• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

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 HR4AGN team came to visit in August 2012. The core team educators attended, plus 12 students, and one additional scientist.  The scientist mentor is Dr. Varoujan Gorjian. IPAC staff member Jacob Llamas (SSC) assisted, as did Dr. Jean-Christophe Mauduit (SSC).


  • The most important thing was that I really got a feel for how astronomical research is done. I found the discussions really interesting as well; every time someone found a trend or a possible trend in the data, there would be a discussion as to what they had found and whether or not it meant anything.
  • [It was surprising to me that] there wasn't any sort of 'checklist' like method or clear direction as to how to analyze the data after the first couple of graphs.
  • I hadn't realized astronomers spent so much time analyzing data (thought it was more automated) but after analyzing the data myself, I feel I have a better understanding of the analysis job, what it entails, and why humans must do it.
  • The most interesting thing I did was organize data and actually understand what it meant.
  • [student:] The most surprising thing I learned was that Astronomers do not have to individually process all of the data they are interested in from raw data. I was unaware of the existence and availability of the various databases that exist.

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN