Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Slice of the Sun

Wow, has it really been nearly a month since I posted last? Part of the reason for this is that the project I've got for this post took me quite a while a do. Two years ago, on a whim, I decided to create a scale model of the earth's interior for myself, and posted it. I got a lot of positive responses to it, and this month I decided to undertake a similar project I've had in mind for some time: doing the same thing, but with the sun.

When I first looked up the sun to do research for this project, I noticed the serendipitous fact that the sun's radius is about 109 times larger than the earth's. This immediately suggested that I decrease the scale by a hundred times, so that one pixel would represent one hundred kilometers instead of a single one. Once again, I've broken the image up into pieces so Blogger would accept them (you can paste them back together seamlessly if you want to), and written most of my commentary in the body of the image itself. Anyway, without further ado, here it is:

I hope you found that as interesting a trip as I did. I'm sorry it took so long for me to get this out there; I was actually all ready to release it over a week ago, only to discover that I'd accidentally used the sun's radius as its diameter and made the whole thing half as large as it should be. Expanding it and finding more facts to fill up all the new space took some time, but I think it's been worth it. Anyway, now that's finally done I can move on to some other projects I have in mind. A hui hou!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Twenty months.

It's interesting to see what can happen in two years. Well, more like twenty months in my case. When I accepted the offer of my current job at the Joint Astronomy Centre (JAC) at the end of November 2012, this day, September 30, 2014, was as long as I was guaranteed employment due to the funding agencies in the UK and Canada ending their funding of the JAC to focus on other projects.

Thankfully, a lot can happen in twenty months. Funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in the UK, the majority funding partner, has been extended through January, when the East Asian Observatory (EAO) is poised to take over management of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope from the JAC as the JAC officially ends as an organization after three decades of astronomy on Mauna Kea.

I know there's a lot of acronyms for terms that I haven't necessarily discussed much before in those two paragraphs, for which I apologize. I haven't talked about the transfer process much because for much of it there were a lot of unknowns, such as whether it was actually going to happen or not, which meant that it was sort of hush-hush. The good news is that it's now virtually certain that it will happen, and as a result, I continue to have a job with the JAC through at least the end of the year, as well as a job with the EAO when the JAC finally comes to an end.

So yeah. A lot can happen in twenty months. Thankfully, I still have a job that I enjoy, and a continuation of that job even as the telescope I work for changes hands. At the very least, it'll be interesting to see where the next twenty months takes me.