Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 09:49:16 -0700
Subject: DPS Mailing #06-33: DPS Triple sessions, Arecibo, ...
November 13th 2006
  1)  Greetings from the new DPS Secretary
  2)  Survey: Triple oral sessions at future DPS meetings?
  3)  DPS Statement on Arecibo
  4)  New Federal Relations Subcommittee member
  5)  Job announcements
  6)  Eight upcoming workshops and meetings
This is John Spencer- I took over the DPS secretary position from
Linda French at the DPS meeting last month, and I'll do my best to
maintain the high standards that she has set.  If you have comments or
concerns, or items for the e-news, please send them to me at
spencer @
Triple Oral Sessions at the DPS Meetings: Love them or hate them?  We
have put up a short survey for you to take, to help us know how you
feel. Please take a few minutes to take the survey at:
The survey will be up for the rest of the month; we'll collect the
results on December 1 and pass them on to future meeting organizing
The National Science Foundation has released the report of its senior
review committee on the future support of national astronomical
facilities; see for
more details.
Among other recommendations, it suggests that support for the Arecibo
radio telescope be scaled back, and that the eventual decommission of
that facility should be investigated. Given the already flat budget
for Arecibo over the past few years, it is quite possible that the
S-band radar system, heavily used by planetary scientists, may soon be
eliminated. Given the importance of this system to planetary
scientists, on November 13 the chair of the DPS has sent the following
letter to Dr. G. Wayne Van Citters, director of the Division of
Astronomical Sciences at the NSF:
Dear Dr. Van Citters,
It is with great interest that I have read the report of the National
Science Foundation senior review committee, From the Ground Up:
Balancing the NSF Astronomy Program. Recommending the eventual
decommissioning of a telescope or system is never a pleasant task, and
I respect the honesty with which this commission approached these hard
However, given the complexity of the issues it is inevitable that some
aspects can get overlooked. In this regard, noting that the senior
review committee did not have representation from the planetary
sciences community, I must point out that the discussion of scaling
back and possibly decommissioning the Arecibo telescope appears to
have overlooked an aspect of its work that is in fact of major
importance to the planetary community: its unique abilities as a tool
in studying solar system bodies, especially near Earth asteroids, by
There is in fact only one reference to radar in the entire 78 page
document, and no mention at all of asteroids. But the Arecibo radar
results are key to understanding near earth object sizes, shapes, and
dynamics. Besides having a central scientific importance, both of
themselves and as samples derived from the main asteroid belt, near
earth asteroids may represent a significant hazard to Earth and also a
potential source of future resources. To decommission one of our
primary tools for studying them would deal a serious blow to both our
science and our safety.
I note, finally, that the recommendation in this report to limit
future NSF funding of Arecibo is based on the eventual run-out of
current ongoing radio astronomy survey work. As noted before, the
report says virtually nothing about radar, much less recommending its
elimination. Thus we feel especially disconcerted that, although the
Arecibo administration has indicated that it will make every effort to
seek other sources of support, the NSF funding cut to $8M/yr allows
operation of the S-band planetary radar system only until 30 September
2007. Ending the operation of the S-band radar, the basis of a vibrant
program as indicated by its 40% share of recent Arecibo abstracts and
so important especially for asteroid studies, does not follow either
the spirit or the letter of the recommendations in the NSF
report. Speaking for the planetary sciences community and the AAS
Division for Planetary Sciences, I strongly urge that this proposal be
Sincerely yours,
Guy Consolmagno SJ,
Chair, Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society
Vatican Observatory; Loyola Chair 2006-2007, Fordham University
Following the election of Alan Stern to the post of vice-Chair of the
DPS, his position on the Federal Relations Subcommittee became open
and volunteers were solicited at the Pasadena meeting. From this
group, Louise Procktor has been selected and will serve the remainder
of Alan's term. The DPS committee wishes to congratulate her, and to
thank all of those who volunteered for this important position.
The planetary group at the Institute for Astronomy at the University
of Hawai'i encourages orbital dynamicists to apply for the tenure
track assistant astronomer position at:
1) Evolution and Exploration of Solar Systems.  Beckman Center of the
National Academies, Irvine, CA January 5-6, 2007
Organized by David J. Stevenson and Maria Zuber
This colloquium will bring together the planetary and astronomical
community and provide a forum for discussion and assessment of our
current understanding of the nature of our solar system and a
comparison with other planetary systems. This will include a synthesis
of what we have learned from planetary exploration so far, as well as
astronomical data and comparisons with Earth. This interdisciplinary
meeting will showcase the latest results, and will also reflect where
we stand and how this relates to the broader scientific community. The
timing will allow us to discuss new Mars results (MRO),well digested
Spitzer and Cassini results, Stardust results, other missions activity
and many interesting ground-based results as well as a number of
interesting theoretical and modeling developments.
Early registration deadline was November 6
[apologies for the late distribution of this announcement!]
2) First Workshop on Titan – Observations, Experiments, Computations,
and Modeling.  Honolulu, Hawai'i, February 5-7, 2007
Abstract deadline December 31st 2006
3)  ESO workshop "Observing Planetary Systems".  Santiago, Chile, 
March 5-8, 2007.
