AstroShop Support Resources Education Events Publications Membership News About Us Home
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific


   home > about us

  About Us Topics:  
  Board of Directors  
  Advisory Council  
  Annual Report  
  Donate Now  
  Mission Statement  
  Become a Corporate Affiliate Partner  
  How to Partner With Us  
  Career Opportunities  
  Centennial History of the ASP  
  Presidents of the ASP  
  Past Officers & Board Members  
  SEED Grants to Scientists  
  Privacy Statement  
Contact Us  

About Us


The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) was founded in 1889 by a group of Northern California professional and amateur astronomers after joining together to view a rare total solar eclipse. The ASP's earliest purpose was to disseminate astronomical information -- a mission which has flourished with astronomers' inexhaustible exploration of the universe. The ASP has become the largest general astronomy society in the world, with members from over 70 nations. The ASP Board of Directors and the Advisory Council are composed of members of the astronomical, educational, and amateur communities.

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific increases the understanding and appreciation of astronomy by engaging scientists, educators, enthusiasts and the public to advance science and science literacy.

The ASP's mission-based astronomy and space science education and public outreach activities work to promote science literacy through the enjoyment of astronomy. We are a recognized leader in the field of astronomy education. Our free teachers' newsletter, The Universe in the Classroom, is posted on the web. With the support of nationally recognized corporations and individual benefactors, the ASP sponsors Project ASTRO, an innovative program to pair amateur and professional astronomers with teachers and classes in the San Francisco Bay Area and also works with the ASTRO National Network with sites in 13 locations across the country.

The ASP's educational effort includes a National Science Foundation program titled Astronomy from the Ground Up (AFGU), which provides science/nature centers and museums with new and innovative ways to communicate the excitement of modern astronomy to their visitors. It was created by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in collaboration with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and the Association of Science-Technology Centers.

Another program funded by the National Science Foundation is the ASP's effort to work with amateur astronomers engaged in education and public outreach titled, Sharing the Universe (STU). This program assists amateur astronomers in finding ways to improve the quality and effectiveness of their education and public outreach (EPO) activities by looking at what successful clubs are doing and what "best practices" might be transferable to other clubs or amateurs that may be struggling with EPO. New EPO support resources and networking options will also be tested and made available to astronomy clubs nationwide.

As part of the ASP's work with the amateur astronomy community, the Society manages the NASA Night Sky Network. The Night Sky Network is a nationwide coalition of astronomy clubs bringing the science and inspiration of NASA's missions to the public. This program, started in March 2004, provides outreach materials for amateur astronomy clubs and a forum for those involved in community outreach to exchange ideas and learn from each other. The program was developed and is operated for NASA by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Initiated by JPL's PlanetQuest Public Engagement Program, the Night Sky Network has several sponsors.

The ASP's professional astronomer members are a key components of our Society's membership. It is their desire to share the rich rewards of their work with the public which permits the ASP to act as a bridge, explaining the mysteries of the universe. These dedicated scientists regularly donate their time and energy to speak at our Annual Meeting, write for Mercury magazine, and to create products for us to market and distribute. For these members, the ASP publishes the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (PASP), a well-respected monthly scientific journal. We also provide an important service to the astronomical community through our affordable Conference Series volumes which publish the proceedings of important scientific conferences.

The Society offers benefits of association as a unique part of our membership. Being a member in the ASP supports the mission-based cause of advancing science literacy through astronomy. One benefit of association for members is the online publication, Mercury magazine. This is published quarterly to keep our members abreast of developments in astronomy. Our online store, the AstroShop, offers an array of educational products for teachers and anyone interested in spreading the appreciation and understanding of astronomy. The ASP's Annual Meeting is currently focused on providing a forum for the astronomy and space science education and public outreach community to gather and advance their work.

In keeping with our mission to promote the science of astronomy, the ASP offers annual awards to acknowledge outstanding individuals who have contributed to a variety of areas in this field. The awards banquet occurs each year in conjunction with the annual meeting.

As a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the ASP must rely on membership dues and donations to sustain and expand our many education and public outreach programs and activities. Contributions in the form of cash gifts, gifts of appreciated securities and gifts-in-kind directly support our educational programs and are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Businesses are invited to support the ASP by becoming a Corporate Affiliate. Individuals may also wish to establish or contribute to one of the many ASP endowment funds. These funds, often initiated in someone's memory or honor, generate support for ASP programs, awards or lectures. Through these giving programs, our individual and corporate friends ensure that the ASP's programs continue to educate the general public about astronomy.

Consider making a gift today to support the ASP and our cause-based programs and activities. We invite you to join us as we work together to advance science literacy through the enjoyment of astronomy.

The ASP is a member organization of Educate America! and a proud participant of the Combined Federal Campaign.
Educate America! logo
Educate America! is a nonprofit federation that pre-screens high quality national and international charities and presents them to potential givers in fund drives at work and, now, on the web.
CFC logo

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the annual fund-raising drive conducted by Federal employees in their workplace each fall. Each year Federal employees and military personnel raise millions of dollars through the CFC that benefits thousands of non-profit charities. If you are a Federal employee, please see your Human Resources department to select the ASP as your non-profit choice of giving.


home | about us | news | membership | publications

events | education | resources | support | astroshop | search

Privacy & Legal Statements | Site Index | Contact Us

Copyright ©2001-2009 Astronomical Society of the Pacific