• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

The summer visit to Caltech is 3-4 days long and is the only time during the year of work when all the participants on the team come together in person to work intensively on the data. Generally, each educator may bring up to two students to the summer visit that are paid for by NITARP, and they may raise funds to bring two more. The teams work at Caltech; the summer visit typically includes a half-day tour of JPL, which is a favorite site for group photos. Reload to see a different set of quotes.

The SIRXS team came to visit in July 2014. The core team educators attended, plus 11 students.



  • I already understood, intellectually, that modern astronomy can involve computers more than it does telescopes. Public archives, however, are new to me. I think I could never fully appreciate that cutting-edge research could be fully accomplished simply by downloading public files from the internet without having fully participated in the whole process. Now I appreciate the depth and enormity of the Spitzer archives. This resource truly democratizes astronomical research!
  • [..] I’m familiar with tackling problems, creating potential solutions, testing them, and re-iterating the process. Research is sort of the opposite in that implementing a solution is not the goal, but rather to learn things we didn’t know before. This polarity between engineering and science was never clearer than during this entire project. This lack of planning or organization in the research process made me somewhat uncomfortable.
  • [student:] I think, above all, astronomers must be patient and willing to keep trying.
  • The ability to collaborate is crucial. This is something I have been hoping to work on in myself and with my students, and I think it was a huge part of the experience.
  • Being at Caltech also changed my relationship with my students, and in a way that I had hoped for. The limits of my expertise were much more obvious to them. This meant that they had to find other ways to answer questions than reflexively turning to me. We developed more of a sense of being peers in terms of our work together on the project.

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS