December 21st 2012 and the Mayans

CNRS (the main French research agency) put up a very nice video about December 21st 2012 and the Mayans. Even if you don’t speak French, give it a look! I hope it get translated/subtitled in other languages soon. We are safe 😉 (click on “Visionner”) Les Mayas, le calendrier et le 21-12-2012 – Vidéo

I ♥ astronomy

As one can see (I put notes on the flickr image, click on it) this 25-second exposure taken on October 20, 2011 contains a lot of things (the Earth’s zodiacal light, the “Kiwi”, the galactic center, the VLT observatory, a big heart in light painting, etc.) and it is a tribute to my wife who came to live in Chile with me so I could pursue my dream with astronomy. I stood behind my camera setup on a small tripod and fired the timer, then I drew a heart in the air using my ESO tiny key-chain Maglite®. It took me quite a few tried to get it like that especially not having a press-button flash light. Pressed against my fingers the heart was pink/red naturally and I just accentuated the pink.

This Picture was selected as ESO Picture of the week in february 2012 as a Valentine’s day image:

Planet Formation in Action?

Amazing results from my friend Nuria Huélamo and her collaborators …. From the ESO website: “Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope an international team of astronomers has been able to study the short-lived disc of material around a young star that is in the early stages of making a planetary system. For the first time a

Exploding Stars in Leiden

Just arrived in Leiden. Tomorrow, at the Lorentz Center, an international workshop on Supernova explosions will start. It will focus on the progenitors of one specific class of SNe, called Type Ia. They became famous because of the implications they had on the acceleration of the universe. During the last few years, my collaborators and 

A walk into the desert

A view of the desert from Paranal’s residencia This is now the 8th night of this run at the Very Large Telescope. I have been observing at Kueyen, the second 8.2m unit telescope (UT2 for friends). At the moment it is equipped with three spectrographs, UVES, FLAMES, and X-Shooter. All nights where good, very stable

Stellar Death

When I was close to the end of my Master in Astronomy at the University of Padua, I do not exactly remember why I decided to do my thesis work on Supernovae, under the supervision of prof. Roberto Barbon. So, sometime in early 1991 I got a date with him and his collaborators to discuss