• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2022 - SNAG490

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 SNAG490 team came to visit in June-July 2022. The 5 core team educators attended, plus 5 students.


  • [The least surprising thing was] Everyone who works at Caltech does a ton of work and works really hard. And astrophysics is hard - the concepts, the analysis. It’s all difficult and requires a lot of time, thought, and energy.
  • The best thing is being able to work in a group in person to see the level of detail on the topics. You have the ability to interact more freely. Plus you can build team dynamics during and after the day.
  • [student:] Real astronomy is having confidence in the steps you took and the work you achieved using those steps but also being willing to receive feedback and critism. It's also curiosity.
  • It was surprising to learn how much programming and data analysis are currently dominating the astronomy field. It seems like today’s astronomy is primarily data analysis, no one is actually looking at any stars. I get it, because we’ve pretty much exhausted the visual part of the spectrum, but I had never really thought about it before.
  • [student:] The most surprising thing I did was enjoy myself. I didn't expect to feel happy while working (that sounds bad), but I expected to just be really stressed. It was stressful, but also extremely rewarding. On the last day I still felt like I had energy left for a couple more in-person all-day work days.

Summer Visit - 2022 - SNAG490