This week, the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) meeting is taking place at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, California. What exactly is HEAD? It is one of the five divisions of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), which is the biggest organization of astronomers in the US (lots of scientists from other countries are members as well.) The AAS has meetings twice a year - in January and then some time in May or June - and then the divisions like HEAD (http://www.aas.org/head) also have their own separate meetings.
High energy astrophysics: the extreme ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma-ray wavelengths.
X-rays are considered to belong to "high energy astrophysics," so lots of results from Chandra are being presented here. These meetings almost always have two different methods of sharing results with other scientists: posters and talks. Astronomers will make a giant poster that describe their latest work and then hang around them so they can discuss the results with any other scientists who find it interesting. This wandering around the poster room usually happens before or after the talks. The talks themselves are generally about the results that the organizers of the meeting think will be of interest to the most scientists at the meeting. If you want to see the entire program of both posters and talks at this HEAD meeting, take a look at http://www.confcon.com/head2008/
Remember, if you happen to be out and about in LA this week and happen to overhear conversations about black holes or gravitational waves, don't be surprised.
-Megan Watzke, CXC