My Astronomy

2012 - the year of Astronomy meetings
Published 4/20/2012 in Gayandhi de Silva Author gsilva
Its mid April 2012, and finally I have some time to write an entry. Again its been almost an year since my last post - so much for trying to make regular entries - the fact is there is so much going on in the life of an Astronomer + mother combined.¬†In this post I'll try give a glimpse of what has happened over the past year or so, and an outlook for 2012 - which seems to be riddled with meetings! One of the key things that happened last year was the formation of the GALAH survey and team. GALAH... read more ❯

WiA: Women in Astronomy
Published 5/16/2011 in Gayandhi de Silva Author gsilva
Last week I attended the WiA Workshop here in Sydney. The website is here. I found the workshop very good, even if I didn't get to attend it fully (because of issues related to being a mother)! Having missed the first talk, because I really had to be a parent helper at Year 1 Maths groups, I got there in time to hear the talk by Nicole McKenna from the National Foundation for Australian Women. The point that struck me most was the 'unconscious bias' against female achievers, by both genders. She mentioned a study where students were asked to comment... read more ❯

High Efficiency and Resolution Multi-Element Spectrograph
Published 3/2/2011 in Gayandhi de Silva Author gsilva
Ohh dear! Its only a few months short of being one whole year since I last posted...where did the time go? What was I doing all this time you ask? I think its fair to say I have been running between Heaven and Hell with¬†HERMES. :) I introduced my role as HERMES project scientist in the earlier post, but didn't get around to explain what it is and why we are doing it. HERMES stands for High Efficiency... read more ❯

Hello from Sydney
Published 5/4/2010 in Gayandhi de Silva Author gsilva
Hello all, 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... read more ❯

Published 10/27/2009 in Gayandhi de Silva Author gsilva
Yes, its finished. It my favorite word right now. Finished, complete, and I don't have to think about it anymore :) I am talking about a mammoth data set I had been fighting with in the past few years! (By the way, this is not my main work I talked of in the earlier posts of a group of stars related to the Hyades cluster. That work on chemical tagging the lost Hyades stars is not quite finished yet. Well I have the results for that as I said earlier. It is now in the process of being discussed with my... read more ❯

Unexpected work, but surprising results
Published 8/25/2009 in Gayandhi de Silva Author gsilva
The last few weeks I spent working on a new dataset given to me by a fellow colleague at ESO. It was an unexpected offer and I was initially unsure if I should take on the extra work which is being led by someone else (given the huge amount of work I already have on my own). Anyway I decided to take it up and it turnout to produce some very exciting results!! So putting aside all the on-going work I mentioned in the past posts in June and July, I dove straight into the new data. Of course it was... read more ❯

Busy as ever, but progressing...
Published 7/7/2009 in Gayandhi de Silva Author gsilva
Its been over a month since my last post. Nothing special going on, its just I am in the middle of the nitty gritty analysis part of the projects I mentioned in the last post. My preliminary results were encouraging, however once you start to dip deeper, we see the other effects which require even further investigations. Its frustrating right now to keep re-analysing and double/triple checking everything, but once I have done this I will have a sound and accurate result. So later if someone challenges my results I can say that I already checked! :) [caption id="attachment_112" align="alignleft" width="172"... read more ❯

Some preliminary results
Published 6/5/2009 in Gayandhi de Silva Author gsilva
I have been extremely busy the past couple of weeks. In an earlier post in April I said I will try to get a past data set studied and written up into a article in a few months. Well since that post, two months have passed and things have been moving along. I do have some "preliminary" results now, but still along way to go to finish up the project. These first results are encouraging. What I am studying are a bunch of stars that we think were born together in a cluster, but now have "left home" and are located... read more ❯

Start of P83
Published 4/2/2009 in Gayandhi de Silva Author gsilva
April 1st was the deadline for submission of observing proposals for ESO telescopes. I managed to submit my main proposal quite early on, the other collaborative ones were done last minute , while some new projects which looked like a good idea came to a halt once we started writing the proposals. That was when we realised that we havnt quite done enough background work before we can justify asking for time on the big telescopes...that happens! Even though we applied for new data, I have quite a lot of data already collected from various telescopes. They will get analysed at... read more ❯

Future Spectroscopic Surveys
Published 3/15/2009 in Gayandhi de Silva Author gsilva
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. One such mission which is scheduled to be launched by 2012 is Gaia: it is expected to collect spectra of about 1 billion stars within our Milky Way! This should give us plenty of... read more ❯