Autumn has arrived, which means my working nights at Kitt Peak National Observatory will start getting longer until we reach the winter solstice just before Christmas. Autumn also heralds several other changes. Among them, I have a new supervisor and the National Science Foundation is no longer providing operational support for the 2.1-meter telescope. One upshot is that I’ve been looking at my schedule cadence with my co-workers. Here’s what that cadence looks like:
Basically, my shifts at the observatory follow a fifteen day cycle. There are three “Available” or “on-call” days. I don’t work all of those, and most of the time I’ve been on call to help astronomers start their observing runs at the 2.1-meter telescope. Then I work at the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope for three nights. After that I work at the Mayall 4-meter telescope for three nights, then I get six nights off, and the whole thing starts all over again. Because it’s fifteen days, my schedule drifts through the work week. If one cycle starts on Sunday, the next one will start on a Monday, and the one after that a Tuesday.
Right now, it doesn’t look very likely this cadence will change much. Perhaps the only change is that instead of supporting the 2.1-meter, I may be set up to work from home periodically on the never-ending task of telescope and instrumentation documentation. The reason it’s never ending is that we’re routinely getting new instrumentation and to keep the telescopes cutting edge, they are often modified and upgraded.
Of course, between writing, editing and astronomy, I don’t really get many days off. I get to go home and shift gears. This upcoming break is pretty exciting though. I’ll be shipping out volume 10, issue 1 of Tales of the Talisman Magazine to subscribers and contributors. Although we’re taking a break after this year, we’re not letting up on quality. This is our tenth year and we want to make it a special one!
As a reminder, there are only four more days on the Lachesis Publishing Anniversary sale. All ebooks are half price. This would be a great time to try my science fiction novel, The Solar Sea, which tells the story of the first solar sail voyage to the outer planets. My novel Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order, which tells how a group of vampires came together to form a team of mercenaries in the middle ages is also on sale.
Finally, on Saturday, October 4, I will be signing copies of Owl Dance, Lightning Wolves, Vampires of the Scarlet Order, and Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order at COAS Books Downtown in Las Cruces, New Mexico from 10am until noon. If you’re in town, I hope you’ll drop by!