• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2017 - CephC:LABS

The summer visit to Caltech is 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 CephC-LABS team came to visit in June 2017. The core team educators attended, plus 5 students.


  • Astronomy is always depicted as a single person looking through a telescope. I was aware that modern astronomy is collecting and analyzing data, but I did not have a clear understanding of the massive amount of data available and the steps required to reduce it in order to make an analysis. I was also unaware that astronomy is very collaborative.
  • As a teacher who loves doing projects with students, I was in a much different role this time. I have been taught to give quick help, activate students then move away as they engage. When I often want to complete the task and do it for them, that wasn’t what the students needed for growth. This time, I needed to stay engaged in the activity. This might seem subtle, but it was not for me. And usually, my personal projects are self-contrived.
  • [student:] It would be infuriatingly difficult to try to learn how to do aperture photometry over the internet. It could be done, but it wouldn't be as fun or productive.
  • In order to be an astronomer (or any scientist) you have to be able to accept the fact that there are mistakes which must be worked through. An astronomer must have the stamina to work through things to solve problems. Also, astronomers must be highly creative in order to devise solutions to very unique problems.
  • [student:] The best part of the trip was working with a real research team and helping each other figure things out that we didn't even have the answers to. Another fantastic part was learning so much, so fast. I enjoyed the fast pace because it kept the work interesting.

Summer Visit - 2017 - CephC:LABS