• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

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 LLAMMa team came to visit in July 2016. The 3 core team educators attended, plus 11 students.


  • ‘Real’ astronomy is not the myth of staying up all night looking through a telescope. It is more so working with data to ask and solve questions. A lot of computer skill is needed.
  • [student:] Until last year, I thought astronomy was confined to learning about our Solar System. I thought astronomers didn’t work in the day and stood at a telescope all night taking notes. After all, my only astronomy unit was in third grade, when we learned about the planets. After all of our research, work, and speakers, I understand that there are many branches of astronomy.
  • The most important thing I saw from the meeting was the growth in the students – not just in understanding the subject and science behind the project but in the levels of confidence and belief they were developing in their abilities and understanding of the real process of science.
  • [student:] I think patience and determination are two of the most important qualities for an astronomer to have because in astronomy there is typically a wait time for certain data to be collected and observed. It also takes a lot of determination to be able to go through so many sheets of data that may or may not be what you're looking for.
  • [student:] The most surprising thing to me was how relaxed it was. I was expecting a “cookbook” experience and instead we were given the tools and then figured it out ourselves. I really liked that and I think I understood everything better because of it.

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa