Last week I visited Jennifer Sobeck and my former Yale-colleague Nitya Kallivayalil at the University of Virginia. Jen is the deputy project manager of APOGEE-2, which is a large spectroscopic survey collecting 300,000 high-resolution spectra of Milky Way stars (and other bright targets). Hence, her head is full of stellar atmospheres and element abundances. Nitya is the go-to person for proper motions of Galactic satellites, which is why there’s tons of overlap between my work and both of theirs. Frequently distracted by great food and stunning weather, we scienced around for a few days. Our brainstorming for low hanging fruits in the APOGEE-2 dataset brought us a few great ideas, which we will hopefully pursue within the next weeks and months. Steve Majewski, PI of APOGEE and also based at UVa, outsourced the same task to all his undergrads. Let’s see who’s first to have some results!
I get to be on Japanese television!! NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization, asked me for an interview about the evolution of globular clusters and the formation of tidal streams. I’m still excited about it, it was so much fun!
NHK produces a show called Cosmic Front Next, which covers one aspect of astronomy per episode. Each episode is one hour long and features several scientists. Since 2011, they have aired about one episode per week. That’s a lot of astronomy! Surprisingly, they haven’t covered globular clusters yet. So, I’m more than happy that I get to be on this episode of Season 5. Continue reading Big in Japan→
I just started my Euro trip 2014 with a weekend in London. Surprisingly, this was pure leisure and not at all work-related. The weather couldn’t have been better, not a single drop of rain, and so I’ve seen this incredible city from a completely new perspective. Most of the time I spent walking through the gorgeous parks, having snackies and drinks in the sun, watching the sunset from Primrose Hill, or strolling over the weekend markets. I decided that I should make stop-overs in awesome places more often. It’s worth every penny.
Spring is here! Finally! And it started with a bang; out of a sudden it’s everywhere. You can’t miss it. Birds are singing, squirrels go nuts, buds are popping out of trees, which were already presumed dead. And people: they’re everywhere too, in the streets, in the bars, in the cafés. But most of all they’re in the parks. Continue reading Central Park→
Blue hour’s sweet light was looming over Riverside Church when I left the astronomy department yesterday. Meanwhile, New York was turning into a huge slush puppie as the temperatures got milder. I felt like I had earned myself an afterwork beer with fellow Columbia astronomers and visiting ex-Columbiast Taka Tanaka. After being super productive during the last weeks, my Palomar 5 project is finally coming to an end! All I have to do now is wait for Yeti to deliver results. No, I did not hire Jaroslav Haas to compute likelihoods for me. Yeti is Columbia’s new >1600 core supercomputer, which has been inaugurated end of last year. I’ll post some results as soon as I get them, which will be in about one week. I’m excited, it all looks very, very promising.