• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

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 Cold Spotz team came to visit in June 2012. The core team educators plus 8 students attended.


  • [student:] The most surprising thing that happened was the several occasions where I discovered that I actually understood what was going on. The little "ah ha!" moments were really exciting and unexpected for me, as the material was so complicated and so unlike anything else I had learned in school.
  • I am so surprised that after working my brain for many hours each day, I could understand what [we were talking about]. While I am a teacher and love astronomy, I am not up on all of the terms, and even [the] concepts that we used so readily. I am surprised that my brain clicked over and got is quickly (relatively speaking) and that by the end of the week, I too was speaking in these ways.
  • [student:] The most important thing for me on this trip was listening to different astronomers talk about their careers, but this was important not because it made me want to be an astronomer, but because it made me confident in the fact that I didn't want to be one. Knowing that this wasn't my future and that my life didn't depend on the work I do in this program allowed me to enjoy the project we were working on as something I'm interested in, not something I have to be perfect at.
  • I did not expect to use the internet as much as we did.
  • I always imagined astronomy as someone at the end of a telescope looking at the stars, but today's astronomer is at a computer controlling a telescope miles away on earth or in space. The data are collected in mass amounts and need lots of people to analyze it. The industry is drowning in data and not enough astronomers to use it.

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz