Science Writer’s Workshop: Multi-Messenger & Time-Domain Astronomy

Friday, 08 January 2021 3 p.m. — 7 p.m. MST

Online event

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Science Writer’s Workshop: Multi-Messenger & Time-Domain Astronomy

On Friday, 8 January 2021, journalists and other communications professionals participated in a virtual workshop on multi-messenger astronomy (MMA) and time-domain astronomy (TDA). The workshop was held as part of the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and ran from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm EST (17:00 to 21:00 GMT/UTC).

Featuring presentations by several leaders in the fields of multi-messenger and time-domain astronomy, the workshop was offered jointly by NSF’s NOIRLab and the AAS Press Office. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation through Gemini Observatory’s Gemini in the Era of Multi-Messenger Astronomy (GEMMA) program.

Over the past decade or so, discoveries have been made with “messengers” from space that go beyond photons, the messenger of light: particles from distant galaxies, neutrinos from the Sun and supernovae, and most recently ripples in the fabric of spacetime itself, known as gravitational waves. At the same time, a growing realization of the importance of the universe’s dynamic nature has crept into astronomy: supernovae explode, stars change in brightness, novae flare, and outbursts occur in regions around black holes. Multi-messenger and time-domain astronomy are two of the most rapidly advancing areas of astronomy, and it is expected that over the next decade and beyond these disciplines will define modern astronomy.

The key objective of the workshop was to provide a glimpse into the future of multi-messenger and time-domain astronomy and the facilities that will drive these fields. Additionally, there was a discussion about the challenges of communicating multi-messenger and time-domain astronomy in the context of a forthcoming white paper on best practices in large-scale, multi-institutional communication in the field.

Watch the YouTube Video of the Workshop

Most of the following presentation titles link to the speakers' presentation slides, either as PDFs or on These slides are provided for science writers' personal use only. If you wish to publish or otherwise reproduce any of the content in these presentations, you must obtain permission from the presenters — otherwise you may be in violation of copyright law. If you need help contacting a presenter, email AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg.