Last two theses at UCN

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On May 1, 2012, I began working at Universidad de Antofagasta as the Director of the Unidad de Astronomía. Roughly 6 months earlier I marked  the last two undergraduate theses I directed at Universidad Católica del Norte, by Juan Pablo Colque and Paz Bluhm. Both took their time to write up their work but eventually they did very well. I never feel very comfortable when the marks are decided just by a bunch of people who all work at the same university and know each other very well, as this potentially leads to social biases in the scores. Also, I think that at this stage students should be up for a bit of a challenge, so having an external referee is positive at several levels. Following this philosophy, in the case of Juan Pablo I asked an ESO astronomer to be his referee. In the case of Paz I invited an astronomer from Universidad de Valparaíso to take this role. Both did a good work and passed their viva, successfully completing their first degree! Congrats to both!

Two new theses completed

Felipe Beiza (Licentiate thesis) and Penélope Longa-Peña (M.Sc. thesis) gave their vivas on December 10 and 17 respectively. Felipe studied the usability of our small observatory for variability studies of astronomical sources, while Penélope carried out Doppler tomography or three cataclysmic variables with little or no published information on indirect imaging. Congratulations to both of them! (More details here, in Spanish).

In mid-2010 Penélope will be off to UK to pursue Ph.D. studies in a related field. She was one of the people awarded with the Beca Chile in the 2009 call.

Paper on GD 552

Fiield around GD 552. Details on the paper.

My paper on GD 552 was finally published on MNRAS. It took ages but it is finally there… You can grab the final draft from astro-ph clicking here. The final version is just different with respect to style, but the results are the same.