• 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.



  • For me, the most important aspect of our trip was not only nailing down the details of our project, but being invited to participate in all of those decisions.
  • 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.
  • [student:] Attention to detail is a quality that every scientist has.
  • One happy surprise was the element of serendipity in moving the project forward. I did not anticipate that one of the two post-docs who were sitting in to observe (for education, not science) would suggest that we use software that would change the way we managed our data.
  • [student:] Yes, I was under the impression that astronomy wasn’t a difficult scientific field to study and that astronomy deals mainly with planets. But now, I can see that there is so much more to astronomy than just planets. There are a lot of unknowns and to study astronomy you need a strong and talented brain. You also need patience, focus, and passion for it.

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS