Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Legal statusNon-profit organization
PurposeAn international non-profit scientific and educational organization that works to increase understanding and appreciation of astronomy.
  • San Francisco, U.S.
Region served
Linda Shore [1]
AffiliationsAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) is an American scientific and educational organization, founded in San Francisco on February 7, 1889, immediately following the solar eclipse of January 1, 1889.[2] Its name derives from its origins on the Pacific Coast, but today it has members all over the country and the world. It has the legal status of a nonprofit organization.

It is the largest general astronomy education society in the world,[3] with members from over 40 countries.

Education and outreach programs

The ASP's mission is to promote public interest in and awareness of astronomy (and increase scientific literacy) through its publications, web site, and many educational and outreach programs.[4]

The ASP assists with astronomy education and outreach by partnering with other organizations both in the United States and internationally, and organizes an annual meeting to promote the appreciation and understanding of astronomy.


The society promotes astronomy education through several publications. The Universe in the Classroom, a free electronic educational newsletter for teachers and other educators around the world who help students of all ages learn more about the wonders of the universe through astronomy.

Mercury, the ASP's quarterly on-line membership magazine, covers a wide range of astronomy topics, from history and archaeoastronomy to cutting-edge developments. First published in 1925 as the Leaflets of the ASP, Mercury is now disseminated to thousands of ASP members and schools, universities, libraries, observatories, and institutions around the world.[5] Mercury Online, a publicly accessible companion blog for Mercury, was established in 2019 "to showcase articles by our expert columnists after they've been published in Mercury magazine."[6]

The ASP also publishes the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (PASP) aimed at professional astronomers. The PASP is a technical journal of refereed papers on astronomical research covering all wavelengths and distance scales as well as papers on the latest innovations in astronomical instrumentation and software, and has been publishing journals since 1889.

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series (ASPCS) is a series of over 400 volumes of professional astronomy conference proceedings. Started in 1988, the Conference Series has grown to become a prominent publication series in the world of professional astronomy publications, and has published over 500 volumes. Volumes are sold to the attendees of the conferences of which the proceedings are published, as well as being offered through the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's AstroShop, and can be found in the libraries of major universities and research institutions worldwide. In 2004, the ASPCS stepped into electronic publishing, offering electronic access subscriptions for libraries and institutions, as well as individual access to volumes which they have purchased in hard copy form.

AstroBeat is an on-line ASP-membership column, which comes out every other week, and features a behind-the-scenes report on some aspect of astronomical discovery, astronomy education, or astronomy as a hobby, written by a key participant. Authors have included:

The old ASP's logo design until it was updated in 2019


The ASP makes several different awards annually:

Defunct awards


The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Recent presidents

Presidents of the ASP have included such notable astronomers as Edwin Hubble, George O. Abell, and Frank Drake. George Pardee, who later became Governor of the State of California, served as president in 1899.

Past presidents

See also


  1. ^ "ASP CEO Linda Shore".
  2. ^ Bracher, Katherin (1989), The Stars for All: A Centennial History of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, California: Astronomical Society of the Pacific, p. 18, retrieved 2023-05-07.
  3. ^ "The First National Astronomy Organization in the U.S." CosmoQuest. 6 February 2009.
  4. ^ "ASP Education and Outreach Programs". ASP.
  5. ^ "Mercury magazine". Astronomical Society.
  6. ^ "Mercury Online". Astronomical Society.
  7. ^ "Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal". ASP.
  8. ^ "Klumpke-Roberts Award". ASP.
  9. ^ "Gordon Myers Amateur Achievement Awards". ASP.
  10. ^ "Thomas Brennan Award". ASP.
  11. ^ "Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award". ASP.
  12. ^ "Robert J. Trumpler Award". ASP.
  13. ^ "Richard Emmons Award". ASP.
  14. ^ "Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award". ASP.
  15. ^ "Arthur B.C. Walker II Award". ASP.
  16. ^ "Awards of the Comet-Medal of the ASP (1890–1896)". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 9. San Francisco: 99. 1897. JSTOR 40671005.
  17. ^ a b "History". Astronomical Society.


Research resources