From the Program Chair

By Victor Davis

The October 2022 meeting of the AAAP will take place (virtually) on Tuesday, October 11th at 7:30 PM. (See How to Participate below for details). This meeting is open to AAAP members and the general public. Participants will be able to log in to the meeting as early as 7:00 pm to chat informally with others who log in early. We will not be using the “waiting room;” participants will enter the meeting as soon as they log in. However, you will enter the meeting space with your microphone muted. Please be aware you must unmute yourself to be heard by other participants.

For the Q&A session, you may ask your question using Zoom’s chat feature or you may unmute yourself and ask your question directly to the speaker. To address background noise issues, we are going to follow the rules in the table below regarding audio. If you are not speaking, please remember to mute yourself. You are encouraged, but not required, to turn your video on.

Avi_Loeb1Featured Speaker: Abraham (Avi) Loeb

Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science

Harvard University

The Galileo Project: In Search of Technological Interstellar Objects. On October 19, 2017, astronomers using the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope discovered a highly unusual object. Its speed and trajectory indicated that it originated outside our solar system. Its elongated shape gave it an aspect ratio greater than that of any asteroid or comet observed to date. There was a lot that was odd about the object, 1l/2017 U1. It was soon named “Oumuamua,” Hawai’ian for “a messenger from afar arriving first.”

Most astronomers agreed Oumuamua was a unique and fascinating object. Harvard University Professor Avi Loeb went further. He suggested that Oumuamua could be a technological artifact of an alien civilization, cruising through our Solar System much as our own Voyager space probes are leaving it. Prof. Loeb gained notoriety and provoked no small amount of controversy when he argued in his book “Extraterrestrial” that Oumuamua could be a “technosignature” of alien life.

Prof. Loeb will discuss his views on extraterrestrial life and the recently announced “Galileo Project” searching for technological interstellar objects. He will feature content from his books “Extraterrestrial” and “Life in the Cosmos.”

extraterrestrial1 life_in_the_cosmos1

Read Prof. Loeb’s latest essay here.

Abraham (Avi) Loeb  is the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University. He’s the author of several bestselling books and nearly a thousand academic papers. He was a longtime member of the Institute for Advanced Study and was the longest-serving Chair of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy. He serves on many advisory committees and is currently head of the Galileo Project. In 2012, TIME magazine selected Loeb as one of the 25 most influential people in space, and in 2020 he was selected among the 14 most inspiring Israelis of the last decade. 

AAAP webcast:  This month’s AAAP meeting, beginning with Rex’s opening remarks and ending at the beginning of the business meeting, will be webcast live on YouTube and recorded for subsequent public access on AAAP’s YouTube channel. Be aware that your interactions during this segment, including questions to our guest speaker, may be recorded for posterity.

Join YouTube Live to listen to the speaker Prof. Avi Loeb using the link below –


YouTube  Dr. Avi Loeb, The Galileo Project: In Search of Technological Interstellar Objects

This session will be recorded and saved on YouTube. Send me an email at if you have any concerns

Using Zoom: While we are social distancing, the AAAP Board has chosen to use Zoom for our meetings, based on our belief that many members have already used Zoom and have found it easy to use. One of its great features is you can choose whether you want to install the software on your computer or use it within your browser.

NOTE: The Zoom site has many training videos. If you’re unsure how Zoom works you might want to view the videos on how to join a meeting or how to check your computer’s audio and video before the meeting.

How to Participate:

  • Please make sure you have Zoom installed on your computer. You do not need a Zoom account or to create one to join the meeting. Nor are you required to use a webcam.
  • Please see below for the link to the meeting, or visit our website.

Join Zoom Meeting Link  Meeting ID: 891 6002 7065   Passcode: 549311

There is no “Unjournal Club” presentation scheduled this month. As you may know, guest speakers receive a baseball cap with the AAAP logo embroidered upon it as a “thank you” for making a presentation to us. We’re expanding the hat giveaway to members who contribute an “Unjournal Club” presentation to encourage participation.

We hope to make these short presentations a regular feature of our monthly meetings. We’d like to know what members are doing or what members are thinking about in the broad range of topics encompassed by astronomy. A brief ten-minute (or so) presentation is a good way to introduce yourself and the topics you care about to other club members. If you are interested in presenting a topic of interest, please contact either or

A look ahead at future guest speakers:

November 8, 2022
 Our first in-person meeting in Peyton Hall!
Michael Strauss, Chair, Princeton University Department of Astrophysics. Prof. Strauss will speak on a topic TBA. He and Bob Vanderbei will be on hand to sign copies of “Welcome to the Universe” and “Welcome to the Universe in 3D” which will be available for purchase.
December 13, 2022Ira Polans, former Program Chair of AAAP Ira will present “Sun Dagger” film and talk about indigenous people of New Mexico. Note that this film is solely for viewing by in-person members, as copyright restrictions will not permit broadcasting it on the internet.
January 10, 2023
Virtual meeting
Alyssa Pagan, Space Telescope Science Institute Alyssa works to process the JWST images that have been leaving us sockless. She’ll talk about JWST and her work turning its data into images.
February. 2023Jenny Greene, Princeton University Professor of Astrophysics Jenny recently wrote an article on middleweight black holes for Sky & Telescope. She will discuss the contents of her article.
March 14, 2023Joe DePasquale, Space Telescope Science Institute Joe is Senior Data Imaging Developer in the Office of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute. A colleague of Alyssa’s, Joe will describe his work turning JWST data into images.
April-May, 2023TBA
June 13, 2023Bill Murray, AAAP’s Outreach Director and staffer at NJ State Museum planetarium Bill will give his traditional planetarium show at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton.

As always, members’ comments and suggestions are gratefully accepted and much appreciated.

This entry was posted in October 2022, Sidereal Times and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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