An Australian astronomer in Washington

By Flornes Yuen

8 January 2014

An on-the-ground report from CASS Outreach and Education Officer, Rob Hollow

The 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is currently being held in Washington DC, with around 3,000 astronomers gathered for the four-day conference to listen to a wide range of talks and view hundreds of posters.

Science highlights so far have included the announcement of the discovery of a pulsar and two white dwarfs in a triple star system that provides a unique gravitational laboratory and the imaging of dust around the remnant of supernova 1987A using the new ALMA telescope.

CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS) has a booth exhibiting the Australia Telescope National Facility; this provides an exciting opportunity for us to present the facilities and research to the US (and international) astronomical community. CASS staff have been answering inquiries from attendees about study and careers in Australia.

CASS Education Officer Rob Hollow talks to conference attendees about the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF).

CASS Education Officer Rob Hollow talks to AAS conference attendees about the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF).

Other highlights also include Australian astronomer, Professor Ken Freeman from ANU, winner of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, who this year received the highest honour of the AAS by being invited to present the Henry Norris Russell Lecture about his work on galactic archaeology. You might remember Ken from a previous post when he visited our Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory – home to our ASKAP telescope – while in town for the Murchison Astrofest.

With the conference only half-way through, we can expect many more exciting announcements and Twitter conversations over the next few days. And let’s not forget the ‘polar vortex’ that is currently sweeping across the country – quite a contrast to the Australian summer temperatures!

If you’re attending the conference, don’t forget to pop in for a visit at location #223 – adjacent to the SKA booth. Otherwise, stay up-to-date by following #AAS223 on Twitter.