Tuesday 17 November 2009

Astronomical Expenses

I phoned the JCU Centre for Astronomy again today to check that I'd mailed my MAstron application form to the correct address and had included all the required documentation. I didn't want to wait until next January to find out that my application was incomplete or had not arrived at all! I wasn't sure that everything was OK because the instructions printed on the 'one size fits all' post-grad application form had been different to the information provided on the Centre for Astronomy website. After putting me on hold for a while they were able to confirm that everything was in order and my application had, apparently, just been 'signed off' by the Dean. A letter of offer should be mailed out to me in the next week or two. When it arrives I'll then have two weeks to accept the offer, send in certified copies of my uni transcripts and pay the 2010 fees.

I haven't been able to find the originals of my uni transcripts (I think I mis-filed last time I took them our to make copies), so I had to phone UTS, UWS and CSU unis to order certified transcripts from each institution (total cost $65).

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Since applying for the MAstron course I've been browsing through online journals to find out what the 'hot' research topics currently are and checked out the publication lists of the JCU staff. I also browsed through the online catalogues of various US-based telescope retailers, and ended up ordering a Meade Pro II CCD digital camera ($499) to use with my Meade 10" SC telescope. I also ordered a Coronado PST Solar Telescope ($999) for viewing prominences, active regions, filaments, and other surface details of the sun (it has a 'Double Stack' H-Alpha system that provides a bandpass of <0.5 Angstrom) - unfortunately there is a six month wait due to a production back-log.

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