I am back!! So where to start on all the crazy things that have happened since January…
Well, I am now blogging from Sydney, Australia. Since March, I am a research astronomer at the AAO (which stands for Anglo-Australian Observatory, but from July 1st it will change to Australian Astronomical Observatory). With the offer for this position coming in mid January, I had to unfortunately pull the plug on the Marie-Curie fellowship in Lund, Sweden. So I immediately changed our plans. Flights to Sweden were canceled, school enrollments from my kids in Lund and childcare was canceled, stopped our bid for housing in Lund and instead our household goods were sent from Melbourne to Sydney. Then we needed to find accommodation, schools, childcare etc in Sydney within a matter of weeks.
It was a very very busy period the last month or so. The fact that I knew the Australian system and not having a language barrier helped alot. Although I was on my own with the kids for about 2 months getting them settled in schools and house hunting until my husband moved to Sydney. Finally we found a house, car, etc and life is (almost) back into a steady routine. And I got a restful break in Namibia – more on that in a future post.
I am really happy to get the position at AAO. The premises are small and in a bush surrounding which suites me well. I am also the Project Scientist of the HERMES instrument currently being built at the AAO. In summary, HERMES is a spectrograph to be commissioned on the AAT that will be able to provide high-resolution spectra of 400 stars at once. How cool is that!
One of the many tasks of being the project scientist is to supervise the design and performance of the instrument, to make sure we get the best possible outcome once we actually go online at the telescope. Its a new role for me, certainly challenging but even more so exciting. Its amazing the insight I have got just over the past 2months working with the engineers into the teamwork that goes in to getting a concept design on paper into an actual physical instrument. We wont have the final instrument for a couple of years yet, but now we are investigating what that instrument would be made up of, component by component. Did I say was excited about all this?
I will try to blog regularly from now on. Stay tuned for more 🙂