A Distant Mirror

While at the Hilton attached to the convention center in downtown San Jose, California, I saw a distant view of the Lick Observatory on snow-covered Mt. Hamilton (23 March 2009). The leftmost dome is the Shane 3 meter, while the rightmost dome is the 0.9 meter refractor.   Of course if one can see Lick


I have never been in a submarine, but sometimes I have the feeling I have navigated inside deep waters during long weeks.

The feeling persists and it is recurrent. Normally, it come back in March… Because is the month when, almost, everything happens… Deadline after deadline in order to get time at different observatories, new projects to get funding (from the regional government of Madrid, in this particular case), the annual justification of my research budget (with the central government), the preparation of workshops and meetings later on during this year. And, as usual, in my case, the JWST/MIRI.

All these activities are very interesting, very exciting. And very demanding. I almost do not have time for anything else. It is like along journey in a ship, like being immersed under an immense ocean, thinking whether there is enough air or, in my case, enough time to arrive to a save harbour.

Vernal Equinox on Borobudur – The Expedition

The Waluku (Orion) Above the Borobudur
The Waluku (Orion) Above the Borobudur

Borobudur, the name is well known as the Buddhist monument in Indonesian. It is one of world heritage that during the decade of restoraration (between 1973-1983) involved twenty-eight countries, and in 1991 included into the World Heritage by the UNESCO. So many aspects had been studied from this monument, from the spiritual, philosophycal, architectural, and so on, but what about the astronomy? One may argue that Borobudur has nothing to do with astronomy, but as long as no strong arguments to support the lemma, it might be that the opposite can be true; regardless, the relation should be testable.

Recently, during the Vernal Equinox, i was joining the Borobudur expedition with some fellows from astronomy department, ITB. Because of Borobudur is in the central Java, so it took 9 hours land traveled from Bandung, in West Java, well, it was an exciting expedition for us. The main purpose of this expedition is on Irma Hariawang‘s thesis on archeo-astronomy, to figure out the relations between Borobudur and astronomy. And the astronomy-related activities are measuring the Sun on its path in the sky during the VE. For the detail on astronomy, i think it would be prefereable, if we have to wait for Irma’s full report in due time. Instead, i just want to share little things that i have learned during the visit.

Borobudur in Red
Borobudur in Red

from AO to NGAO (part I)

Once again, it has been a long time I did not write anything on this Blog. I am about to fail on my decision to write 2 posts per week in average, so I need to catch up

In January, I mentioned to you that I was involved in a new instrument designed for the Keck telescope called Next Generation Adaptive Optics or NGAO (we love acronyms in our field). What project is all about is the point of this post.

Future Spectroscopic Surveys

Earlier last week there was a meeting here at ESO, Garching regarding spectroscopic surveys. It outlined some of the currently on going and planned programs that will provide *alot* of spectra!! Since stellar spectra are what I work with, I am interested in what kind of opportunities will be there in the future. In particular those surveys are focusing on the stellar populations within our own Galaxy.

Students are back… Binary Asteroid projects

Dear readers,

I realized that I did not post anything on my blog for a week. What was going on? Well I got caught in one we called a never-ending deadline series.

Last week, I started my UC-Berkeley week giving a lecture-class for undergraduate and graduate students on Tuesday. Then my student Brent came back from his road trip in the US and we started working together on his new project. Brent is finalizing the large table containing the characteristics of 165 reported multiple  Asteroid systems.