• 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.



  • [student:] It surprised me that so much astronomical data was available to the public. I was even more surprised by the fact that this was not just a little data, but it was so much that one would not be able to go through it all in a whole lifetime.
  • [student:] I did not expect how much improvisation had to be done. I knew that there would be many issues in dealing with the data we had, and we did not have solutions to all those problems before hand, but I did not expect just how many caveats had to be worked out.
  • [student:] Usually, in class, teachers have all the answers and just tell you, but with this project, the teachers didn’t always have the answers. Sometimes, students explained things to the teachers. It was interesting to work with teachers as equals.
  • 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!
  • [student:] One thing that stood out to me is the how complicated diagrams and graphs can get.

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS