Astrophysical ionizing radiation sources and their impact on life

A multidisciplinary workshop

Honolulu, Hawaii, May 29-31, 2007

In Conjunction with the Meeting of the American Astronomical Society

This session is timely for a number of reasons. The geological community has accepted the reality of bolide impacts as a significant effect on the terrestrial environment, but radiation effects are not generally considered. However, radiation events are expected over geological timescales, and have been shown to have potentially strong effects on the terrestrial environment. Such events may include nearby supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, and unusually large solar flares. There is now isotopic evidence for a supernova at about 30-40 pc about 2.8 My ago. While there is new interest in climate change in the geological and paleontological community, there is increasing evidence for strong coupling to astrophysical causes. Confirmation of the abundance of extrasolar planets has created new interest in the possible distribution of habitable planets.

We plan one day of invited talks on May 29, after which the style will become extremely informal and conversational. We expect participants from not only astrophysics, but also geology, atmospheric science, paleontology, and radiation health physics. We therefore plan short talks with extended discussion periods on May 30 and 31. Many participants in this meeting will not be AAS members, but will pay a special reduced registration fee to be arranged by the AAS, and will be eligible for the AAS rate at conference hotels. Note that the full AAS meeting begins earlier, on May 27. The link to the AAS meeting site is here.

Invited (Confirmed) Speakers (May 29)

Registration and abstract procedures


If you are an AAS member, please register normally on their website. If you are not an AAS member, please email in order to get a password which will allow you to register for the splinter workshop. In this email, please mention that you are wishing to register for the workshop chaired by Melott. Note that the registration fee increases on March 18 and April 22 coinciding with the end of Early and Advance Registration periods.

Abstract submission

AAS members wishing to submit an abstract for a contributed talk at the splinter workshop (these will not be limited to 5 minutes!) should look for a sorting category corresponding to the title of this workshop, and should note the splinter workshop on "astrophysical radiation sources and life" in the comment field of their abstract. Non-AAS members should do the same, except that they will need a password from in order to submit an abstract. The exact length of talks will be determined after submissions are received. Everyone should plan to make their presentations comprehensible across disciplinary boundaries, and expect extended discussion periods comparable to the length of the talk. Note that normal abstract submission (and publication in the meeting schedule) ends on March 21.

Organizing Committee

Images courtesy NASA

Last Updated: May 11, 2007