Last January, Friends of APOD funded a Splinter Session on APOD at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting; APOD co-creator and co-editor Dr. Robert Nemiroff spoke, as did one of his grad students and several other people involved with or using APOD in their work. After that, attendees weighed in on how APOD helps them or how they use APOD, and it was then that we learned Dr. Robert Wagner of HACC has been creating daily podcasts of APOD for his intro astronomy students, and has been doing this for SIX years! You can find links to the podcasts here:
This coming January, Friends of APOD will again defray the expenses of an APOD session at the AAS meeting. By having a forum such as this to gather information from astronomy educators, APOD is better able to serve its outreach role and thus its mission. Thank you to our donors for making these events possible!
Why do we all love APOD so? How is it that APOD inspires so much affection that people volunteer to create mirror sites and translate APOD into many different languages, to run affiliated social media sites (including Facebook (Spanish, Portuguese), Twitter, G+, Instagram, Reddit, and tumblr), and create APOD apps and administer a discussion forum? That people stop by every day to look at the site? That it has fans all over the world?
That you are here indicates that you like APOD, too! Why? What do you like about the site? Please let us know in the comments below!
What goes into 20 years of producing APOD? You can read what co-creators and co-editors Jerry Bonnell and Robert Nemiroff have to say in this recent interview in The Verge:
20 years of space photos: an oral history of Astronomy Picture of the Day,
Can you believe it?! APOD is 20!! Since the first APOD appeared 20 years ago today, the two creators and editors of APOD, Dr. Jerry Bonnell and Dr. Robert Nemiroff, have created 7,302 pages to show and explain the wonders of our universe, day after day, sometimes finishing them literally just minutes before the page went live at midnight ET. Remember the Venus transit? Ninety minutes before June 5, details as to how (even whether!) the live feed for the image would work on the APOD page were still being ironed out. Yet other APODs take weeks to pull off, even when they don’t look at all complicated, such as the one showing the Great Meteor Procession of 1913. And these guys have day jobs! Yet they keep on, day after day.
Thank goodness! APOD shows us … well, everything. I tried to write out a list, a description, but it is everything, from the top and the end of the world and things normally hidden from view and almost impossibly small to everything out there, and up, and out, and far, farther, farthest. The universe. Everything. Views of its magnificence brought to us on our favorite electronic devices, day after day after day.
Happy 20th birthday, APOD!! And thank you, APOD… for everything!! Happy birthday!!
In 1998, I received an email from an online friend saying, “You might like this” with a link to APOD. He was right; I did. And do! Cathie Meetre is another great fan of APOD; we met as a result of APOD, in fact. Many times, people have wanted to help APOD out — there are more good astronomy projects than there is full funding for them — and other than applying for grants, APOD has no good vehicle for accepting donations.
So Cathie and I decided to build one, and here it is, still in all its getting-started glory: Friends of APOD. We’ve formed a non-profit corporation in our home state of Maryland and are seeking IRS recognition for FAPOD as a 501(c)(3) organization so U.S. donors can write their donations to FAPOD off on their taxes.
Want to help? For now, please donate, spread the word, and if you know something about running non-profits and would like to provide advice, please let us know! Once we’re more organized, we’ll be looking for volunteers to help us manage FAPOD.