Cosmic Diary Logo

Meet the astronomers. See where they work. Know what they know.

The Project:

The Cosmic Diary is not just about astronomy. It's more about what it is like to be an astronomer.

The Cosmic Diary aims to put a human face on astronomy: professional scientists will blog in text and images about their lives, families, friends, hobbies and interests, as well as their work, their latest research findings and the challenges that face them. The bloggers represent a vibrant cross-section of female and male working astronomers from around the world, coming from five different continents. Outside the observatories, labs and offices they are musicians, mothers, photographers, athletes, amateur astronomers. At work, they are managers, observers, graduate students, grant proposers, instrument builders and data analysts.

Throughout this project, all the bloggers will be asked to explain one particular aspect of their work to the public. In a true exercise of science communication, these scientists will use easy-to-understand language to translate the nuts and bolts of their scientific research into a popular science article. This will be their challenge.

Task Group:

Mariana Barrosa (Portugal, ESO ePOD)
Nuno Marques (Portugal, Web Developer)
Lee Pullen (UK, Freelance Science Communicator)
André Roquette (Portugal, ESO ePOD)

Jack Oughton (UK, Freelance Science Communicator)
Alice Enevoldsen (USA, Pacific Science Center)
Alberto Krone Martins (Brazil, Uni. S. Paulo / Uni. Bordeaux)
Kevin Govender (South Africa, S. A. A. O.)
Avivah Yamani (Indonesia, Rigel Kentaurus)
Henri Boffin (Belgium, ESO ePOD)

Sun September 19, 10
Caput Draconis in Virgo. Do you know what that is?
Back from a fast dinner. I have seen a few of the workshop participants. But this short post is about something else, still connected to astronomy (or should I write astrology?), though. I am reading “The Lost Symbol“, by Dan Brown. Interesting, although it shares many of the features already seen in Angels & Demons [...]
posted at Sun September 19, 10 by ESO's blog - Nando Patat | RSS
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Exploding Stars in Leiden
Just arrived in Leiden. Tomorrow, at the Lorentz Center, an international workshop on Supernova explosions will start. It will focus on the progenitors of one specific class of SNe, called Type Ia. They became famous because of the implications they had on the acceleration of the universe. During the last few years, my collaborators and  [...]
posted at Sun September 19, 10 by ESO's blog - Nando Patat | RSS
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Fri September 10, 10
Adieu, WMAP
WMAP has left the building. A 20 minute thruster burn on 8 September 2010 sent WMAP out of L2 and into a heliocentric orbit. WMAP completed 9 years of CMB observing.
posted at Fri September 10, 10 by NASA's blog - Ned Wright | RSS
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Thu September 9, 10
I am “SETI-less” but not for long.
Last Friday (Aug. 27) I took a picture of my office located at the SETI Institute, Whismann Rd in Mountain View which is attached below. Obviously there is something wrong here, since I am not very known for having an aseptic office. My office is a reflection of my personality and my research. You will find several [...]
posted at Thu September 9, 10 by NASA's blog - Franck Marchis | RSS
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Wed September 8, 10
SETI REU students 2010 - This is the end.
Three weeks ago was the final week of  the SETI REU students. It was a busy time for all of us since they had to wrap-up their work, write their report, and give their final presentations.  Keaton Burns from UC Berkeley and Bill Freeman from LSU, who worked under my supervision in this program, did [...]
posted at Wed September 8, 10 by NASA's blog - Franck Marchis | RSS
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Thu September 2, 10
Good bye, Paranal
Everything, sooner or later, comes to an end. This is my last day on Paranal, and it is quite unusual. In fact, last night we started off with a very strong wind, coupled to an extreme humidity. The inversion layer was just crossing the top of Paranal, and dense clouds of vapor were passing through. [...]
posted at Thu September 2, 10 by ESO's blog - Nando Patat | RSS
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lukewarm WISE still finding NEOs
The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has run out of hydrogen in its secondary tank. This is the big one that kept the telescope cold. Now the telescope has warmed up to 45 K, and telescope emission has saturated the 22 micron band. But the 12 micron band is still working for [...]
posted at Thu September 2, 10 by NASA's blog - Ned Wright | RSS
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Wed September 1, 10
A walk into the desert
A view of the desert from Paranal’s residencia This is now the 8th night of this run at the Very Large Telescope. I have been observing at Kueyen, the second 8.2m unit telescope (UT2 for friends). At the moment it is equipped with three spectrographs, UVES, FLAMES, and X-Shooter. All nights where good, [...]
posted at Wed September 1, 10 by ESO's blog - Nando Patat | RSS
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Thu August 26, 10
We still have the 7 years old hoax here…
Ok.. August.. and it’s August 27th. The 7 years old hoax is back. During the week my readers keep asking about Mars get bigger as the Full Moon. and other questions are about earth will have 2 sun and the sundog phenomenon in China as 4 suns in earth.  Quite interesting to see how people [...]
posted at Thu August 26, 10 by Avivah Riyadi | RSS
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Since 2007, I mostly worked with online media to give information and education in astronomy. It’s alright for us if people use our article and share it to others. But recently, there is a blog call itself as “Indonesia Children News” took at least 21 articles from us in langitselatan and put a copyright to [...]
posted at Thu August 26, 10 by Avivah Riyadi | RSS
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Claire Alexandra Lee — South Africa
Claire Lee photo

Claire Lee, 26 years old
born in Johannesburg, South Africa

Place of work:
Physics Department, University of Johannesburg and CERN, Switzerland

Born and raised in South Africa, Claire has held a love for astronomy and physics since she was young. She is interested in particular in the relation between the two fields of particle physics and cosmology. She is currently working towards a PhD on the search for the Higgs boson with the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider.

Ana Inés Gomez De Castro — Spain
Ana In?s Gomez De Castro photo

Ana Inés Gomez De Castro, 46 years old
born in Vitoria, Spain

Place of work:
Fac. de CC. Matematicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Ana appreciates the importance of the public's understanding of science, and the realisation that astronomy is a world-wide endeavour. She is in an excellent position to promote cutting edge research, being coordinator of Hands-on Universe in Spain, part of a consortium creating a global education network. She also manages space telescope and ultraviolet astronomy projects.

Alberto Krone Martins — Brazil
Alberto Krone Martins photo

Alberto Krone Martins, 25 years old
born in São Paulo, Brazil

Place of work:
Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil / Observatoire de Bordeaux, Université de Bordeaux I, France

Alberto is a professional and amateur astronomer. He is an adept piano player and also a skilled computer programmer, both abilities he began learning as a child. In 2001 he got together with some like-minded friends and founded what is now one of the largest amateur astronomy institutions in Brazil.

Avivah Yamani Riyadi — Indonesia
Avivah Yamani Riyadi photo

Avivah Yamani Riyadi, 27 years old
born in Ambon, Indonesia

Place of work:
Rigel Kentaurus, Indonesia

Vivi is a writer and educator, with a keen interest in social science, philosophy, art, archaeology and history. She is involved extensively with astronomy communication to the public, enjoying the challenge of conveying complex ideas in an easy-to-understand manner.

Ryan Wyatt — USA
Ryan Wyatt photo

Ryan Wyatt, 39 years old
born in the USA

Place of work:
California Academy of Sciences
San Francisco, California

Ryan is a leading figure in the world of planetariums, having strong links with prominent American institutions. He is at the forefront of the science visualisation field, which seeks to make data accessible to a wide range of audiences. Ryan thinks of science as a human endeavour, motivated by the desire to ask questions and make sense of the Universe around us.

Tijana Prodanovic — Serbia
Tijana Prodanovic photo

Tijana Prodanovic, 29 years old
born in Novi Sad, Serbia

Place of work:
University of Novi Sad, Department of Physics, Novi Sad, Serbia

Tijana's interest in astronomy began at the tender age of ten. Since then she has pursued science as a career, obtaining a PhD in astrophysics. Finding new ways of communicating science to the public ranks highly in her list of interests.

Joana Ascenso — Portugal
Joana Ascenso photo

Joana Ascenso, 29 years old
born in Coimbra, Portugal

Place of work:
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics / Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

Joanna possesses impressive academic credentials, with experience in physics, mathematics and astronomy. She has worked as an explainer in planetariums and is involved in a social project centred on the diffusion of free software in schools.

