, Exhibit Hall A)
Monday, Jan. 5, at 9:30 a.m. PST (12:30 p.m. EST)
PRESS BRIEFING: EXOPLANETS AND EXOPLANETARY SYSTEMS
Results from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope will be presented, including new observations of shredded asteroids around dead stars and evidence for rapidly forming planets. Participants include Michael Jura, University of California, Los Angeles, and Thayne Currie, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass. (Related Session: 333)
Monday, Jan. 5, at 10:45 a.m. PST (1:45 p.m. EST)
SESSION: NASA TO LAUNCH NEW WEB DATABASE FOR ASTROCHEMISTRY
NASA Ames' Lou Allamandola and Charles Bauschlicher and their colleagues will unveil a new online database of the hundreds of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) spectra that will be made publicly available in 2009. For more than 18 years, scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center have worked to assemble the database that now contains the spectra of approximately 600 theoretically computed and 60 experimentally measured PAHs in different forms. This database will enable astronomers to fully analyze the infrared emission that comes from many astronomical objects. (Session 305: Dust I, Category 17, Room 104A)
Monday, Jan. 5, at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST)
PRESS BRIEFING: BROWN DWARFS
An upcoming NASA mission, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, is expected to find brown dwarfs, or "failed" stars, closer to Earth than our nearest stars. Researchers will discuss the mission and present current information from a multi-year survey of brown dwarfs, exoplanets, and stars within about 33 light years of the sun. Participants include Amanda Mainzer, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; and Todd Henry and Sergio Dieterich, Georgia State University, Atlanta. (Related Sessions: 459, 407)
Monday, Jan. 5, at 12:30 p.m. PST (3:30 p.m. EST)
PRESS BRIEFING: MILKY WAY
Scientists will make the first public presentation of a new mosaic image of the center of the Milky Way galaxy from the Hubble Space Telescope. Participants include Q. Daniel Wang, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Elizabeth Humphreys and Mark Reid, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass.
Monday, Jan. 5, at 12:45 p.m. PST (3:45 p.m. EST)
TOWN HALL: NASA ASTROPHYSICS
Senior representatives from NASA's Science Mission Directorate and Astrophysics Division will discuss NASA's science program and outlook. Topics will include the status of the research program, highlights of operating missions, the upcoming decadal survey, progress of missions in development, and anticipated opportunities for both non-flight basic research awards (grants) and flight mission investigations. (General Session Hall B, Session: 206)
Monday, Jan. 5, at 7:15 p.m. PST (10:15 p.m. EST)
TOWN HALL: JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE
The James Webb Space Telescope team passed several major milestones in 2008 toward an expected launch in 2013. Reporters will hear from astronomers whose science is enabled by Webb, the senior engineers who will describe the most up-to-date design features, and project leaders who will discuss the status of the program. A reception precedes the Town Hall. (Regency Ballroom ABC, 4th Floor, Hyatt Regency Long Beach)
Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 9 a.m. PST (noon EST)
PRESS BRIEFING: CASSIOPEIA A - NEWS FROM CHANDRA X-RAY OBSERVATORY
A new movie of data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory shows changes in time never seen before in a supernova remnant. An unprecedented and dramatic three-dimensional visualization of the same famous remnant - based on data from Chandra, Spitzer, and ground-based telescopes - will be displayed. Participants include Daniel Patnaude, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Mass.; Tracey Delaney, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.; and Alyssa Goodman, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. (Related Sessions: 321.07, 359.01)
Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 11:30 a.m. PST (2:30 p.m. EST)
PRESS BRIEFING: BRIGHT FLASHES IN THE UNIVERSE
This briefing presents a first-ever observation from a star-forming region in a distant young galaxy made possible by NASA's Swift gamma-ray observatory and the Keck I Telescope, as well as the discovery of an unusual transient optical source by the Hubble Space Telescope. Participants include Jason X. Prochaska, University of California, Santa Cruz; Yaron Sheffer of the University of Toledo, Ohio; and Kyle H. Barbary, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 1 p.m. PST (4 p.m. EST)
PRESS BRIEFING: NEWS FROM FERMI AND SWIFT
This briefing highlights new results from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and Swift gamma-ray burst mission on pulsars and quasars, respectively. Participants include Roger Romani, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.; and Alice Harding and Richard Mushotzky from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Wednesday, Jan. 7, 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST)
PRESS BRIEFING: REMARKABLE DISCOVERY
All details are under wraps about this unexpected find in images from one of the most powerful telescopes. Raghvendra Sahai, principal research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. (Related Session 485)
Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 12:30 p.m. PST (3:30 p.m. EST)
PRESS BRIEFING: EXTRAGALACTIC BACKGROUND
New findings from a NASA balloon mission. Participants include Michael Seiffert, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and Alan Kogut, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
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