Archive for the ‘comets’ Category

2009 in Review

DH and I got back from our Christmas vacation last night. It was nice to visit with family and friends, and it gave us some much needed time away from home. But, it’s definitely great to be back!

2009 has been one exciting year for us! There has been a number of big changes, with still more to come. Here is a review of the past year:

The Big 3-0: I turned 30 in March, and instead of being a scary or sad time, it was actually quite liberating!

Career direction: I (finally) decided what I want to do when I grow up. Education and outreach is my passion! Now I just need to find a job…

The PhD thesis: I spent much time worrying about my thesis defense (hence why it was the second most popular subject I blogged about in 2009), but got it done on July 20th!

Dream vacation: two weeks after finishing my PhD, DH and I went on a dream vacation to Brazil and Peru in August.

Comin’ out: after a year of blogging pseudonymously, I “came out” and now blog under my real name.

Published author: two papers from my PhD thesis were accepted and published in 2009.

Paper anniversary: DH and I celebrated our first year of marriage on September 13th.

Settling down: after much anguish and waiting, DH took a permanent position right here in London at the end of September. He got his first ever car too!

Comet: to commemorate my PhD, I got another tattoo in October.

Try, try again: DH and I started “trying” in the fall, and found out we were pregnant in mid-November. Unfortunately, we lost the pregnancy about 8.5 weeks in. Not a great way to end the year, but we hope 2010 will bring us more luck in this department.

Well, I think those were the major happenings in our lives over the past 12 months! It has been an amazingly crazy year, with many ups and downs, but we made it through and are excited to see what 2010 holds for us: a house? a job that I love? perhaps a baby? what else?

Happy 2010!!!


A while back I blogged about wanting to get a tattoo of a particular image (for some reason I can’t find the post – did I delete it for some reason?). Since it’s been a while since my last tattoo (about 6 years), I wanted to find something to commemorate finishing my PhD. A few months ago, as I was flipping through a book by Carl Sagan, I saw this image:

I immediately knew that comet was going to be my next tattoo. After my defense and our trip to South America, I made an appointment with a tattoo artist at True Love (so named, I believe, because the building used to be a drive-through chapel). She was happy that I knew exactly what I wanted, and after thinking of a few places where we could put it, she suggested the top of the foot, right under the toes. I immediately loved the idea, since the curvature of the comet matched the line of my toes.

I had to wait another month-and-a-half to actually get it (they are apparently really busy!). Here is the final product:

I absolutely love it!! I love the colors, the shape, the shading, and how it fits on my foot. I also love how it represents my PhD very well, without being overly “science-y”.

Funny enough, even though I have three other tattoos, I was nervous about how much it would hurt. But, as with the others, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. The only very pinch-y part was the head of the comet, which sits right on that bone below my big toe.

Am I done with tattoos now, with four? I’m not sure! I thought I was done at 1 and 3 (after 2 I knew I wanted another), so one can never tell 🙂

I’m not the only science blogger that got inked recently – who’s next?

Calming Down

So, I read that paper that I posted about yesterday – and it doesn’t make my thesis look like total garbage. They didn’t do a search for the object, so that means my mondo 11,000 object survey, where I derived upper limits, is still fine.

However, they did take spectroscopic observations of the comet and, even though it showed a distinct tail, they didn’t see any emission lines. This is worrisome for my (already not great) 3rd project, since the whole basis of it was to try to find emission lines (i.e., if object with obvious cometary activity doesn’t show emission lines, then objects that don’t show any activity probably won’t either). Oh well. I pretty much knew that project was a bust by this point anyway – but I still have to do the work and put it in my thesis.

As for paper #2, for those keeping track my goal was to have it submitted by March 1st. Since that’s Sunday, and I just received comments back from my supervisor this week, that’s not going to happen.

All is not lost, however – I’ve been working on my 3rd project and my thesis in the meantime. So, that will bring down the work load for later on. Plus, I scheduled 2 months for the reduction of the data from the 3rd project, and I doubt it will take even half of that time.

So, I hope to submit paper #2 by the end of March, pending any major changes. I’m right on track to hand in my thesis in July.

50th Post

I have decided to get another tattoo. I’ve been wanting one for a year or so now (I have three already), but I wasn’t sure what I wanted.

Then, as I was reading Comet by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan (to help with my thesis introduction) I saw it:

An Aztec depiction of a bright comet seen by Montezuma II in the 1500’s (from Historia do las Indias de Nueva Espana by Diego Duran).

A variation of that comet is going to be wrapping around my inner ankle bone by the Fall.

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