Friday, July 30, 2021

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Crosspost: Bullying and harassment are rife in astronomy, poll suggests

Written By: Phillip Ball for Nature

Bar chart displaying the results of a survey on experiences of bullying and harassment in the Royal Astronomical Society community. Credit: Royal Astronomical Society

Bullying and harassment are rife in astronomy and geophysics in Britain and perhaps other regions, according to the results of a survey conducted last year by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) in London. Among 661 researchers polled, more than half of whom were in the United Kingdom, 44% said they had experienced issues in the previous two years.

“The results from the survey are very concerning indeed, and we must act to change this unacceptable situation,” says RAS president Emma Bunce, an astrophysicist at the University of Leicester, UK.

RAS diversity officer Aine O’Brien, who conducted the survey with RAS education, outreach and diversity officer Sheila Kanani, says, “We knew from anecdotal data and other evidence that there was likely to be a sector-wide problem, and I wasn’t super shocked by the trends of the findings — but I was certainly shocked by the extent.”

Read the rest of the article here at:

For more references on discrimination in STEM, check out these two, great papers:
Race and Racism in the Geosciences and Double jeopardy in astronomy and planetary science: Women of color face greater risks of gendered and racial harassment

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Crosspost: Amateur astronomer discovers a tiny moon around Jupiter

Written By: Dorris Elin Urrutia for 

Gif showing a  series of images taken onFeb. 24, 2003 by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope revealing the newly discovered Jovian moon. Credit: S.S. Shepard/CFHT/CADC

An amater astronomer has discovered a previously unknown moon around Jupiter after poring over old telescope images, a major first.

"I’m proud to say that this is the first planetary moon discovered by an amateur astronomer!" moon searcher Kai Ly said in a July 8 Sky and Telescope report that details the discovery.

Jupiter may have dozens or even hundreds of undiscovered moons orbiting around it. This massive planet boasts a substantial gravitational field that allows it to capture space debris into its orbit. Jupiter currently hosts at least 79 moons, and the number continues to grow. The latest discovery was made by Ly, an amateur astronomer, and it's the latest addition to the catalogue of the Carme group of Jovian satellites.

Learn more about Kai Ly's amazing discovery and the relevance of citizen science in astronomical discoveries at the link below: 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Crosspost: How Dragonfly will explore Saturn's 'bizarro Earth' moon, Titan

Written By: Bryné Hadnott

Artist's concept for the Titan-bound rotorcraft, Dragonfly. Image credit: Johns Hopkins/APL

Why send a typical lander when you can send a dual-quadcopter?

That’s the question Dr. Elizabeth Tuttle and her team at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory asked when they developed NASA’s next New Frontiers mission to Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. The dual-quadcopter, aptly named Dragonfly, will carry a suite of instruments designed to analyze Titan’s surface, which can vary from pure water ice to crumbly, orange-tinted organic sands.

Over a series of flights throughout its three-year nominal mission, Dragonfly will hopscotch over Titan’s surface, investigating new places to visit and previously identified safe sites. Dragonfly’s science instruments include a gamma-ray and neutron spectrometer to analyze the elements beneath its ski-like legs, a UV light to detect fluorescent, organic molecules, and a mass spectrometer to analyze more complex, biologically relevant samples.

Check out the rest of the article at,, to learn more about Dragonfly and how the search for prebiotic molecules on Titan may help scientists understand how early life emerged on Earth. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Crosspost: Women You Should Know—Jocelyn Bell Burnell

 Written By Dale Debakcsy

Darkened photo of astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell giving a talk at Inspirefest 2015.
Photo credit: Conor McCabe Photography

Sometimes the hardest thing about living in the universe is knowing about it. There is real and true terror to be faced in the indifferent march of the universe towards its inevitable dark close, and it takes a special type of person to stare into the void of our cosmic destiny on a daily basis and contemplate the mechanics of the vast machinery cooly plotting the complete demise of us, everything we’ve ever done, and everything we shall ever do. Psychologically, astronomers of the modern era have to be made of some pretty stern stuff, and how they cope with the magnitude of their subject matter is often as fascinating as their research, and few in this regard are as consistently compelling as Quaker astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell (b. 1943).