Deadline to register is Dec. 15.
4) The Future of Space Exploration: Solutions to Earthly Problems?
Boston, Mass., April 12-14 2007
5) European Geosciences Union Meeting. Vienna, Austria, April 15-20 2007.
Session PS3.0: Outer Planets and Satellites.  
Conveners: A. Coustenis and S. Atreya
Session PS3.1: Satellites and Rings.  
Conveners: C. Ferrari and L. Spilker
The abstract deadline is 15 January 2007.
The support application deadline is 8 December 2006.
The PS3.0 session will include solicited, contributed and poster papers
with the focus on observations from the earth and spacecraft, together
with papers on theoretical interpretations, results of modelling and
pertinent laboratory measurements. Neutral atmospheres and their
relationship to surface, interior and magnetospheres of the outer
planetary systems will be emphasized. Presentations on new results
from the Cassini-Huygens and Galileo missions and from earth-based
observations will receive special consideration.
6) The IAMAS 2007 Scientific Assembly, Perugia, Italy, July 2-13, 2007
Includes two Planetary Atmospheres Symposia
The abstract submission deadline is 31 January, 2007.
JMS012 Planetary Atmospheres and Their Evolution
Papers are invited which report important progress on all aspects of
our current understanding of the evolution of atmospheres of all
planets, moons and comets. The emphasis, however, will be on the outer
solar system and on insights gained from recent space missions,
including Cassini-Huygens and other satellites. Contributions
describing the atmosphere-related objectives of the relevant missions,
analysis of observations, and the results of model simulations of
atmospheric evolution are also welcome.
Convener : A. Coustenis (Paris-Meudon Observatory, France) :
athena.coustenis @ 
Co-conveners : P. Casavecchia (Univ. of Perugia, Italy),
D. Strobel (Johns Hopkins, USA)
JMS 013 Aeronomy of Planetary Atmospheres: Comparative Planetology
Papers are invited on the physics and chemistry of the lower, middle
and upper atmosphere and ionosphere of the inner and outer planets and
their satellites. Studies of comparative atmospheres, including the
atmospheres of Venus, Earth, and Mars, are also invited, with emphasis
on the differences and similarities in their climates. Results from
recent missions to Mars and Venus are of particular interest. Reports
on improvement in general circulation models of the thermosphere and
lower atmospheres of the planets and descriptions of future planetary
missions are also invited.
Convener : A. Coustenis (Paris-Meudon Observatory, France) :
athena.coustenis @ 
Co-conveners : P. Casavecchia (Univ. of Perugia, Italy),
D. Titov (Max Planck for Solar System Research, Germany)
7) 4th Annual Meeting of the AOGS (Asia-Oceania
Geosciences Society).  Bangkok, Thailand, July 30 - August 4 2007.
Special session PS09 Outer Planets and Satellites with an Atmosphere
PS09 will encompass observational and theoretical studies of the
neutral atmospheres of the giant planets, Pluto, Titan, Enceladus,
Triton, Io and Europa. The surface of Titan and the surface-atmosphere
interactions will be considered. Papers on the results of observations
from the earth and spacecraft, their interpretations, and on relevant
laboratory measurements are encouraged.  The session will include a
mix of solicited, contributed and poster presentations.
Conveners: Athena Coustenis, Sushil Atreya, Jianping Li, and Hauke
Special Session PS11 Satellites, Rings and Icy Dwarf Planets of the
Outer Solar System
PS11 will be dedicated to outer planet satellites, rings and icy dwarf
planets beyond Neptune.  The session will include solicited,
contributed, and poster presentations addressing (1) interior
structure and thermal evolution, (2) surface geology and composition,
(3) orbital dynamics and satellite interaction, (4) structure and
dynamics of planetary rings, (5) physical properties of ring particles
and small satellites. We particularly encourage contributions on the
geodynamics of active bodies like Enceladus, Triton, and Io.
Conveners: Hauke Hussmann, Athena Coustenis, Jun Kimura, Jsurgen
Schmidt, and Frank Sohl
Abstract deadline 15 February 2007.
8) Cosmos in the Classroom 2007.  Pomona College, California, 
   August 3-5 2007.
A hands-on symposium on teaching introductory astronomy to non-science
majors, sponsored by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, with
co-sponsorship by a range of astronomical and educational
organizations.  The aim is to bring together those who teach the
beginning astronomy course at institutions ranging from high schools
and community colleges to research universities.
Participants will exchange ideas, techniques, and materials for
improving the course and discuss the challenges of widely differing
student preparations and attitudes, shrinking budgets, and unrealistic
expectations that instructors of such course face.  Much of the
meeting will be devoted to hands-on, small-group sessions where mentor
instructors will help participants practice ways to make their courses
more effective.  Graduate students, post-docs, and instructors new to
the introductory course are especially welcome.
Bryan Penprase of Pomona College will head the Local Organizing
Committee and Andrew Fraknoi of Foothill College and the ASP will
chair the Program Organizing Committee.  Scholarships for the meeting
are likely to be available.
Send submissions (no attachments, please) to:
John Spencer, DPS Secretary (spencer (at)