dotAstronomy Day 1: Citizen Science

dotAstronomy Day 1: Citizen Science

Here at dotAstronomy, each day of the conference is dedicated to a different topic: Citizen Science, Web-based Research, Visualization, and Outreach. Each topic is tangled with new media and web 2.0 technologies, and by the end of the week we hope to have made the web a little bit richer to explore. Here on day 1, we’re starting in on what is perhaps the most overarching theme: Citizen Science. At its most fundamental level, citizen science is the act of every day people making contributions to science that produce a new understanding of the topic at hand: this is real research by real people. In astronomy, variable star observations are perhaps the oldest form of citizen science. For almost 100 years the American Association of Variable Star Observers...

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dotAstronomy Day 1: Join us on UStream!

dotAstronomy Day 1: Join us on UStream!

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dotAstronomy: PreConference Post

dotAstronomy: PreConference Post

Another day, another conference. This year I’ve flown nearly ninety-thousand miles as I’ve chased conferences and collaboration meetings and colleagues around the globe. Today I’m a quarter turn away from yesterday, transported from Edwardsville, Illinois, USA to Leiden, Holland, the Netherlands. My passport, unused until March of 2008, now only has 2 pages left. It will be replaced in April, but it has two more trips to go: Italy for the IYA closing ceremony and than South Africa to discuss the future at the Communicating Astronomy to the Public meeting. For now though, I am in Leiden, in my hotel room just sitting for a moment, stealing a moment to write before I’m swept away by activity. I’m here to attend the dotAstronomy...

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NASA Tweetup for STS-129: Postscript

NASA Tweetup for STS-129: Postscript

It feels like a lifetime has passed since the Shuttle Launch, but I need to finish telling that story before I can move onto something new. That November the shuttle Atlantis launched flawlessly. It is all a mosaic of moments: the shuttle astronauts drove past and waved; we all piled out for a group picture; speakers came and went and media came and went and we listened and we didn’t and we were interviewed and we laughed. I paused in the middle to record Astronomy Cast – a 10 minute bit for 365 Days of Astronomy actually – and I paused in the middle to work on a grant. There is no escape from real life even when you stand at the edge of the looking glass. At about 2:15pm we went out and staked out our places in the grass. We fussed with cameras...

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NASA Tweetup for STS-129: Day 2

NASA Tweetup for STS-129: Day 2

We’re here. We’re actually here. It is launch day for STS-129, the next to last launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. We settled into our seats at T-3 hours and holding, waiting for the crew to head out the vehicle and load up and get locked in (a new meaning for load & lock?) It is a fair day here in Cape Canaveral, with partial clouds, 4-5 ft seas, and low wind. Chances of launch are currently 70%, but in this room of 101 people from 21 US states, and 4 additional nations (Morocco, New Zealand, UK, and Canada), we are going to keep on believing this-is-happening-right-now until someone makes us stop. As a little girl, one of my earliest memories is watching the shuttle contrails from landings at Edwards Air Force base. From our California home,...

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