After several years, my goal of going “back” to college has been completed. On May 10th, 2013 I graduated from ASU’s “Earth and Space Exploration” program, and will start my graduate studies in the fall.
The past three years at ASU have been an interesting learning experience, to say the least. I made a number of friendships that will be very long-lasting, and was able to pursue not one, but two publish-track research articles.
There is a part of me that will miss my time at ASU, but I am very relieved (and excited) to move onward and upward in my studies. This fall I begin my graduate studies, and will be continuing my variable star research. My goal is to keep working my way up the academic ladder, striving to do well in my coursework and continue publishing solid research.
What does the future hold for me? I honestly have no clue. What I can say is that I’m still enjoying my journey to becoming a professional astronomer.
Thank you all for reading my news blurbs, occasional rants, and cheeky shenanigans.
Yesterday, March 18th marked the three year anniversary of the Dear Astronomer website.
I actually started about four years ago with a simple Facebook page where I answered astronomy questions. Over the past few years, I’ve written original content for places like Universe Today, The Planetary Society Blog, and NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine.I’ve also managed to get one paper on variable stars published, with a second currently in review.
Over the past year or so, I’ve also been doing some great things with Pamela Gay, and the awesome folks at cosmoquest.org. Becoming a small part of the astronomy/space community has been an incredible, and somewhat humbling experience. I truly can say that several years back when I decided to go back to school and pursue an astronomy degree, I had absolutely no idea my journey would take me as far as it has at this point in the game.
The past few years have been truly amazing,I want to take a moment to sincerely thank each and every site visitor, plusketeer, follower and fan. I’ve been honored to answer some great astronomy questions for people, and help people better understand this strange, amazing, and infinitely complex universe we are a tiny part of.
I also want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way. Folks like Fraser Cain from Universe Today, Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Society, and of course, Pamela Gay. I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to Phil Plait, who along with a few others kept my passion for astronomy fueled over the years. There’s many more people who’ve helped me, including my friends at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, and of course, I can’t forget to thank my wife, who has been incredibly supportive and patient with me during my journey.
Looking at the next year (and beyond), there are tons of new opportunities I look forward to participating in. To celebrate, similar to last year’s anniversary celebration, I have a special treat for my readers.
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged just for the sake of blogging!
This weekend, I’ll be assisting with observations on the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, AKA the “Pope Scope”. With any luck, we’ll collect some great data. Currently the weather is looking a bit iffy, with some clouds and high humidity.
The Post-Doc I’m working with is investigating binary stars, so we’ll be on a bit of a fishing expedition, which should be interesting, to say the least.
I’ll make a follow-up blog post when I get back, and share all the details of my observing run. I’ll also share what life is like living (temporarily) at a professional observatory.
For those who have asked, no I’m not travelling to Italy. The VATT is located here in Arizona. Learn more at: http://vaticanobservatory.org/VATT/
I’ll be on a posting hiatus for the foreseeable future due to a family emergency.
Thank you all for your understanding, and kind thoughts during this trying time.
Being a bit of a hardware tinkerer myself, I always love small and inexpensive projects that provide a BIG BANG for the buck.
Keep reading to learn how you can assemble the “Itty Bitty Telescope” for your outreach efforts.
With the arrival of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory on Mars in August, many scientists have been asked “How hard is it to land Curiosity on Mars?” (Note: Curiosity is the official “nickname” for MSL). According to NASA, if you were to use a difficulty scale of 1 to 10, the difficulty level of MSL’s landing on Mars would be 20!
Over the past fifteen years, NASA has been steadily scaling up the mars rovers. Sojourner (1997) was about the size of a large radio-controlled car. The Spirit and Opportunity rovers (2004) are about the size of a golf cart. Curiosity is the biggest and most capable Mars rover to date (about the size of a typical compact car). Given the ambitious nature of the MSL mission, NASA had to devise a radically new method to safely place Curiosity on the martian surface. During the landing process the the craft will be required to slow down from 13,000 miles an hour down to zero – all in a time-span of less than seven minutes!
Keep reading to see what events need to happen perfectly in order to ensure a safe martian landing for Curiosity