Monday, December 04, 2006

Working against the clock

As an any profession, astronomy has its share of deadlines. One of the biggest deadlines are telescope proposals, where we request telescope time for the coming four or six months. For most ground-based telescopes, these are generally due in March and September (sometimes there is a third due date in the middle of summer, if an observatory works on a trimester system). For space-based telescopes, like the Hubble Space Telescope, these proposals are due once a year, typically in late January or early February.

I am applying for permanent jobs again this fall; many of those are due this time of year. I had four applications due on Friday and another one due this week, plus several more scattered between now and the end of January.

We also have deadlines when preparing to use the telescope. Some observations require metalsmiths to mill special masks with tiny slits wherever there is a star or galaxy we astronomers are interested in. These often take a month or more to make, and I have some due soon.

So, in short, I'm swamped and behind (as usual). So, if you don't hear much from me in the next few days, know that I am trying not to neglect you all.

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