Attended Kepler announcement of the new planets. Later that day teachers who were actually teaching in my high school e-mailed me to tell me about the planets just discovered. I had to tell them I'd known about that for hours. I was there at the announcement by the scientists involved.
Real astronomy is very exciting! I was not expecting to have to solve problems in excel the way we did. We were asked to answer simple questions or develop simple graphs at times but in order to get correct results (as far as we can tell) our team had to parse our skills and play with logic. I remember creating my first SED: I became so excited I could not sit down anymore. Another teacher was so thrilled they raised their hands and yelled in excitement. It was the first time we had results; it was a thrill.
I assumed that [research] would require a great deal of data analysis, what I didn’t grasp until after this[, my first AAS] meeting was how focused and detailed the analysis would be. The steps in understanding that are gained through the analysis are much smaller than I anticipated they would be for the amount of work that is done.