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Blogs by Center for Exoplanet & Habitable World Members

Habitable Zone Planet Finder Team

  • The Camera of HPF
    Introduction: Spectrometer Cameras A spectrometer, as the name implies, records a ‘spectrum’ of an object. This spectrum, in its most basic form, is just a series of images of the instrument entrance aperture (whether it be a star, slit, optical … Continue reading →
  • Stellar Activity in the Near-Infrared: We Need a New Ruler!
    Introduction We talk about stellar activity a lot on this blog.  Once HPF gets on sky, radial velocity noise from stellar activity will likely be the biggest impediment to finding exoplanets.  Thus, if we want HPF’s chief scientific mission of … Continue reading →
  • The Plot Thickens: Habitable-Zone Exoplanets around Proxima Centauri and TRAPPIST-1
    Introduction As the time approaches to commission HPF on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, we are learning that the spectrograph will be coming online in truly exciting times for exoplanet science!  The detection of habitable-zone exoplanets around two nearby M dwarf stars—including … Continue reading →
  • NEID, HPF’s sister spectrograph
    Recently, the HPF team was selected to build the NEID spectrograph, the next generation spectrograph for the 3.5m WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, located on the Tohono O’odham reservation in Arizona. The word neid means ‘to see’ in the language of the Tohono … Continue reading →
  • The HPF cryostat test drive: sub-milliKelvin temperature stability
    Background: the need to cool HPF down to 180K One of the most frequently discussed topics on this blog has been the need to enclose the HPF instrument in a stable, cold environment.  Because HPF will observe stars in infrared … Continue reading →

NEID Spectrograph Team

  • Under Construction Already!
    It has been a busy summer for NEID and its team.  Now that the project has officially started, there are many tasks that must be done in a short amount of time.  Plans must be made, parts must be ordered, … Continue reading →
  • NEID Featured on the Many Worlds Blog
    As part of NASA’s Nexus for Exoplanet Systems Science (NExSS), science journalist Marc Kaufman documents new and interesting research related to NASA’s various exoplanet science programs on the Many Worlds blog.  His latest post features NEID, and its role in … Continue reading →
  • NEID: The Introduction
    Welcome to NEID!  Here, we will document the development and deployment of a new high resolution planet-finding spectrograph that will be installed in 2019 on the 3.5-meter WIYN Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. This instrument will … Continue reading →

Jason Wright: AstroWright

  • On Outré Ideas
    David Stevenson has a nice Commentary in Physics Today: http://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/PT.3.3507 He argues in defense of “crazy” ideas in science. He categorized three kind of “crazy”: The First Kind is simple crackpottery: people who don’t know enough science to articulate a real scientific idea, and do not understand its interconnectedness well enough to distinguish outré ideas […]
  • Przybylski’s Star V: Origins of the Idea
    Part V/III.  Part I is here. The earliest reference I cited to the idea of artificial species in stars was from Howard Bond, who said he thought Shklovski & Sagan dealt with it in their book.  I finally got my hands on a an early edition. It looks like Frank Drake and Iosif Shklovskii were […]
  • When to Violate Confidentiality of Peer Review
    Peer-review is an important part of scientific communication. It is not a panacea and is quite fallible, but it serves several functions well: It gives journals a “filter” against unprofessional work (including crankery and its cousins) It gives authors and editors the opportunity to receive unfiltered feedback on how a paper will be received. The “unfiltered” part […]
  • Przybylski’s Star IV: Or…
    Part IV of III.  Part I is here. A coda: Howard Bond correctly points out that my three explanations are only necessary if a very plausible and less interesting explanation is wrong (a caveat that I had in an early draft of my posts but edited out unintentionally.) The identification of short-lived actinides could be a mistake! The Gopka et al. […]
  • Przybylski’s Star III: Neutron Stars, Unbinilium, and aliens
    Part I is here. Last time I promised three solutions to the problem of short-lived actinides in the atmosphere of Przybylski’s Star.  Here they are: 1) Neutron Stars In 2008, shortly after identifying the “impossible” elements in Przybylski’s Star, Gopka et al. proposed a solution: the star has a neutron star companion.  Neutron stars have strong […]

Steinn Sigurdsson: Dynamics of Cats

  • Why Fortran Lives
    Julia is a nifty new language being developed at MIT I stole this plot from github, it shows Julia’s current performance on some standard benchmarks compared to a number of favourite tools like Python, Java and R. Normalized to optimized C code. And, there, in a single plot, is why Real Programmers still use Fortran…!
  • Alternative Approaches to Science Teaching
    Just read a series of interesting articles on inquiry based science: Inquiry Science rocks: Or does it – David Klahr tries to test the efficacy of discovery learning (APS News 12. 2012). Direct Instruction rocks: Or does it – Richard Hake takes issue with Klahr’s inferences. To be contrasted with: The Efficacy of Student-Centered Instruction…
  • LHC: dilating the Higgs
    Continuing lazy live blog of the LHC Shows the Way workshop, with random interludes of alternative considerations, including the more esoteric aspects of German finance… Patio session (informal presentation of in-progress results on blackboard, outside) – didn’t catch speaker’s name, got here a couple of minutes late. Being reminded that Higgs is not the only…
  • AAS: scientism vs religiosity
    The annual AAS meeting opened up with the award of the van Biesbroeck Prize of the society to Father Dr George Coyne, former director of the Vatican Observatory. The van Biesbroeck Prize is for extraordinary service to astronomy, in particular his role organizing the Vatican Observatory Summer Schools, and the role he has played at…
  • Annual Meeting of the American Astronomical Society: 2010
    liveblogging the AAS… It is freezing in DC, but at the Marriott hotel across from the National Zoo the action is hot and heavy as 3000+ astronomers swarm to the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society. This is for the 7 astronomers who phoned it in, literally in one case, you know who you…

Kimberly Cartier: AstroLady 

  • On the Road to a PhD: Houston, we have a defense date!
    This blog post is part of a series I’m writing along the road to my dissertation. These posts represent my personal experiences centered around getting a PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics, and all views expressed within are my own. This is my story. It’s official. The cats have been herded, the votes have been tallied, […]
  • On the Road to a PhD: Thesis Committee Meetings
    This blog post is part of a series I’m writing along the road to my dissertation. These posts represent my personal experiences centered around getting a PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics, and all views expressed within are my own. This is my story. So, there’s a really important part of getting a PhD that I […]
  • On the Road to a PhD: I won…an award?
    This blog post is part of a series I’m writing along the road to my dissertation. These posts represent my personal experiences centered around getting a PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics, and all views expressed within are my own. This is my story. So…I guess I won an award. Huh. Cool! Back at the AAS229 […]
  • On the Road to a PhD: Graduation timeline…yikes!
    This blog post is part of a series I’m writing along the road to my dissertation. These posts represent my personal experiences centered around getting a PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics, and all views expressed within are my own. This is my story. So, I’ve known that I intended to graduate at the end of […]
  • On the Road to a PhD Blog Series
    Hello all! Thanks for joining me on my Road to a PhD…where I blog in semi-real time about the different stages I’m going through now that I’m officially cleared to graduate this year. It’s a lot like the stages of grief only not as grim and with a (hopefully) happy ending. Anyways, here’s a look […]

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