Video: Problems with Academia

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This wasn't the video I wanted to shoot. I had planned to talk about workflow and writing, but instead I spent the day saddened and outraged by what happened to a colleague...

What follows are some thoughts for them, and about systemic problems of racism and equity in academia we must address. Further, as a person who has been privileged, fortunate, and blessed beyond anything that is reasonable in this life, I have a moral duty to be an agent of this change.

Coffee Time: David Hogg

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Another edition of "Coffee Time" on my Astro Vlog!

This time we're taking a few minutes out of the Sprint in NYC to talk with David Hogg about Hack/Sprint Weeks, the future of astronomy, and the upcoming Gaia Sprint in June.

Hogg traces these events back to .Astronomy, an "unconference" focused on Astronomy and the web. I attended "Dot Astro" 6 in Chicago in 2014, and it was an exciting meeting full of quickly made projects, long discussions, new ideas... For anyone in astronomy interested in how we communicate and interact on the web, I would honestly recommend attending a .Astro meeting!

I think these Hack/Sprint events are a major change for our field, which is why I continue to attend the AAS Hack Together Day, and these Sprints. Projects I typically work on are well thought out (i.e. leading directly to a paper/result), and can take months (or years!) to complete. Most importantly for me, these hack/sprint events provide a time and space to exercise a different mode of working on science: to speculate, experiment in new domains, learn quick, and fail fast.

As Hogg points out in the video below, for many meetings/conferences the "best" parts are the coffee breaks (or dinners, drinks, hallway chance encounters, etc). Science is a human endeavor, and when we spend the time and money to gather I believe we should maximize the human interaction.

Thanks to the Simons Foundation for hosting at Math for America and the Flatiron Institute. It was a great week full of productive hacks, new ideas, and has me even more excited for the upcoming TESS launch!!

Science and a NYC Snow Storm!

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Two days of hacking/coding/sprinting at the Sprint in NYC! The weather in New York City turned from sunny and beautiful to sorta snowy. Similarly, my project ideas went from well defined to vague and unfocused -- and then back again! Best for me: great break-out sessions and conversations with people.

I didn't vlog the whole TESS Sprint, but this video covers two days and shows the highs and lows of my time at the meeting. The meeting was a huge success (wrap-up slides here). I had some good science results, learned some new tools, fixed/improved some old ones, and am even more excited for TESS!

In other news, I'm hoping to get to attend the TESS launch next month! If that works out, I'll definitely be vlogging it.

Video: Traveling to NYC for the TESS Sprint

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A short vlog, including a red-eye flight from Seattle to NYC, and the beginning of the Sprint!

This week I'll be working on flares, musing about "Boyajian's Star", tinkering with images from Kepler/K2.

In other news, NASA has published an official release about the #WaveAtKepler image! (featured in a previous vlog episode, and my Medium writeup here). Very cool!

Coffee Time: Meredith Rawls

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Last week I grabbed coffee with a good friend, and fellow UW Astronomer, Meredith Rawls! We talked about open source software, learning to code, LSST, and our hopes for the future.

Also I drank some great coffee at my favorite Seattle cafe (Solstice!)

Check it out, and be sure to subscribe!

Kepler's Selfie from Outer Space

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Yesterday I received a picture that I've been waiting for over 2 years to see! I posted a longer article about this image in late November, but in short: as part of the normal operations for the Kepler space telescope's "K2" mission, the Earth was going to be in the field of view for a few days in January! Erin Ryan and I petitioned NASA (i.e. wrote an observing proposal) for them to capture this moment as an iconic image that symbolizes the entire Kepler mission. Though we weren't funded, NASA agreed to take the image!

For you data nerds out there, you can play with this image too. Warning: the entire image is over 400mb (it's a monster digital camera), and it's still in a very raw form. The Kepler GO office put a smaller file up here, which only contains the channel with the Earth on it, and Geert Barentsen tweeted how to make your own version of the image in Python!

I have a TON more to say about this image, what it means to me personally, why it's technically interesting, and why I think it's valuable... but for now, here's another installment of my Astro Vlog featuring the Kepler Selfie:

If you're digging these videos showing life as an astronomer, be sure to support me and subscribe on YouTube! I have a LOT of science trips planed this spring/summer, and am looking forward to bringing my camera (and you all) along for the ride.