An inexplicable pickup…

Hello all. I apologize it’s been a crazy long time since my last post. I actually came back to the blog a few weeks ago and realized that there has been a huge explosion of traffic on here. I had no idea why, but in the last four months, the number of views for this blog has nearly doubled what it had the entire first two years of its existence. I wish I knew what changed…

Anyways, a lot has been going on, so this post is going to attempt to catch you up.

In my last update, I was informing the world that Dr. Alex Fillipenko from UC-Berkeley was going to be speaking at the 2012 New England Fall Astronomy Festival at the UNH Observatory. Well he came and delivered his talk to a standing-room-only crowd of over 300 people. It was a great talk and he spent over an hour fielding questions from the audience afterwards. Then he came down to the Observatory and took a look through our telescope. He’s a really nice, humble, and funny guy.

Dr. Alex Fillipenko and I outside the UNH Observatory at the 2012 New England Fall Astronomy Festival.

Dr. Alex Fillipenko and I outside the UNH Observatory at the 2012 New England Fall Astronomy Festival.

Since then I’ve been busily working on research. Just yesterday I finally submitted a paper to the Journal of Geophysical Research; a paper that I’ve been working on since my rocket launch last February. The paper talks about observations that a rocket (a different one from the one we launched in February) of a phenomenon in the ionosphere (the uppermost layer of the atmosphere) called the ionospheric feedback instability. The paper gets sort of technical, but the easy explanation is that we had a model of what we thought the rocket would see, but the rocket saw something slightly different, so we came up with a new model that seems to agree better with the observations. Hopefully it will fly through the review process and be published very soon.

You may remember that over the summer I chronicled my two months as an intern at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Apparently, based on the work I did during that internship, I was nominated and selected to become a NASA Student Ambassador. I’m not necessarily 100% sure what being part of Cohort V (the fifth class of Student Ambassadors) entails, but they only select about 100 out of the thousands of interns that NASA has throughout the year, so I guess it’s sort of a big deal. In any case, they say I’ll get a name badge! (Always cool having your name next to the NASA logo…when you didn’t put it there yourself.) According to the welcome/acceptance letter I got, I think the position requires that I represent NASA when necessary: apparently this can include going to career/internship fairs, giving talks to students and the public, and or accompanying an astronaut to public events. I may even get to go to special NASA events, so that’s pretty awesome!

So yeah, that’s what’s been going on here, be sure to keep visiting for more posts about science and NASA and all the cool things that are going on in grad school. But before I go, I’ll leave you with some pictures from the NASA booth at this year’s American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

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