• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2019 - Dust Mights

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 Dust Mights team came to visit in July 2019. The 4 core team educators attended, plus 5 students.


  • [student:] The most surprising thing for me was the fact that NITARP is truly, to my knowledge, a great example of an actual research opportunity. I say this because with every other school-based trip I’ve done, there’s always been a strict itinerary that told us where we would learn, what we would learn, who we would learn with, etc. But, NITARP was different than those other trips in a way where I felt more independent which, again to my knowledge, is a perfect representation of a real research opportunity.
  • [student:] I think over the week people got more comfortable with asking more questions to figure out what they were confused about, or just more comfortable to speak up about other things outside of the Caltech portion of the trip.
  • [student:] I honestly thought that “real astronomy” or “real research opportunity” meant fetching coffee or doing busy work for professionals. However, this thankfully turned out to be untrue. I really thought as if I were an integral part of the operation and the entire astronomy community because I was doing actual work in identifying and studying interesting stars with disks, dust, etc. I felt I was doing “real” integral work.
  • Astronomy has always been about aggregating and parsing massive tables of data. So in a way, teaching us to do astronomy with data is just as primal as, and far richer than, anything we teach as “astronomy” in K-12 school (earth science can include some basics, and so can physics).
  • [astronomers need to be good at] Cooperation - Most scientists in the modern age do not work alone.

Summer Visit - 2019 - Dust Mights