SAM MORRELL


ASTROPHYSICIST

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Boldly Going for 50 Years

September 8, 2016

It’s very much not an overstatement to say that I adore Star Trek. Today is a very special for someone who claims this level of adoration for the franchise as it is exactly 50 years old today. Back on September 8th 1966 the first ever episode of Star Trek, The Man Trap, hit the screens...

Talking ‘Big Data in Astronomy’ with Digital Taunton

July 13, 2019

On 27th June I got the pleasure of going to Taunton to do a talk about the crossover between technology and astronomy at the 5th Digital Taunton meetup. The natural topic is of course the way modern astronomy has embraced the use of ‘big data’ datasets and techniques. When I first put the fledgling version...

We Discovered an FUor

December 20, 2018

We discovered a very rare kind of star – in fact there are only 25 stars of its type known to exist. The fact that we found it is amazing, but the way we found it was even more interesting. We caught it red handed during an FUor outburst – a period of intense flaring...

About Me

August 12, 2018

I am a postgraduate observational astrophysicist, currently working in the astrophysics group at the University of Exeter. Under the supervision of Professor Tim Naylor, my PhD project involves understanding fundamental parameters of low-mass stars. Previously, I completed an MPhys, also at the University of Exeter, studying the way that interstellar dust interact with light, an...

Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet: A tribute to Stephen Hawking

March 14, 2018

There are a couple of books I can honestly say inspired me to be an astronomer. In college, junior / senior year in high school for those in the USA, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do after I’d finished my A-levels. However, years of watching Star Trek and vivid memories of...

Web Development for Physicists

February 17, 2018

I’m fortunate enough to be sitting at the intersection of two disparate fields which are rapidly hurtling towards each other. More than ever, it’s becoming important to publicise you and your research, whether you’re in academia or in the private sector. Sooner or later, this is likely going to mean you’re going to requiring some...

XRT-C Dish Mounting Video is Finally Here!

February 8, 2018

This one has been a long time coming. The XRT-C project has likely seemed a little bit quiet of late, but never fear, as there’s always stuff going on in the background, even if it is only me. Ever since the build day in April 2016, I’ve been working on a video of the day...

Dealing with Blank Lines Comments in Fortran READs

September 4, 2017

Just a quick little programming snippet today. When preparing data files, it’s often useful to include headers and comments in them, especially in the more complicated ones. Most data applications that you might be loading data into, such as maybe Python or MATLAB, have plenty of ability to filter out those comments, but what if...

Bodmin Moor – International Dark Sky Landscape

August 26, 2017

Some time ago, in mid-November last year the XRT-C project, the student radio telescope project based at Caradon observatory in Cornwall, as well as Space Exe, the student society at the University of Exeter that maintains and runs the former, were called upon to play a small part in something truly special; to support an...

My Plans for the Apple Watch

August 24, 2017

I have traditionally been a fan of Apple stuff, but lately I’ve found myself becoming less and less enamoured with their current offerings. Whether it be the lacklustre MacBook Pro, with zero USB-A connectors and complete lack of an SD card slot, or the omission of a 3.5mm audio jack on the latest iPhones, they...

What I’ve Been Listening To – January 2017

February 1, 2017

Port Cities – On the Nights You Stay Home This is yet another group that convinces me that Canadians are great at music. Any indipendent artist supergroup of sorts, this the combination of 3 different solo acts in a glorious song writing, music producing partnership. If the chilled beat with well produced drums wasn’t enough,...

What I’ve Been Listening To – December 2016

January 17, 2017

Apologies for the tardiness of the post. I’ve been meaning to get it out for a couple of weeks, but unfortunately I’m pretty apt at procrastination. It’s certainly been a hell of year. What with the various questionable bits of politics, scandals, gates of all varieties and now the first year where the antarctic sea...