Category: research log

  • above 500

    above 500

    In which I learn valuable lessons about writing observing proposals, deadlines, and telescope time allocation, reflect on my self doubt, and bat above 500 in my first proposal season. I suppose it can only go down from here, right? Nearly all the astronomers I know submit tens, hundreds of proposals and have acceptance rates on…

  • the once and future PI: my first observations as principle investigator using the ARC 3.5m telescope

    the once and future PI: my first observations as principle investigator using the ARC 3.5m telescope

    In which I reflect on being responsible. I sit in the late hours of the night, towards the end of the year, in front of my bright computer screens. Tonight is my last scheduled observation for my Quarter 4 program, my fifth night of observing. My vision is filled with the multitude of windows which…

  • de-trend setter (or, transit photometry from the MSGC-observatory)

    de-trend setter (or, transit photometry from the MSGC-observatory)

    In which I observe an exoplanet transit, and explain how I fit a model to my observations. For a brief intro to, and some artsy pictures of, the Maryland Space Grant Observatory I’ve been starting to use, visit this previous post. What if I told you I observed a planet, orbiting a star hundreds of…

  • good morning baltimore! (or, grism spectroscopy from the MSGC-observatory)

    good morning baltimore! (or, grism spectroscopy from the MSGC-observatory)

    If there’s one thing I know about myself, its that if there’s a telescope in my vicinity I am going to try to drive it. I recently started grad school at Johns Hopkins University, whose Physics and Astronomy Department building is host to the Maryland Space Grant Observatory (pictured below). I’ve made some awesome friends…

  • before the next steps, looking back on my grad school application experience

    before the next steps, looking back on my grad school application experience

    prologue: This past weekend I announced my acceptance of an offer of admission to a Ph.D. program in astronomy. I got a lot of attention, and that makes me anxious, but it was nice to receive so much support from my family, friends, and mentors about my decision. In light of all that, I wanted…

  • making stars (feat. ic 5146: the cocoon nebula)

    making stars (feat. ic 5146: the cocoon nebula)

    when molecular clouds – large clumps of gas and dust within galaxies – become unable to support their own weight they collapse inwards into a cascading series of overdensities and clumps which then become stars. even if they can support themselves, collisions between clouds, supernovae, or other dramatic events can cause dynamical disruptions in molecular…