MagAO-X 2020A Stay At Home Day 2: The city looks pretty when you’ve been indoors

Greetings from the home office! I’ve always been a fan of using my laptop to run my computations on other computers in the lab or data center, so you’d think this MagAO-X Stay At Home run would be mean standard operations for me. Unfortunately, while I’m rarely at my desk in my office, I’m not usually at home. (And I miss my favorite coffee shop terribly. 😭)

Still, it’s been nice to spend some quality time with the cat. We don’t normally spend mornings together, so there was a bit of adjustment when I tried to use my desk and interfered with his morning sun-bathing.

Cat in a sunbeam on a carpet in a house

I have been occupying myself by building some software for generating synthetic photometry. Photometry is the surprisingly subtle art of quantifying how bright a star or planet is, and synthetic photometry quantifies how bright a body could be given a model. It turns out the system of squinting at the sky and saying “gee, that’s pretty darn bright” only worked for the first few thousand years of astronomy.

(Now we say “Well, you know how bright that one star is? It’s, like, way dimmer than that.”)

This is important for the interpretation of high contrast imaging data of exoplanets, as what we measure (brightness) and what we care about (planet mass, or minimum detectable mass if no planet is found) are only related through these models.

“That’s cool about the planets, but can we get more cat content?” I hear you say.

Fear not, dear reader. Today is Friday, which means we held the XWCL group meeting over video chat. We gave April Fool’s Day a miss for this year, but we still wanted to annoy our fearless leader.

Four thumbnails headshots from a videoconference. Three have a cat superimposed on their head, while the one at upper right has an actual cat on his head.

Since we have limited opportunities to bother Jared with, say, unwanted realizations of his face on canvas (in the style of the renaissance masters), we resorted to silly Snap Camera lenses. We decided “Cat on Head” was the way to go, but he one-upped us with an actual orange cat on his actual head.

This is why he makes the big bucks, while we are lowly students.

Your song of the day is “City Looks Pretty” by drone-y Aussie Courtney Barnett.

Sometimes I get sad
It’s not all that bad
One day, maybe never
I’ll come around