Aude Alapini — Benin / Belgium
Aude Alapini photo

Aude Alapini, 24 years old
born in Cotonou, Benin

Place of work:
School of Physics - University of Exeter
Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom

Half Beninese, half Belgian, Aude jumps at any chance to share her experiences with other people. And she has lots to discuss, having studied for many years in both France and the United Kingdom. Her specialty is astrophysics, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in the subject.

David Barrado Navascues — Spain
David Barrado Navascues photo

David Barrado Navascues, 39 years old
born in Madrid, Spain

Place of work: Laboratorio de Astrofisica Espacial y Fisica Fundamental (LAEFF-INTA), European Space Astronomy Centre, Madrid, Spain

A researcher at the Spanish Space Agency, David has published over 70 scientific papers and has used many of the world's most powerful telescopes. He believes that outreach activities help the public understand how important science is.

Emanuel Sungging Mumpuni — Indonesia
Emanuel Sungging Mumpuni photo

Emanuel Sungging Mumpuni, 35 years old
born in Jakarta, Indonesia

Place of work:
Indonesian Institute of Aeronautics and Space, Solar Physics Division, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia

Emanuel grew up in impoverished area of Jakarta. He went on to study at the Bandung Institute of Technology, majoring astronomy and then work for the Indonesian Institute of Aeronautics. Due to his background he cares deeply about poverty, and public awareness of science in the country.

Saskia Hekker — The Netherlands
Saskia Hekker photo

Saskia Hekker, 30 years old
born in Heeze, The Netherlands

Place of work:
Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium

Born in a small village in the Netherlands, Saskia enjoyed a wonderful childhood before studying applied physics at the Delft University of Technology. She really enjoyed organising the freshman activities for 2000 students!

K. Yavuz Eksi — Turkey
K. Yavuz Eksi photo

K.Yavuz Eksi, 36 years old
born in Istanbul, Turkey

Place of work:
Istanbul Technical University, Turkey

Currently working at the Istanbul Technical University, Yavuz is experienced in the fields of physics and electrical engineering. He is fascinated by the idea that our Universe is constantly changing and evolving. He is married and has one son.

Assaf Horesh — Israel
Assaf Horesh photo

Assaf Horesh, 31 years old
born in Tel-Aviv, Israel

Place of work:
Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Born on Israel's 28th Independence Day, Assaf's first love was aviation, but later he became interested in science and astronomy. He also loves to see the world, and travels whenever he has the chance. Assaf is a firm supporter of science outreach, believing that a broad education is the foundation of making a better society.

Athena Coustenis — Greece/France
Athena Coustenis photo

Athena Coustenis, 48 years old
born in Athens, Greece (French citizenship, living and working in France)

Place of work:
Paris-Meudon Observatory, Meudon, France

Born in Athens, Athena has been living in France for the past 25 years or so and works as a permanent CNRS Researcher at the Paris-Meudon Observatory, in the Space Lab LESIA. She is heavily involved in the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan, and has used a variety of large telescopes to conduct planetary investigations on outer planet systems and exoplanets.

Brother Guy Consolmagno — Vatican City State
Brother Guy Consolmagno photo

Brother Guy Consolmagno, 55 years old
born in Detroit, Michigan, Vatican City State

Place of work:
Specola Vaticana, Castel Gandolfo, Vatican City State

Brother Guy Consolmagno is the curator of meteorites at the Vatican Observatory. He has an extensive academic background and has written more than 100 scientific publications alongside numerous books.

Arbab Ibrahim Arbab — Sudan
Arbab Ibrahim Arbab photo

Arbab Ibrahim Arbab, 44 years old
born in Omdurman, Sudan

Place of work:
University of Khartoum, Sudan

Sudanese Arbab has pioneered work into the Earth-Moon system. He applies quantum mechanics to cosmic systems, often with surprising results! He is co-founder of the African Physical Review and works with ten international journals.

Jean Creighton — Canada
Jean Creighton photo

Jean Creighton, 40 years old
born in Toronto, Canada

Place of work:
Manfred Olson Planetarium at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Having always lived in large cities where lights drown out the stars, Jean soon learnt to appreciate the power of planetariums. Using them to observe the night sky she was inspired to pursue astronomy despite her school careers councillor claiming that her eyesight would never be good enough! As well as astronomy, Jean loves cooking and singing, and participates in a triathlon every year.

