The AAS Races to Indianapolis
The 222nd AAS meeting, in June 2013, was a cosmic version of the Indy 500, as 572 astronomers, educators, journalists, and guests gathered at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Our meeting hotel, the Westin Indianapolis, provided easy access to the convention center and more than 100 shopping, dining, and entertainment venues. Attendees visited many of the city’s most popular attractions, including the NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indianapolis Zoo, and Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the Colts), all just a short walk from the meeting.
The new Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD) organized seven “Bridging Laboratory & Astrophysics” sessions spanning the entire four days. There were also two multisession Meetings-in-a-Meeting: “WIYN Observatory: Building on the Past, Looking to the Future” and “Outer Limits of the Milky Way.” Also on the program were the usual assortment of career-enhancing workshops, public-policy town halls, and the increasingly popular (now that it’s catered!) annual AAS members-meeting-cum-happy-hour, during which members get to hear about the state of the Society and provide feedback to its leaders.
A new feature of the Indy meeting was the participation of local amateur astronomers, who were invited to attend for one or two days at a special rate. In addition to visiting regular sessions and the exhibit hall, they were treated to four talks designed for general audiences but that proved popular with AAS members too: “Hubble Space Telescope Astrometry: Still Useful, After All These Years” by Fritz Benedict (University of Texas), “Interstellar Destinations” by Ed Guinan (Villanova University), “A Glimpse of Galaxies at the Dawn of the Universe” by Debra Elmegreen (Vassar College), and “Pluto’s Demise and Resurrection” by Angela Speck (University of Missouri). On Monday evening scores of attendees headed outside for a star party organized by Jason Kendall (William Paterson University) and assisted by members of the Indiana Astronomical Society, who brought a variety of telescopes through which passersby got to see lunar craters, Saturn’s rings, and other celestial treats.
― Rick Fienberg, AAS Press Officer