Mercury is in Retrograde

by Celine D.

A couple weeks ago, Dr. Virani informed us that the Babylonians first developed the seven-day week from observing seven celestial bodies– the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. Today is Wednesday, the day of Mercury. It is not exactly obvious in English, but in French, for example, the word is mercredi. But that’s beside the point. The reason why this day of the week is so important is because it is smack dab in the middle. At SSP, this means having an excessive amount of work to complete, and counting the days until Sunday– the day of the Sun, or as I like to call it, my napping time.

During the week, sleep deprivation among SSP Astro participants is common due to our assignments and late-night asteroid observing shifts. I’ve resorted to drinking multiple cups of coffee per day, though it doesn’t seem to help my situation. As for my team’s observing progress… there is none. We have not yet seen our asteroid, and there have been a few technical difficulties during our shifts so far. While other teams here at UNC have had their faith in the existence of asteroids restored, we are still firm asteroid deniers.

Although I’ve complained thus far, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have any fun. Although I’ve likely experienced enough stress for a lifetime, the sense of accomplishment I feel after completing difficult assignments outweighs everything else. My friends and I can often be found making instant Kraft mac and cheese and mug cake to celebrate our successful coding projects. We regularly play hangman before class, and I’ve been honing my Super Smash Bros. skills here as well. Speaking of games, avoiding the massive roaches while returning to the dorms late at night is kind of like hop-scotch! In all seriousness, I’ve been greatly enjoying my time here. I love this place, but I am also counting the days until I can sleep in.

About Me:

Hi, my name is Celine and I am from Ann Arbor, Michigan. During the day at SSP, you can find me at UNC Chapel Hill. At night, you can also find me at UNC Chapel Hill. My favorite thing here at SSP is learning about the complex math and python involved in orbit determination. If I had free time, my favorite things to do would be drawing, listening to music, and writing short stories.