A new cycle begins

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February 6th … in few hours the possibility of requesting observations with the Spitzer Space Telescope will end. Like my team, a lot of groups have been working very hard during the last day to be able to submit proposal which will evaluate by committees of other colleagues. The most interesting and exciting (well, not always) will be approved and will get time.

Spitzer, although an important space observatory (it has produces some of the most beautiful images taken from the sky) is just another facility. From now on, essentially every other week, astronomers have deadlines in order to submit proposal to different observatories. In my case, I am planning to submit several to Calar Alto (German-Spanish), La Palma (including the new and shiny Spanish 10m GTC, one of the most powerful ground-based instrument), Subaru in Hawaii, La Silla and Paranal in Chile… It is a new cycle: new ideas, projects, proposals. However, sometimes I have the feeling that my main task is writing scientific proposal.

Storm in Algeria, across the Mediterranean, as seen from the Observatory of Calar Alto, in Southern Spain (credir F. Hormuth)

Storm in Algeria, across the Mediterranean, as seen from the Observatory of Calar Alto, in Southern Spain (credir F. Hormuth)

However, one an idea is accepted, when I am taking data at the telescope. When I have the opportunity and the priviledge of going out of the building and let my eyes get used to the darkness … the real miracle begins: stars and the Milky Way in their true magnificence. Or, during the sunset or the dusk, it is possible to observe amazing meteorological phenomena, such as the Green Flash and wonderful spectacles as the Sun sunks under the horizon. Or impressive storms, as in the case of the picture I am including (some text in Spanish).

As I said, a real priviledge.


About dbarrado

Born in Madrid, Spain, David Barrado completed a degree in physics, specializing in astrophysics, at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. At this same university he started work on a doctorate that he would go on to complete at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge (USA). He then spent several years as a post-doctoral researcher at a number of institutes in the United States (including as a Fulbright scholar during his time at CfA), Germany (Max-Planck Institut für Astronomie, in Heidelberg) and Spain (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). David now works at the European Space Astronomy Center (ESAC, Madrid) as a member of the National Technical Aerospace Institute (INTA), part of the Astrobiology Center (CAB), a combined institute made up of INTA and the Center for Higher Scientific Research (CSIC). With the INTA team he led research on the MIRI, an infrared instrument that will fly with the forthcoming space telescope, the JWST. He has also been involved in the development of a number of other astronomical instruments. For two years he was head of the Stellar and Exoplanets Astrophysics Laboratory, as a member of the CAB, and later Director of the Hispano-German Astronomy Center observatory in Calar Alto for three years. His research interests focus on the properties of stars in open star clusters, as well as detecting and characterizing substellar objects and exoplanets. More generally he has specialized in studying the formation of stars and planetary systems using various observational techniques: from visible light to distant infrared, using images and spectroscopes, via both terrestrial and space telescopes. This observation work has seen him publish close to one hundred and fifty articles in prestigious scientific journals. He also combines his research with tireless outreach activities. With Spanish blog, Cuaderno de Bitacora Estelar (see http://www.madrimasd.org/blogs/astrofisica/) has a very large audience.

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