Public Release: 

Adaptive optics tops NSF "highlights" at American Astronomical Society Meeting

National Science Foundation

Learn about the astronomy developments supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) at the American Astronomical Society meeting at the Town & Country Resort and Conference Center in San Diego, Calif., January 7-11, 2001.

For more information, contact Amber Jones at 703-292-8070 aljones@nsf.gov. The science content of these items is embargoed until the time of presentation.

SCIENCE WITH ADAPTIVE OPTICS
Seminar for science writers...Mon., Jan. 8, 3:00-4:30 p.m., Royal Palm 1&2
Special session...64, Tues., Jan. 9, 1:30-3:00 p.m., San Diego
Poster session...52, Tues., Jan. 9, Exhibit Hall

NSF hosts a seminar for science writers on how adaptive optics works in ground-based telescopes; stories to watch for; and where to find contacts and images. The panelists are Claire Max, Center for Adaptive Optics and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Matt Mountain, Gemini Observatory; Laird Close, University of Arizona; and Steve Keil, National Solar Observatory.

VLA-VLBA LINK REVEALS DISK AROUND MASSIVE PROTOSTAR
Press conference...Mon., Jan. 8, 9:30 a.m., Royal Palm 1&2
Poster session...53.04, Tues., Jan 9, Exhibit Hall
In a fiber-optics connection dubbed the "Pietown Link," the linking of the Very Large Array with one of the Very Long Baseline Array antennas has led to the discovery of a solar-system-sized disk around a massive protostar--a star still in formation. The panelists are Debra Shepherd and Mark Claussen, National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

NOAO DEEP WIDE-FIELD SURVEY
Exhibit...Booth 428, NOAO, All Week, Exhibit Hall
Poster session...77, Wed., Jan. 10, Exhibit Hall
An extraordinary image of the night sky shows 300,000 faint galaxies over an area 900 times larger than the "Hubble Deep Field." These are the first observations by the Deep Wide- Field Survey of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), including Buell Jannuzi, Arjun Dey, other NOAO team members and students from NSF's Research Experience for Undergraduates program.

THE LARGEST STRUCTURE IN THE EARLY UNIVERSE
Press conference...Mon., Jan. 8, 12:00 noon, Royal Palm 1&2
Poster session...3.03, Mon., Jan. 9, Exhibit Hall
Gerard Williger, NOAO/Goddard Space Flight Center, used the 4-meter telescope at NSF's Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory to examine the formation of structure in the early universe.

VIRTUAL TOUR OF GEMINI NORTH TELESCOPE
Exhibit...Booth 426, Gemini Observatory, All Week, Exhibit Hall

Explore the inner workings of Gemini Observatory, climb on Gemini North's 8-meter mirror, and sit at Gemini's computer console-virtually. Peter Michaud, Gemini public information officer, will exhibit a prototype of a virtual tour of the telescope being produced with support from NSF. Educators across the country are invited to try the tour and participate in evaluating Gemini's virtual materials as they are developed.

EARLY SCIENCE FROM THE SLOAN DIGITAL SKY SURVEY
Special session...27, Mon., Jan. 8, 1:30-3:00pm, San Diego
Poster session...13, Mon., Jan. 8, Exhibit Hall

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey, partially supported by NSF, is creating a three-dimensional map of the universe 100 times larger than any previous survey.

STAR STREAMS IN THE MILKY WAY: FRAGMENTS OF ITS HISTORY
Invited session...69, Tues., Jan. 9, 5-6 p.m., Golden Ballroom
Heather Morrison, Case Western Reserve University, discusses the formation of the galaxy's halo.

UNVEILING A BLACK HOLE AT THE CENTER OF THE MILKY WAY
Second Century Lecture...Tues., Jan. 9, 7:00 p.m., Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
Andrea Ghez, University of California at Los Angeles, discusses scientific observations that confirm the existence of a massive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

SURPRISING SOURCE OF LITHIUM
Poster session...41.19, Tues., Jan. 9, Exhibit Hall
Catherine Pilachowski of NOAO and others surveyed globular star clusters with the Kitt Peak WIYN Observatory and found an unexpected source of lithium.

EINSTEIN'S BIGGEST BLUNDER? THE ACCELERATING UNIVERSE
Invited session...71, Wed., Jan. 10, 8:30-9:20 a.m., Golden Ballroom
Alex Filippenko, University of California at Berkeley, discusses this major revolution in cosmology.

ONLINE TELESCOPES, JAVALABS, AND OTHER INNOVATIONS IN TEACHING ASTRONOMY
Oral session...120, Thurs., Jan. 11,10:30 a.m.-12:00 noon, Pacific One
The ever-increasing popularity of astronomy is leading several NSF-supported researchers to develop innovative astronomy teaching tools.

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