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DDA Newsletter #80 - September 1995


Election of Officers and the DDA Committee

The elections this year brought in a good mix of experience, expertise, and geographic distribution. The new Chair, Phil Ianna, astrometrist at the University of Virginia, has been a member of the Division for many years. Chris Hunter is the new Vice Chair. Chris is at Florida State University, Tallahassee, and is the 1994 recipient of the Brouwer Award. He served two terms on the Division Committee, on two program committees, two times on the Nominating Committee, and a three-year term on the Brouwer Award Selection Committee.

The new committee members are Jay Lieske, Hal Levison and Judit Ries. Jay is at JPL, specializing in orbits of natural satellites and planetary ephemerides. He was an original members of the Division and he has served a term on the Committee, was Vice Chair and Chair, served three times on the nominating committee, chaired one local organizing committee, and served four years on the Brouwer Award Selection Committee. Hal and Judit are relatively new members of the Division who have been very active the past few years. Hal was chair of the first committee on student stipends, and Judit has joined it for the coming year. Hal is at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, working on n-body integrations, the Oort Cloud, and studies in chaos. Judit is at the University of Texas, working on analysis of lunar data, asteroid dynamics, and astronomy education.

1995 Meeting in Yosemite Park

The Yosemite meeting marked the 25th anniversary of the first meeting of the Division. In commemoration, Ray Duncombe, chairman of the organizing committee and first Chairman of the Division, entertained at the Banquet with some remembrances of how the Division came into being. He traced it as a natural outgrowth of meetings organized by Dirk Brouwer in the 60's, the space age, the evolution of computational equipment, plus a feeling that a division on dynamical astronomy would give astronomers a unique forum, with time to present longer papers. This is still a dominant theme in the organization of our meetings.

The members attending were unanimous in their enjoyment of the setting of the meeting and approval of holding it there. There were many comments of encouragement for a repeat engagement, with suggestions for changing the schedule to allow even more time out of doors. Roy Laubscher, the local host, promised to do it again for the turn of the millennium. All in all, it was the most successful meeting in recent times in terms of attendance, proving that holding meetings in "exotic" locales does draw participation.

1995 Brouwer Award

Brian Marsden, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, was announced as the winner of the 1995 Brouwer Award at the DDA's Yosemite meeting. Notable are his research accomplishments and his service to the astronomical community through his stewardship of the IAU Circulars and Minor Planet Circulars. 1995 was especially appropriate, following the year when Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 struck Jupiter. That astounding series of events began with Marsden's determination, soon after the initial discovery, that the comet would impact Jupiter. Marsden is held in warm regard by the scientific community.

Marsden has investigated the effect of non-gravitational forces (gas jets) on the orbits of comets, and he has also worked on the orbits of sun-grazing comets and comets from the Oort cloud. He has computed an incredible number of comet and asteroid orbits. Other scientists frequently base their research on Marsden's orbits. His successful prediction of the return of Comet Swift-Tuttle is one obvious example of the quality and importance of his orbit determinations. 1877 Marsden is a Hilda-type asteroid named in his honor.

Marsden has produced and distributed to astronomers world-wide enormous quantities of information. The IAU Circulars have informed us of comets, novae, supernovae, new satellites, planetary rings, X- and gamma-ray events, occultations, glitching pulsars, flaring quasars, near-earth asteroids, a Mars Trojan, co-orbiting and Trojan satellites, fragmenting and sun grazing comets, and Kuiper belt objects. His role in producing the IAU circulars has been a critical and influential one, and goes well beyond maintaining a large database. Marsden often serves as a spokesman for the astronomical community.

Group Photo

Everyone who attended the meeting in Yosemite is being sent a color print of the group photo taken during one of the session breaks. This photograph, along with two others, appeared in the June 1995 AAS Newsletter. Information about ordering more copies or enlargements is included with the photo. Members of the Division who did not attend the meeting and are interested in obtaining a copy of the photo should contact Alan Fiala directly, preferably by email to For those who have received the photo and an ID key, please change #20 to unidentified; #21 to Kevin Glazier; and add Marty Slade to the "not pictured" list.

1996 Meeting in Washington, DC

The 27th meeting of the Division will be held on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, April 15-17, 1996. This is usually the prettiest time of year in Washington, as the cherry blossoms are just past peak and the dogwoods and azaleas are coming on strong. It is usually mild and pleasant, with only an occasional April shower.

