I started the new year on top of Kitt Peak, where my collaborators and I are beginning an ambitious new project. It was our first time using a wide-field camera that was built for Steward Observatory's 90-inch Bok telescope. In a single picture, we get to see an area of sky four times larger than the full moon. Here are some pictures taken by graduate student Richard Cool: Rosette Nebula and Messier 33, the "Pinwheel Galaxy".
Last night we weren't working due to clouds and 60 mile-per-hour winds. I had to leave the mountain, as I am leaving the warmth of the desert for the annual winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society. I left a capable grad student from the University of Texas, Mukremin Kilic, in charge of observing. Tonight has been pretty clear, and tomorrow should be crystal clear, so Mukremin should get some good pictures.
The American Astronomical Society meeting will be next week in Washington, D.C. Astronomers from across North America and beyond will converge on Washington to share their ongoing research, listen to talks from important astronomers and even the head of NASA, Michael Griffen. Several press releases on cool research results will also be made, so watch the papers for some exciting astronomy news! Of course, yours truly will pay attention and let you know what is going on.