Touchdown in Germany

A few days ago I arrived in Germany to begin three months working on a science communication internship for the ESO/ESA/ST-ECF Hubble Europe Information Centre (HEIC) in Garching near Munich. The centre is located about 2km from Garching and is about an hour and a half from the Bavarian Alps. HEIC is part of the ESO headquarters here (alongside the Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics) and is the central production hub for all media/press information and science communication literature and media, from Europe, about Hubble.

Each month our group sends out news and photo releases, vodcasts and much more about Hubble’s latest discoveries. They also manage outreach and public affairs for a number of other astronomical organizations and projects such as the IYA 2009.

Yesterday was my first day working in the offices here and I enjoyed it hugely! My job here is as a science writer so my main responsibilities lie in writing news and photo releases for the press, editing other releases and scripting the Hubblecast, ESA’s vodcast about recent Hubble results. I am also editing part of the Hubble website, helping to update sections with the latest science results. The pace of the work makes for a really exciting day. I started work at 9am and by 10am was doing my first teleconference with a scientist in Spain whose research I was writing a photo release on. The image we are working on is incredible and I will show everyone on this site once it is released (and the embargo is lifted) sometime in the coming weeks.

Within our offices there are graphic designers, science writers, web developers and others working on cool projects that the HEIC teams are related to. The team also consists of many other people who work on Hubble outreach and science communication projects, these include the people who turn data into amazing images. One of the coolest things to see is how the image you see on the news or in astronomy magazines goes from the raw Hubble data to these stunning pictures we’ve come to know and love. I think I’ll devote another whole post to that process later. It is quite something to see a fresh image which only the scientists working on and the people in the HEIC office have seen!

For now though why not go and watch the latest version of the Hubblecast here?

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