01:00 AM

USRA Sponsors Opening Reception for 221st AAS Meeting

Last night, USRA sponsored the kick-off of what has come to be known as the Super Bowl of Astronomy, the winter AAS meeting. The opening reception for the 221st American Astronomical Society Meeting was held at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA, providing a unique backdrop for astronomers, educators and students to network.

The AAS Meeting continues today through January 11 with more than 2,800 astronomers, educators, students, and journalists registered to attend, and more than 1,900 prize and invited talks, oral presentations, and posters will be presented. USRA's Director at the Arecibo Observatory , Fernando Camilo, will chair a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday at 6:30PM (PST) during which invited speakers will describe scientific and technical breakthroughs achieved at the National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. In addition to celebrating 50 years of science, the meeting will look ahead to future capabilities and the research that the Arecibo Observatory will enable.

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy ( SOFIA ) will host a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday at 12:30PM with presentations from Eric Becklin, Chief Scientific Advisor, and other SOFIA team members. Yesterday, meeting attendees who registered were also able to enjoy a tour of the 747-SP aircraft which carries a 2.5-meter telescope designed to make sensitive infrared measurements on a variety of astronomical objects.

The Arecibo Observatory is operated by SRI International in alliance with Ana G. Méndez-Universidad Metropolitana and the Universities Space Research Association, with additional support provided by the University of Puerto Rico, under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (AST-1100968). The asteroid 2012 LZ1 results are based upon work supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant No. NNX12AF24G issued through the Near-Earth Object Observations Program.

SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and is based and managed at NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, CA for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, DC. NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA manages the SOFIA science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association headquartered in Columbia, MD, and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI) at the University of Stuttgart.

Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations. USRA engages the creativity and authoritative expertise of the research community to develop and deliver sophisticated, forward-looking solutions to Federal agencies and other customers - on schedule and within budget.