The End of the Second Pandemic, Method of Gauss, and Volleyball

Author: Dean C.

This morning, we learned that the “second pandemic” had officially ended—after days of quarantine and zoom learning, Rajat and Velvet had finally returned to the classroom. Our last few lectures brought me back to the days of zoom school and hybrid learning, like when Dr. R realized he wasn’t sharing his screen halfway through the lecture. Thankfully, it’s all over now, and it’s great to have all thirty-six of us back together.

Rajat and Velvet, smiling and pink eye-free

After lunch, we returned to class to finally start learning the formidable Method of Gauss, an integral part of our quest to determine the orbit of our target asteroids. It was the first lecture of three on the topic, and it took me a whopping seven pages to write only the first part down! It’s not like I was taking up that much space either—Gautam used ten. It was so long and complicated, Kavish jokingly asked if it was even possible to do without a computer. In response, Ihor quipped, “presumably, Gauss solved his method on paper!” That got a laugh out of me.

It was another productive day in the classroom for Team Six. Despite the cloudy conditions during our observations, Prisha miraculously found our asteroid, 2002 MQ3, once again in the reduced images. Since we were the first team to locate our asteroid for the third time, we celebrated with a picture.

Me, Atharva, and Prisha at the sticker chart.

I have no idea how she keeps managing to find our asteroid, a tiny streak of light among the hundreds of stars in each image, but she keeps doing it.

After dinner, we took a break from the seemingly endless P-sets to play a game of volleyball. The sand in the volleyball court was baking under the scorching hot New Mexico sun, but before long the sun was deep in the “soup” (below an altitude of 30°) and it cooled off. We played until we were too tired to keep going, and then we went back inside to finish our P-sets. Well, everyone else is solving their P-sets—I’m finishing up the very blog post that you’re reading right now. I’m going to wrap this up before it gets too late, but thank you for reading! 

From left to right: Prisha, Julia, Arjun, Deniz, Gautam, and I

About me:

Hi, I’m Dean, and I live in Massachusetts. Some of my hobbies include playing musical instruments like the trumpet and piano, history-themed board games with my friends, and Kerbal Space Program. I’m super happy to be at SSP, and I can’t believe it’s already our third week!