Astronomers from across the U.S. are heading to Texas this week for the 229th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The biannual meeting, which features new developments in astronomy, astrophysics and planetary science, is often called the "Super Bowl of astronomy."
The event will feature more than 1,600 lectures, short speeches and poster presentations that will highlight the latest research and discoveries, from the solar system to the farthest reaches of the universe. At least 2,400 scientists, students, teachers and journalists will attend, including two Space.com reporters, who will bring you the latest news from the conference right here at Space.com.
Attendees will explore a wide variety of space subjects, such as the hunt for exoplanets and the elusive "Planet Nine"; the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies; the nature of black holes, dark matter and dark energy; solutions to light pollution; the influence U.S. politics will have on astronomy; and astronomers' roles in fighting climate change. For aspiring astronomers, the meeting will host workshops for analyzing astronomical data as well as career planning.
"The biggest astronomy news we know about in advance for 2017 is the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, which will be a total eclipse in a narrow (roughly 70-mile-wide [or 113 kilometers]) band from the Oregon coast to the South Carolina coast," AAS press officer Rick Fienberg wrote in an email to Space.com. "That's one theme that cuts across the whole meeting, with a plenary lecture, a splinter meeting, a poster session, scattered other oral presentations and a seminar for science writers." [Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)]
These are but a few examples of the vast number of astronomy findings that will be presented at this winter meeting of AAS. Throughout the week, Space.com reporters Calla Cofield (@CallaCofield) and Sarah Lewin (@SarahExplains) will report the news and discussions from the meeting.
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Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at FutureFlight.aero and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at Space.com. As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.