(San Francisco, March 22, 2007)–The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) announced today that James Manning has been appointed to the position of Executive Director.  Currently serving as Head of the Office of Public Outreach of the Space Telescope Science Institute, Mr. Manning will take up his new duties in San Francisco in early July.

“The ASP Board and staff are totally delighted that Jim is joining us. With his long background in the planetarium world and informal science education, plus his great experience working with NASA, he is just the right person to take over the leadership of the ASP,” said ASP President Dennis Schatz,

Prior to becoming Head of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute, Mr. Manning had worked in the planetarium field for many years, as Director of the Taylor Planetarium (Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT),  Director of the Staerkel Planetarium (Parkland College, Champaign, IL), and Assistant Director of the Morehead Planetarium (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC).  He holds a BS degree in Mathematics and Astronomy from the University of Wisconsin and an MA in Physics and Astronomy from the University of North Carolina.  He is a member of many planetarium and education organizations, and served as President of the International Planetarium Society from 1995-96.

Manning becomes the seventh Executive Director of the ASP, replacing Michael Bennett, who has served since 2001.  Last year Mr. Bennett announced his decision to phase into semi-retirement, and will continue to serve the ASP as Senior Educator following Mr. Manning’s arrival.

Founded in 1889 in San Francisco, the ASP long ago outgrew its regional-sounding name to become one of the nation’s leading organizations devoted to improving people’s understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of astronomy and space. Serving research astronomers, educators of all descriptions, and amateur astronomers, the ASP publishes both scholarly and educational materials, conducts professional development programs for formal and informal educators, and holds conferences, symposia, and workshops for astronomers and educators who specialize in astronomy education and outreach. The ASP’s education programs are funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation, corporations, private foundations, and its own members.