The Naval Observatory is a little oasis in the midst of the city. We tentatively plan to start off with a welcome reception in the Library on Sunday evening. Will the Vice President (who lives on the USNO grounds) show up? We can only ask. Brian Marsden will present the Brouwer Lecture at this meeting. Alan Boss will give an invited talk and organize a special session on binary star formation. Steve Lubow and Joel Tohline will also give invited talks as part of this session. Steve will talk about orbital interactions between newly formed stars and their protostellar disks and consequent orbital evolution, Joel about the mysteries of rotational instabilities possibly leading to binary fission or companion formation, and Alan about formation by fragmentation during the collapse phase. Ken Johnston will organize another special session on optical interferometry astrometry and give an invited talk on this subject.

The headquarters hotel will be the Savoy Suites Georgetown, just outside the Observatory's gates on Wisconsin Avenue, and just north of Georgetown. The address is Saovy Suites Georgetown, 2505 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20007. There is a toll free number, 800-944-5377, or you can call them at 202-337-9700. It is a small hotel. The rooms are very large and spacious, some with good views of the city. Suites include twin with queen-size beds, or Jacuzzi with king-size bed, at no extra cost. Pets are welcome. Transportation to airports and metro is available. There is a good restaurant in the hotel, plus entertainment some evenings. There are many other fine restaurants within a brief walk, as well as the night life of Georgetown. The rate is $94 single, $104 for two, plus tax and fees. Be sure to mention the DDA when you make your reservation. Reservations are open now, and should be made early for the best choice of rooms. The cutoff date for the reservation block will be one month before the meeting begins. We were able to get a room rate even lower than the government rate. It will be peak tourist season, so once the block is released, it may be difficult to find rooms in the neighborhood and at this rate.

Washington abounds with things to do and to see. Come early, get the Saturday night stayover, and explore your nation's capital. Or attend the Division Committee meeting on Sunday afternoon. PLUS, it will be in the midst of the Presidential election year, so you may spot candidates of all sorts roaming the streets!

The abstract deadline for this meeting is 11 March 1996

Letter of Intent

To help us plan for the meeting and to let others know who may attend, please take a moment to fill out the slip at the end of this Newsletter and return it to the Secretary at the above address. The information from the returned forms will be summarized in the next Newsletter as we have done in the past years. Each participant may give both an oral and a poster paper (but not two oral papers). This could be used to make presentations on two subjects or two presentations on the same subject (the oral giving the overview and the poster giving the details).

Nominations for the Brouwer Award

Nominations for the Brouwer Award are solicited by the Brouwer Award Selection Committee. The Brouwer Award is granted for any, or all, of the following:
(a) excellence in scientific research,
(b) impact and influence in the field,
(c) excellence in teaching and training of students, and
(d) outstanding advancement and support of the field through administration, public service, or engineering achievement.

The Brouwer Award may be given in any branch of Dynamical Astronomy including celestial mechanics, astrometry, geophysics, stellar systems, galactic and extragalactic dynamics. A candidate's documentation must include a letter of nomination by a member of the AAS or DDA, a curriculum vitae, a list of publications of the nominee, and at least three letters of recommendation by experts in the field of the nominee attesting to the long-term impact and influence of the nominee's various contributions. Nominations and documentation should be received by December 29, 1995. Send to Dr. James G. Williams, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, MS 238-332, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109. For further information contact

DDA Student Stipend Program

The DDA will be providing up to two stipends of $250 on a competitive basis to students who desire to attend the 1996 DDA meeting in Washington, DC. This competition is open to all students attending any college or university and doing research in the area of dynamical astronomy. Students can apply by sending an abstract on the topic they wish to present at the meeting along with a curriculum vitae to James L. Hilton, U.S. Naval Observatory, 3450 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20392 or to

Submissions must be either postmarked or emailed by January 27, 1996. The recipients will be notified by the end of February. The stipends will be awarded at the DDA meeting in Washington, DC April 15-17, 1996.

Future Meetings

The 1997 meeting will be held at Lowell Observatory, in Flagstaff, Arizona. The 1998 meeting will be held at University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

World Wide Web Site

The DDA is now on the web, thanks to the efforts of our new Chair, Phil Ianna. You can find the homepage at Please take a look and send Phil ( your suggestions, keeping in mind that this site is still new and that many additions and improvements are planned.

Arthur L. Whipple, Secretary DDA
McDonald Observatory
University of Texas
Austin, Texas 78712-1083
Phone: (512) 471-6332

Meeting Intent Form

1996 AAS/DDA Meeting, Washington, DC, April 15-17, 1996 Name: Address: ___ I plan to attend the meeting ___ I may attend the meeting ___ I do not plan to attend the meeting I would like to give a the following paper(s) on: ___ Oral ___ Poster Title: ___ Poster Title: Please return to: Art Whipple at or McDonald Observatory, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712-1083

Thanks to Doug Mink for the HTML version of the newsletter