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Space Astronomy Summer Program

Space Astronomy Summer Program

"Creating the Next Generation of Space Astronomers"

Each summer, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) brings a dozen highly motivated college students to Baltimore, Maryland, for a Space Astronomy Summer Program (SASP). STScI is the scientific operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope and the future James Webb Space Telescope. The SAS Program runs from mid-June to mid-August, and is designed for upper division undergraduates with a strong interest in space astronomy. Students work individually with STScI researchers and staff on research projects that might include data reduction and interpretation, software development, scientific writing, preparing data for public releases. The program affords students the opportunity to attend lectures on a variety of exciting topics related to space astronomy, the Hubble, and James Webb Space Telescopes.

The Space Astronomy Summer Program provides students a fun, educational experience within a team-spirited environment. Students will receive a comparable monetary stipend, housing assistance, and travel to and from Baltimore.

Astrophysical Research

STScI is one of the world's premier astronomical research institutions, and our scientific staff of over 100 astronomers is at the forefront of some of the most exciting work going on today. Our astrophysics spans the Universe, from the study of our own solar system, to nearby stars with planets, star formation, the structure of the Milky Way, the composition of nearby galaxies, and on to the early Universe, dark energy, and the formation of the first galaxies.

Support / Public Outreach / Technical Roles

STScI also specializes in helping astronomers use the telescope, as well as making Hubble accessible to the public. Past summer students have worked in such areas as:

  1. Science writing, astronomical artwork, 2D and 3D video production.
  2. Outreach projects such as the Hubble Heritage Project, Google Sky, and iPhone/iPad applications.
  3. Citizen science projects.
  4. Applications for the astronomical community, Hubble, and James Webb Space Telescope users.

Goals for the Program

The STScI Space Astronomy Summer Program (SASP) has three broad goals for our student participants.

  1. Expose advanced undergraduates to forefront research in astrophysics, and the workings of a space-based observatory.

    Not every student who comes to STScI is involved in an astronomical research project, but all students can hear about the research done at STScI and with Hubble. Students will also learn of the other work done at the Institute to support our missions.

  2. Furnish participants with opportunities for growth, achievement, and personal development.

    For many students, coming to STScI will be a unique experience, more focused and concentrated than they have had before. While here, summer students will discuss with our staff the steps in the career path of a research astronomer; the practicalities of initiating and carrying through major projects.

  3. Place students in a cohort of friends and colleagues for their future.

Astronomy is a human undertaking, yet it remains a small profession. Developing and maintaining contacts among colleagues and peers can be vital in a successful career.