A brief summary of AAS 2008 so far

The American Astronomical Society meeting in Texas is in full swing and I'm trying to keep up with the volume of blog posts and AAS podcasting. There just isn't enough time to read/listen to it all so here is my summary of what I've read so far.

One of the stories being blogged is the UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) release of their Infrared Deep Sky Survey. Chris Lintott, Pamela Gay and Phil Plait all report on that. I'll note that Andy Lawrence mentioned the UKIDSS data release before Christmas and I thought the zoomable map was so cool that I included it as one of my favourite images of 2007 on the Jodcast. Of course UKIRT is one of the things under threat in the UK astronomy funding debacle but it isn't just the UK that is suffering. Andy Lawrence tells us that US physics is in trouble too and Phil and Pamela both have reports about the belt-tightening that NASA Administrator Mike Griffin talked about today (Update 10 Jan 2008: added link to transcript). However they don't like him treating astronomers like children.

Leaving funding issues to one side, Phil has a nice image of the Veil nebula released by one of his friends at the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory. He also shared a great Chandra image of the jets at the centre of Centaurus A and contemplates the possibility that globular clusters are firing superfast, intermediate-mass black holes out into space! Chris Lintott gets excited about searches for extra-solar planets which have been producing fantastic results over the past decade or so. Of course everyone has the Hubble image that was released yesterday containing the blue blobs.

Huge meetings such as AAS lead to a huge variety of talk topics. Chris managed to attend one about the ways astronomers have died - mostly through natural causes but some through more exciting ways. Following these thoughts about my limited time I then wandered over to Rob Simpson's blog and was met by a claim that time itself may be running out as an alternative to dark energy.

Update 10 Jan 2008: I forgot to include the Space Writer, AstroProf and Therese who are also at the AAS Meeting.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 09th Jan 2008 (23:58 GMT) | Permalink
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