Media coverage of the conference

In the run up to and during the meeting a total of 27 press releases were issued relating to the meeting and scientific results presented there. These covered the four days of the meeting and included press briefings by the European Southern Observatory and the International Year of Astronomy team.

Here is a by-no-means comprehensive list of coverage relating to the different press releases and media alerts (some of them verbal!) relating to the meeting. On a conservative estimate, stories relating to the conference had 950 discrete mentions in online, printed and broadcast media with a further tranche in local press in the Hertfordshire area. This represents an almost fourfold increase in coverage from the 2008 NAM.

Highlights included the discovery of the lightest extrasolar planet yet found (>450 features), the discovery of 'raspberry and rum' molecules in space (>200 features) and the BBC coverage of the solar minimum. All the releases generated some coverage, with many picked up by press agencies and hence media around the world but interestingly the proximity of the event to London made little difference to the number of journalists who actually chose to attend rather than relying on RAS press releases.

This year the conference could have been overshadowed by the launch of the Herschel and Planck observatories (key stories for the science press) and the 2009 Budget of the UK Government. The latter had some impact on UK press interest, but fortunately the major releases related to topics covered in the previous two days.

Press Releases

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