[TDA_announce] TDA in IAU

Griffin, Elizabeth Elizabeth.Griffin at nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
Sat Apr 25 01:29:02 EDT 2015

Dear Everyone,

It is surely good that we are reaching some sort of consensus, but - Please!  Let's wait a little before making the move that Bob Hanisch seems already to have cemented (he said "done" in respect of inviting a new WG for TDA within the revamped C5).

While it is good to make some sort of decision to replace the uncertainty of the past week, I believe we should reflect more closely on what a WG within Data & Documentation means.  Even if we hang it there simply because that is a convenient peg, it will be harder to shift it in the future because it will have become understood as a matter of data rather than a matter of astrophysics/science.   As Virginia says, Div G could be equally amenable to having a focus on TDA somewhere within it.
Education and Outreach might too, since amateurs have been heavily involved in TDA observations (e.g., the AAVSO) and interpretations.   Asteroseismology is at least as much data-centric, and one could argue that it is even more so, and that is in Div G.  In fact, I believe just about every Commission could set up a valuable WG for TDA.

So maybe this is another option to consider - a network of WGs on TDA, one per Division.  The one within Div B would be geared towards technologis, purpose-built instrumentation (LSST, FTP, DASCH, etc)  and message systems.   Div E (Sun & Heliosphere) would report on things like variations in the solar constant, sunspot counts, solar weather, ionosphere interactions.  The new Commission on Binary Stars is led by Andrej Prsa, who is an asteroseismology expert, and TDA could sit quite happily there.  Winds from massive stars, interstellar scintillation, extrasolar planets - the list goes on - all depend at their basic level on time-series of data.  In every instance, new science has been made possible even by just grouping existing data; it is the Science, not the Data, which is the attraction, and the goal.  The Commission which we hope to apply for in 2018 will then have, at its core, a linking-up of the various TDA WGs.

The IAU mentality has not progressed beyond the silo approach of the last century, when we had radial-velocities here, laboratory astrophysics there (as if the two didn't need to interact with anyone or anything else!), radio astronomy in a different place as it talks in frequencies, not wavelengths.  There were doubts expressed over the plans for IAU S285 (New Horizons in TDA, 2011) to the effect that it was too ambitious, and it would not work to mix such vastly different expertise and interests.  Those who attended found quite the converse - that being obliged to get outside the respective silo and mix was enlightening and enriching.  The IAU EC should have attended.


 the IAU 
From: TDA_announce [tda_announce-bounces at timedomainastronomy.net] On Behalf Of Virginia Trimble [vtrimble at astro.umd.edu]
Sent: Friday, April 24, 2015 5:11 PM
To: tda_announce at timedomainastronomy.net
Subject: [TDA_announce] TDA in IAU

Despite the recent bad luck (poor decisions?) I would favor "staying in"
with WG  as suggested.  Additional WGs could eventually be put together
in other divisions (I think G would be amenable) and work-group together.
Virginia Trimble
TDA_announce mailing list
TDA_announce at timedomainastronomy.net

More information about the TDA_announce mailing list