Some AAS annual meeting sessions and abstracts of papers of interest
to amateur astronomers:

203rd Meeting of the
American Astronomical Society
4-8 January 2004 -- Atlanta, GA

The session list is at:

The following are short excerpts from abstracts that are my personal

A new USNO Double Star catalogue to be issued
[84.11] USNO Double Star CD 2004.0
W.I. Hartkopf, B.D. Mason (U.S. Naval Observatory)

The U.S. Naval Observatory will produce its second CDROM of double
star catalogs, with publication expected in early spring of 2004. This
successor to the 2001.0 CDROM will include four major double star
catalogs maintained at the USNO:
Washington Double Star Catalog (WDS),
Second Photometric Magnitude Difference Catalog,
Fourth Catalog of Interferometric Measurements of Binary Stars,
Sixth Catalog of Orbits of Visual Binary Stars.

Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release One for 80,000,000
objects and
public online data server of CDD images
[118.13] SkyServer: Education and Outreach with the Sloan Digital Sky
Survey's Data Release One
M.J. Raddick (Johns Hopkins University)

We have completed a new version of the SkyServer education web site
featuring data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey's Data Release 1
(DR1). DR1 includes data from over 2,000 square degrees of northern
sky, with over 80 million stars and galaxies. SkyServer offers
students and teachers easy access to complete data for all these
objects. . . .

Kaf: Resource link:
Web access and analysis software can be found at:

New database of proper motions down to V17.5 under development
[112.14] The Yale/San Juan Proper Motion Program: A 2003 Status Report
T. M. Girard, D. I. Dinescu, W. F. van Altena, V. I. Korchagin (Yale
Univ.), T. C. Beers (Michigan State Univ.), I. Platais (Johns Hopkins
Univ.), C. E. Lopez (Univ. de San Juan, Argentina), D. G. Monet

The current status of the Yale/San Juan SPM program is presented. The
recently released SPM3 Catalog is a near-complete catalog to V=17.5,
providing absolute proper motions for 10.7 million objects. . . . .
The primary motivation of the SPM program is to provide fundamental
data for kinematic studies of the various components of the Milky Way.

New database of nearby high-proper motion stars

[60.03] Something about the Highest Proper Motion Stars
W.-C. Jao (Georgia State U.)

We present a comprehensive overview of the sample of all stellar
systems with proper motion greater than 1.0 arcsec/year, a crucial
sample for nearby star work. Forty parallax results for these systems
.. . . In its entirety, this sample of the fastest moving stars in the
sky provides a fundamental database providing insight about the Sun's
neighbors, subdwarfs, and extremely fast moving stars that might be
exiting the Galaxy.

New ExtraSolar Planets

[17.03] Four Substellar Companions Found Around K Giant Stars
D. S. Mitchell (UC, San Diego), S. Frink, A. Quirrenbach (Sterrewacht
Leiden), D. A. Fischer (SFSU), G. W. Marcy (UC, Berkeley), R. P.
Butler (Carnegie Institution of Washington)

We report the detection of sub-stellar companion candidates around
four nearby K giant stars. . . . . HD 59686 harbors a companion with a
minimum mass of 6.5 jupiter masses and an orbital period of 303 days.
91 Aqr has a companion with a minimum mass of 2.9 jupiter masses, and
an orbital period of 182 days. The companion orbiting tau Gem has a
minimum mass of 18.1 jupiter masses, and a period of 305 days. nu Oph
harbors a companion with a minimum mass of 21.9 jupiter masses and an
orbital period of 536 days.

Open Clusters - Session 150: various new photometry and distance
studies of Pleiades, Hyades, NGC 1647 and others

Session 1: History of Transit of Venus papers

[36.02] What Are We Learning About Mars?
W. K. Hartmann (Planetary Science Institute)

New data from Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey, along with new
data from Martian meteoritic rocks and global climate models, indicate
a planet with more water resources and more recent geologic activity .
.. . Geomorphic indicators reveal massive subsurface ice at depths of a
few hundred meters; Mars Odyssey confirmed roughly 50% ice in the top
few meters of soil at 65 degrees latitude. . . . .

Nearby white dwarfs
[60.04] White Dwarfs in the Solar Neighborhood
J. Subasavage (Georgia State University)

After pinpointing good white dwarf candidates, distance estimates are
made via UBVRIJHK photometry, and those that likely fall within the
NStars (Nearby Stars) horizon of 25 parsecs are targeted for
trigonometric parallaxes. This effort will aid in defining the space
density of white dwarfs, for which we estimate that nearly 63% are
``missing" within 25 parsecs.

3D Planetarium Software - Hayden Planetarium's Partview Milky Way and
Extragalactic catalgoues
[118.07] Hayden Planetarium's Digital Universe: The Extragalactic
B.P. Abbott (American Museum of Natural History), E. Gawiser (Yale
University & Universidad de Chile), C.E. Emmart, R.J. Wyatt (American
Museum of Natural History)

The Hayden Planetarium is compiling 3-D data from the solar
neighborhood out to the CMB to place in an atlas of the universe. The
Milky Way Atlas has been available for free from our website
( for almost two years and has been
downloaded over 20,000 times. We now announce the release of our
Extragalactic Atlas, expanding the Digital Universe from our home
galaxy to the WMAP image of density fluctuations in the early
universe. . . .

Kaf - Resource link:
Kaf - Resource link: Hayden's Partview 3D Planetarium software

3D Planetarium Software - SDSS's GalaxyExplorer
A link from session [118.13] above

SDSS's GalaxyExplorer: a 3D visualization tool
Author: Szalay, Tamas
Date: Jan 2002

This tool enables an interactive, video game-like fly through of the
3D galaxy distribution in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. This tool runs
under Windows, requires DirectX8.0 or higher, and a graphics card
supporting 3D.

[118.15] Preparing Colorful Astronomical Images III: Cosmetic Cleaning
L.M. Frattare, Z.G. Levay (STScI)

We present cosmetic cleaning techniques for use with mainstream
graphics software (Adobe Photoshop) to produce presentation-quality
images and illustrations from astronomical data. . . .

Amateur astronomy
[35.05] What Happened to the Amateurs After Professionalization? The
Amateurization of Astronomy in Britain and the United States
T. R. Williams (Rice University)

.. . . . In two case studies, this paper will explore the different
paths along which amateur organizations have developed in response to
radically different dynamics in the professionalization of astronomy.
In Britain, several failures preceded the successful formation of the
British Astronomical Association (BAA). Within no more than a decade
after its founding, the BAA's specialized observing sections and
credible journal were admired by professional and amateur astronomers
alike, and served as a model for at least three failed attempts to
form a similar organization in the United States. . . . [R]adically
different circumstances under which the professionalization of
astronomy occurred in Britain and the United States influenced the
amateurization of astronomy in both countries.

Regards - Kurt