June 28, 2022 - The American Astronomical Society (AAS) offered its first hybrid conference (in-person and virtual attendance both supported) in over two years on June 8-13, in Pasadena, California, and Rubin Observatory was there! AAS 240 was one of the biggest summer meetings AAS has ever hosted, its 2022 winter meeting was scheduled to take place in Salt Lake City in January, but it was canceled at the last minute because of a spike in COVID-19 cases. So the mood was cautious but also festive as over 2000 astronomy students, professionals, and enthusiasts gathered to share their work and network with colleagues—all while masked and following appropriate COVID-19 safety protocols.
The Rubin Observatory Construction Project hosted a booth in the exhibit hall throughout the week, with booth representatives on hand to offer information, answer questions, and give out Rubin Observatory swag (of course)! In fact, it was our first conference opportunity to distribute items with our new name and logo. Rubin also facilitated a “Find Vera” contest, in which conference participants were invited to locate a photo of Vera Rubin in a large mosaic of images. If they were successful, they were entered in a daily drawing to win a Rubin Observatory picnic blanket. The contest was popular, and many people returned to play for another chance to win.
The Rubin Communications team also ran a social media campaign for those attending, as well as anyone wanting to follow along virtually. You can see our posts from the meeting on our twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.
Rubin staff who gave presentations in sessions and events throughout the week included Zeljko Ivezic (Director of Rubin Construction), Bob Blum (Director of Rubin Operations), Lauren Corlies (Head of Rubin Education and Public Outreach), Stephanie Deppe (Astronomy Content Strategist for Rubin EPO) Robert Lupton (Rubin Commissioning Scientist), and Meredith Rawls (Rubin Data Management software developer).
It was a pleasure to see members of the astronomy community and some of our distributed Rubin colleagues in person again. We look forward to the upcoming Rubin Observatory Project and Community Workshop (PCW), which will also be held in person, August 8-12 in Tucson, Arizona.