Ever wonder what a giant meeting of astronomers might look like? This week, this mystery is over as more than 3,500 astrophysicists, planetary scientists, and science journalists from around the globe converge on Washington, D.C., for the 215th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Established in 1899, the American Astronomical Society, or AAS, is a group of scientists whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of contemporary astronomy. Their mission is simple: to enhance and share humanity's scientific understanding of the universe.

From Jan. 3-7, astronomers will discuss the latest findings from space, including black holes and the surface of Mars. Most of the event is not open to the public, with the exception of a few lectures. 

One notable public lecture features Brian B. Schwartz of City University of New York who will discuss "Science as Performance: Communicating and Educating through Theater, Music, and Dance.” This will cover recent examples connecting science and the arts, such as the film, A Beautiful Mind, and the opera, Dr. Atomic.

World's astronomers gather in Washington
215th meeting of American Astronomical Society billed as the largest confab of astronomers in the history of the universe.