Interview: Follette Lab’s MagAOX web-tool team

Willb/ September 30, 2020/ Interviews, research log/ 0 comments

Preface This article was originally published in the Amherst STEM Network magazine online (at this link) with the title “Accretion Machines.” I’ve republished it here for posterity (the online articles usually fleeting – there will be a link to the stable magazine copy of this article sometime soon as well). I hope you enjoy it, and that you check out

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American astronomers have a moral obligation to support O’odham land defenders

Willb/ September 29, 2020/ lefty astronomy/ 0 comments

Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), the beloved observatory which “supports the most diverse collection of astronomical observatories on Earth” is in turn supported by – that is, resides atop – a sacred mountain of the O’odham people. The observatory, which has provided smaller institutions and the public an equal opportunity to conduct and publish astronomy research for over half a

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The mortifying ordeal

Willb/ September 23, 2020/ personal/ 0 comments

A while ago someone wrote “If we want the rewards of being loved we have to submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known,” in some fancy newspaper. This concept – of submission to such an excruciating process in order to find comfort and solidarity with others – resonated with a lot of people. Like anything that can be interpreted

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Interview: Follette Lab’s accretion database team

Willb/ September 22, 2020/ Interviews, research log/ 0 comments

Preface This article was originally published in the Amherst STEM Network magazine online (at this link) with the title “Accretion Machines.” I’ve republished it here for posterity (the online articles usually fleeting – there will be a link to the stable magazine copy of this article sometime soon as well). I hope you enjoy it, and that you check out

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Interview: What makes a planet? Daniela Bardalez Gagliuffi seeks answers in the lowest mass stars

Willb/ April 1, 2020/ Interviews, research log/ 0 comments

I wrote this article originally for the Amherst STEM Network, where I’m the Astronomy Department Editor, and it is reposted here for posterity. You can find an amazing magazine version of it following this link. What makes a planet? If you grew up before the mid-2000s, you probably learned that Pluto is a planet, and might have reacted strongly to

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making stars (feat. ic 5146: the cocoon nebula) – prepare to astronomize

Willb/ January 24, 2020/ prepare to astronomize, research log/ 1 comments

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 clouds which trigger star formation.

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make your own color magnitude diagram ! – prepare to astronomize

Willb/ January 13, 2020/ prepare to astronomize, research log/ 0 comments

Luritja aboriginal astronomers have a classification system for by-eye observation of stars: Tjilkera (white) stars, Tataka Tjilkera (red/white), Tataka (red) and Tataka Indora (very red) [1, 2]. Astronomers today, thanks to Williamina Flemming and Annie Jump Cannon (among other Harvard Computers), use a rather opaque system of stellar classification called the Harvard spectral classification: OBAFGKM(LTY), ranging from white/blue to red/brown.

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can “science” be decolonized? and what really is “science”?

Willb/ January 12, 2020/ lefty astronomy, research log/ 3 comments

Context, and then some of my thoughts on astronomy Mauna Kea, the tallest of five volcanoes comprising the big island of Hawai’i, is the most sacred of mountains to native Hawaiians. Protected by kapu, a code of conduct, visitation was restricted in order to protect the sanctity of the mountain. Around the 12th century native people began small quarries high

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