Boat on the Neckar

Last week I’ve been to Heidelberg to visit collaborators and friends (or both). Matthias (definitely both) was kind enough to host me for the week at the Observatory (Landessternwarte), which is situated on top of the Königsstuhl high above Heidelberg Castle. 

Old front gate of the observatory
One of the many telescope domes, probably the tiniest
View from the Königsstuhl (“king’s seat”)
Heidelberg Castle

Besides discussing the awkward refereeing process of our paper on mass segregation in the outer-halo cluster Palomar 14, which will be out soon, we laid out our future directions. In terms of the science I do, I consider Matthias to be my observational counterpart, so it’s always refreshing to see that we’re absolutely on the same page about important things. Looking forward to many more years of fruitful collaboration.

Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (computational astronomy department)

On Thursday I gave a colloquium talk at the Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (ARI), which is (partially) inside an old mansion in one of the posher neighborhoods of Heidelberg. It is a great place surrounded by an amazing garden and shady trees. My talk was well received and I had some interesting discussions with Andreas Just and Robert Schmidt. As always, one of the main off-science topics is jobs in astronomy. Seems like no one is happy with the situation but yet we don’t know how to change it.

Garden of the Marstall (old stable building converted into a canteen)
Inside the stable building

For the rest of the week, I kept enjoying the amazing weather, lots of coffee, and Heidelberg’s great outdoor spaces. One of my favorite places is actually a student canteen! In the middle of Heidelberg, down at the Neckar, is the zeughaus-Mensa im Marstall with its invitingly green garden. This old horse stable was built in the 1500’s and is now a place to chill, eat and have drinks (and has won the prize for Germany’s best canteen a couple of times). It combines aspects I love about Germany and keep missing in the US: subsidized, healthy meals for students, fascinating historic buildings, and drinking beer outside in the sun … in the public … without getting a fine!  It was a great week, can’t deny that.


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