Monday, July 20, 2009

40 Years

This past century has marked the most revolutionary paradigm shift in astronomy since the 1600s. The Universe expands. Light curves. Man on the Moon. Pulsars. Radio Sources. Voids. Galaxy Formation. Dark Matter. Black Holes. Pluto saw it's rise and fall in one century (it was classified as a planet in the 1920's, then demoted ["plutoed"] in 2005). The Hubble constant, light years, galaxy neighborhoods, variable stars, dwarf stars, exoplanets, and many, many more. I could keep going but I shall refrain.
This is a golden age for astronomy, and it ain't over yet! There's still a lot coming. And trust me, it's going to get even better.
I remember when Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars. I was 14. I watched online (very closely!) for every bit of news. Where they landed, what they were doing. I remember downloading the first image of the Martian landscape. I got choked up and teary. I'm not kidding! I remember thinking, "I'm crying over some red dirt! This is SO COOL!"

O how loud
It calls devotion! genuine growth of night!
Devotion! daughter of Astronomy!

An undevout Astronomer is mad.

— Edward Young, 'Night Thoughts.'

Astronomers, like burglars and jazz musicians, operate best at night.

— Miles Kington, 'Welcome to Kington.'

From our home on Earth, we look out into the distances and strive to imagine the sort of world into which we were born. With increasing distance our knowledge fades until at the last dim horizon we search among ghostly errors for landmarks scarcely more substantial. The search will continue. The urge is older than history. It is not satisfied and it will not be suppressed.

— Edwin P. Hubble, 'Realm of the Nebulae,' 1936

Friday, July 17, 2009

To pass the time!

While I'm waiting for Nana to come home so that we may continue playing, I decided to do this thing I found on Michelle's blog. Please indulge me!

30 Pictures
#1) A Picture of you in your Room
Does it count that the front room used to be my room? :)

#2) A picture of you with someone you don't like
I guess I don't pictures of with people I don't like....

#3) A Picture of you very drunk
HahahaHaHAA. One of the 3100 dance parties. Don't worry, it's just sparkling cider. Still, it's very incriminating....

#4) A picture of you in a formal wear
Before a movie premier. I was wearing pearls! (I LOVE pearls...)

#5) A picture of you with make-up
In the act of putting it on!! Yes, I always make a pained face when make-up comes near.

#6) A picture of you when you didn't know it was being taken

#7) A picture of one of the best days/nights of your life
Last night as an RA. I lost count of how many rules we broke. :) Oh, my master key...

#8) A picture that describes how you'd like to spend each day
This day was divine and it ended with me and Jenna on a Ferris Wheel. The day was full of random, fun, crazy adventures, and I was still productive in school/work. That's how I'd spend every day.
#9) A picture that makes your heart happy
Dead family pose....AhaAHahahaHAHaha LOVING THIS!

#10) A picture that makes your heart sad
She's in the MTC now... it's been 2 days and I already miss her.

#11) A picture of when everything was changing
Beginning a new phase of life... this was right before college started.

#12) A picture of how you'd like the world to see you
A good astronomer, and one who loves all that she does. Happy.

#13) A picture of someone you love
The 4 of us. 9 years and counting!

#14) A picture of when you were a different person then you are now
Freshman year of college... good times, but a lot has happened since...
#15) A picture of when you were nothing but happy
Dresses! And brothers in dresses!!! What could be better??!?!?

#16) A picture of when you were anything but happy
Stewart and I fighting. That's always no bueno!

#17) A picture of time in your life that's over, and you're glad it is
Gag. Working with Emily in the office of death.

#18) A picture of a time in your life that's over, and you wish it wasn't
Being an RA changed me more than people think. What I wish wasn't over is being with my girls 24/7. They were all an absolute joy.

#19) A picture of you showing off a new haircut
Shana does wonderful things to my unruly hair. Loving this!

#20) A picture of you being absolutely ridiculous
Shana and I being absolutely ridiculous at Moab. This is the Lion King pose.

#21) The most recent picture of you
4th of July in Oakley, Ut... small town parades are the BEST!

Teaching other people about astronomy. How could this not be me?

#23) A picture of you eating something
Thanksgiving at ST2. Calista didn't want me to eat that crust...

#24) A picture of you making a goofy face at the camera
Girls Camp 2006. Being the president had its perks.... like walkie talkies, and priceless pictures.

#25) A picture of you in one of your favorite outfits
The Belle dress. Timeless.

#26) The youngest picture of you in digital form
I have hair here.... so I must be at least 2.

#27) A picture of you on your birthday/favorite holiday
Shannon's wedding/my 20th. She gave me a whole tier of the cake as a present! :)

#28) A picture of you outside
Outside my Apts. Who names apts this in PROVO?!?!?!

#29) A picture you couldn't leave out
Last summer, Seattle Washington. Good times, good friends.

#30) A picture of just you
Memorial Day hike on Mt. Aire

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I am sitting in PDX airport right now. I think that PDX is the prettiest and friendliest airport. I'll give Oregon that. I like that it's green, HUGE windows, carpeted, and not confusing.
SLC gets a C-.... I can't stand that airport.
Atlanta gets an A for entertainment, but a D for being confusing, underlit, and intimidating. But the people are friendly.
Seattle gets a B-. (Sorry Seattle friends!)
Thinking about ariports makes me wonder what I'll think of other airports I've not been to, but will soon experience. Frankfurt. Paris. London. Madrid.

5 weeks 1 day 20 hours.

Have you ever wondered why strangers don't reach out and talk to each other? I see a lot of people flying alone, sitting awkwardly next to each other, and not talking. In my experience most people I meet in the airport or on planes are fascinating. One time I even met a guy who told me about an internship at his buisness, which I applied for. I wonder if people have lost the art of conversation. If we only know how to talk to people we've known for a while. Has the whole "don't talk to strangers" mantra we learned as children become "don't talk to people. period."?
HA. What a paradox. We have the most capacity to communicate (EVER) and we don't actually talk.
I'm tired of looking at my computer screen. I think I'll talk to someone now.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Take 2

Ok, the last post was uber depressing. It happens. Grad School still weighs on my mind, but life moves on, and I am glad it does. I spoke once with a friend of mine about how he stayed so positive. This friend of mine went through trial after trial after trial.... I asked him, "how do you stay so upbeat?" To which he replied, "Well, you're sad for a while, but don't stay down for long." I heard that for the first time 2 years ago, and I'll never forget it. Don't stay down for long.
Anyway, life is GREAT! This past week I have had tons of adventures. I'll have to post 4th of July stuff later (sorry, I don't have my pictures on my computer yet!) but I have to talk about West Mountain!
West Mountain Observatory (WMO) is the observatory operated by BYU astronomy dept. It's like a little piece of heaven. I went there at the beginning of last week, and we got awesome data. It's so different to actually be in a place specifically set aside for astronomy research, as opposed to working with a telescope in the same building as all my classes. For the first time in a looooooong time I felt like a real astronomer again. I loved every second of it, even though I came back with more than 20 mosquito bites.

A little piece of heaven - WMO. Sunrise over Happy Valley. This pic doesn't do it justice.
The main dome, open, with la luna in the upper corner.
The 12in telescope. (Takes AMAZING data for such a little scope.)
Sunset over Utah Lake. Stunning.