I’m back

August 6, 2010

Back from where?

Back from a 10-day trip to Uruguay for a conference.

Back from 10 days of very intense summer teaching before that.

Most of all, back from the summer doldrums. Like all of my interests, astronomy is not something that I pursue 365 days a year. From the very beginning I have kept an observing log, and looking back over it there are some pretty big holes. These usually fall at the ‘poles’ of the year–December is usually a fallow period, and I often find myself occupied with other things during the summer months. But I always come back, too, when the phases of the moon or the progress of the Earth around the sun bring something particularly lovely into view, or when I am overtaken by a random wave of enthusiasm (hat tip to Mike for that useful phrase), or when I get the chance to go someplace where the observing is particularly good.

The last case is the most relevant here. I went to Uruguay to present a paper on dinosaurs and whales at the 9th International Congress on Vertebrate Morphology. A strong secondary draw was the opportunity to see the southern skies. This was my first trip to the southern hemisphere and I don’t know when or if I’ll ever go back, so I was determined to make the most of it. That’s why, months ago, I put together the Concordiem Australis to give me a big observing list when I got down there.

It worked. But that’s a story for another post. For now…I’m back.

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