On July 5th, I entered Small Hall and made an action plan with my research adviser, Professor Deconinck, in regards to the troubling news that the observatory dome is not quite yet operational, and likely will not be ready to use until after my investigations with asteroid lightcurves has concluded. We have a contingency in the Meade LX90 telescope that Prof. Deconinck brought in, although its 8 inch aperture limits the size of the asteroids that I can view. Therefore, instead of viewing asteroids which have few to no lightcurves previously made of their rotations I will add to the data collected on larger minor planets, such as Ceres. This is useful information to the international scientific community since it helps to identify and quantify the error involved with using the Minor Planet Observatory Canopus software.
Two hours ago, I was moving boxes into my dorm room, and now I’m writing this entry at my new desk. Still, I’m having trouble believing that the summer is almost over! Before classes start, I have some finishing touches to put on the substance of my paper, then I’ll take a break for a few days to start the semester. At some point soon, I also need to adapt my paper into a script for the research showcase!
The summer of the 2013 Virginia governor’s election has been eventful, if not policy oriented. Democrat Terry McAuliffe began the summer trying to appeal to moderates in the business community, while Republican Ken Cuccinelli has focused on exciting his base with a convention. That said, the majority of June and July have been dominated by various controversies, from the SEC investigation of McAuliffe’s company Greentech to Cuccinelli’s association with Star Scientific. But perhaps the most interesting thing so far on the campaign is how each candidate is ending the summer and preparing for the homestretch.
Call it the summer of scandal. The sitting governor of Virginia is under federal investigation for having received over $100,000 in gifts from Star Scientific C.E.O. Johnnie Williams. The Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli has also received $18,000 in gifts and trips from the same executive. In addition, a company formerly led by the Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. This is important to the main focus of my research, as the messages of both candidates are being drowned out by these stories, and risk turning this race into one in which the issues are only an afterthought.