Bell Burnell has a gift for Taking Things In Stride that has served her well both in the contemplation of humanity’s grim chances in a hostile universe and during a life that, while serving up an exciting set of triumphs, has also dealt her more than her fair share of restrictive expectations. Her equanimity in the face of adversity is perhaps the result of her unique upbringing – she was the eldest sibling of a father whose family had Quaker roots going back to the seventeenth century and a mother who had been denied a higher education at the hands of the Great Depression.

Read the rest of Dale Debakcsy's article on the incredible astronomer, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, here:

Friday, July 9, 2021

AASWomen Newsletter for July 09, 2021

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Many forms of gender bias affect women throughout their careers (from item #4, credit: UC Berkeley)
AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of July 09, 2021
eds: Heather Flewelling, Nicolle Zellner, Maria Patterson, Alessandra Aloisi, and Jeremy Bailin

[We hope you all are taking care of yourselves and each other. Be well! --eds.]

This week's issues:

1. Crosspost: An Observatory Spied on LA’s Carbon Emissions – From Space

2. 10 Tips to Transform Your Career and Science Culture

3. Three Latinas from Dallas stand out in STEM fields

4. For neuroscientists, a checklist for eliminating gender bias

5. Medical Journal Articles Written by Women Are Cited Less Than Those Written by Men

6. Vera Rubin’s birthday social media campaign

7. Caroline Herschel Medal to honour women astronomers in UK and Germany

8. Job Opportunities

9. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

11. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

An online version of this newsletter will be available at at 3:00 PM ET every Friday.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Crosspost: An Observatory Spied on LA's Carbon Emissions—From Space

Written By Katrina Miller

Eldering's team created this video showing the aggregation of different "swaths" or strips of data from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-3) taken over metropolitan Los Angeles

While most people might be attracted by the perpetually sunny skies, nearby ocean, or mountains hugging the Los Angeles basin, environmental engineer Annmarie Eldering was drawn to the city’s smog. “It’s the best place to go,” she says. “You’ve got tons of pollution!”

Urban areas release over 70 percent of human-made carbon dioxide emissions that wind up in the atmosphere, and LA is no exception. With over 13 million residents in its larger metropolitan area, a sophisticated network of freeways, and an international transportation hub, LA produces the fifth-most CO2 of all the cities in the world. That makes it a sweet spot for studying the role humans play in climate change.

Eldering is the project scientist for NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3, or OCO-3, an instrument that measures atmospheric CO2 levels from space to better understand the impact of human activity on the natural carbon cycle, the process by which plants, soil, oceans, and the atmosphere exchange carbon with each other. In a paper published this month, Eldering and her colleagues released a map showing the most detailed variations of CO2 emissions over the LA basin ever seen from space. This research demonstrates that space-based monitors can be used to collect large swaths of data over pollution hot spots, information that could help inform policy to combat climate change.

“What’s exciting about the OCO-3 result is that this is the first time we’ve gotten this kind of area map over a city like LA from space,” says Joshua Laughner, a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech who works on a global ground-based monitoring system called the Total Carbon Column Observing Network.

Read the rest of the article, written by the Women in Astronomy blog team's very own, Katrina Miller, here:

Friday, July 2, 2021

AASWomen Newsletter for July 02, 2021

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of July 02, 2021
eds: Heather Flewelling, Nicolle Zellner, Maria Patterson, Alessandra Aloisi, and Jeremy Bailin

[We hope you all are taking care of yourselves and each other. Be well! --eds.]

This week's issues:

1. Crosspost: Interview with Dr. Martha Gilmore

2. ‘If you can name it, you can tame it’: How exposing academic culture helps students

3. Black scientist network celebrates successes — but calls for more support

4. Take Nature's salary and job-satisfaction survey

5. Ms. Categorized: Gender, notability, and inequality on Wikipedia

6. Rethinking the future of science through a new filmmaking fellowship

7. Maria Mitchell Association hosts Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

8. Impact factor abandoned by Dutch university in hiring and promotion decisions

9. Blue Origin will fly female aviator Wally Funk, one of the Mercury 13, on 1st crewed launch

10. Two NASA Centers Get New Directors — Both Women

11. Black hole at center of swirling new women-in-science mural

12. Universities ramp up efforts to improve faculty gender balance and work climate in STEM

13. Nominations solicited for the 2022 James Craig Watson Medal

14. The Maria Mitchell Women of Science Symposium

15. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

16. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

17. Access to Past Issues

An online version of this newsletter will be available at at 3:00 PM ET every Friday.