Håkon Dahle — Norway
Hakon Dahle photo

Håkon Dahle, 37 years old
born in Oslo, Norway

Place of work:
Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics
University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Growing up in Olso, Norway, Håkon was the youngest of three brothers. He became an active astronomer at the age of 11, and later went on to study astronomy at university. He finds talking about science with non-experts both intellectually stimulating and rewarding. His amateur as well as professional astronomy credentials mean that he is never short of interesting information to share!

John Hearnshaw — New Zealand
John Hearnshaw photo

John Hearnshaw, 61 years old
born in Wellington, New Zealand

Place of work:
University of Canterbury (Dept of Physics and Astronomy and
Mt John Observatory), Christchurch, New Zealand

John is a natural communicator. He has made a successful career out of both scientific research and education, working as an observatory director, lecturer and author. His passion for astronomy is undeniable, and his expertise are greatly valued by all who work with him. John certainly has interesting stories to tell!

Alan Hale — USA
Alan Hale photo

Alan Hale, 50 years old
born in Tachikawa, Japan

Place of work:
Earthrise Institute, Cloudcroft, New Mexico

Alan is probably best known as being the co-discoverer of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1995. He is founder of the independent research and educational organisation, Earthrise Institute. In addition to its research and educational activities, Earthrise's mission includes the utilisation of astronomy and space as a tool for building bridges between different nations and cultures.

Sotira Trifourki — United Kingdom
Sotira Trifourki photo

Sotira Trifourki, 31 years old
born in Manchester, United Kingdom

Place of work:
The Greater Manchester STEM Centre,
University of Salford

When Sotira, aged six and a half, saw the film E.T., she was completely terrified! But as luck would have it, that prompted her to uncover the mysteries of the Universe. Sotifa's mission is to demystify the stereotypical view of scientists in lab coats, and to inspire people to believe in their dreams.

Rogel Sese — Philippines
Rogel Sese photo

Rogel Sese
born in Los Banos, Philippines

Rogel was born and raised in Los Banos, a university town 60 km south of Manila, Philippines. Having been exposed to an academic environment at a young age, he learned a lot about science from his parents and the surrounding community. After graduating, Rogel spent several years teaching at the university, whilst furthering his studies. He always keenly encourages people to pursue careers in astronomy and astrophysics.

Tetsu Fuse — Japan
Tetsu Fuse photo

Tetsu Fuse, 38 years old
born in Yokohama, Japan

Place of work:
Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

An illustrated book about astronomy, which was given to Tetsu from his parents when he was six years old, inspired him to become an astronomer and research the Solar System. He still has this book in his office. Tetsu's Cosmic Diary blog might make other people become crazy about the Universe, too!

Stefan Uttenthaler — Austria
Stefan Uttenthaler photo

Stefan Uttenthaler, 30 years old
born in Haag am Hausruck, Austria

Place of work:
Instituut voor Sterrenkunde

Stefan was born and raised in Austria, and moved at the age of 18 to study physics and astronomy at the University of Vienna. This was the start of intensive science education, culminating in his PhD thesis in 2007. He also worked for several years at a public observatory in Vienna, giving talks and stargazing tours.

Catherine Tryfona — United Kingdom
Catherine Tryfona photo

Catherine Tryfona, 33 years old
born in United Kingdom

Place of work:
University of Glamorgan & Cardiff University

Catherine is a planetary science lecturer at the University of Glamorgan and works in astronomy outreach programmes. Since an early age she's loved anything space-related and can't believe her luck that she gets paid to have people listen to her talk about her favourite subject - astronomy, something her family have had to endure since she was quite small!

Arif Solmaz — Turkey
Arif Solmaz photo

Arif Solmaz, 25 years old
born in Mersin,Turkey

Place of work:
Canakkale University Astrophysics Research Centre & Ulupinar Observatory

Arif is a Space Sciences and Technologies graduate student at Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University (in short COMU) in TURKEY.

Shashikiran Ganesh — India
Shashikiran Ganesh photo

Shashikiran Ganesh, 38 years old
born in Mandya, Karnataka, India

Place of work:
Physical Research Laboratory

Shashikiran Ganesh is a scientist in the Astronomy & Astrophysics Division at the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), India. Apart from astronomy his other interests are nature photography (landscape and macro shots), and making scale models.