Journal Entry 1. The first day in California we got off the airplane and smelled the fresh air of Burbank. We got our rental car and then left to purchase the needed groceries and soda. We decided to explore the beautiful city of Pasadena and later go to the Dodgers vs. San Diego game. We figured it would be the best night to go to the Dodgers game due to our lack of time in the days to follow. We got there and got 10 dollar tickets from Scalpers. They gave us a good deal (or so we thought). The game was a well fought game with San Diego coming out on top. We left at the 7th inning, so we could get home in time and get away from the traffic. I went back to the hotel and went to bed right away.
Journal Entry 2. The first working day of Pasadena we got up bright and early to eat some breakfast and head off to Caltech. We met Steve Howell and Don Hoard and were impressed with the amount of experience and knowledge the two could manage. We discussed our plans and goals for the two days ahead of us. We discussed for a few hours and then shot off to JPL(Jet Purpolsion Labratory). We got a special tour of JPL and with our very helpful tour guide. We learned that the Jet Purpulsion Labratory actually never did any Jet testing. They mostly did Rocket testing and in 1930 when JPL was founded rocket testing was unheard of. We saw a camera that was taken off of the Hubble Telescope and also saw the buildings all of the spacecraft are controlled from. The tour guide showed us the clean room where the new Mars rover is currently being built and tested. We learned about all of the crazy people who worked and invented new things at JPL. After that we went to an Afghan restaurant and it was rather good. After dinner Mrs.Thomas, Olivia,Steve and I went to a jazz restaurant and watched live jazz and ate desert. It was a very expensive desert(let's just say it cost more than our breakfast the next morning). Joey my room mate tried to stay up until I got back but he couldn't make it until 11 O'Clock.
Journal Entry 3. Steve,Mrs.Thomas,Olivia and I went to breakfast and then we headed back to Caltech. We met up with everyone and then we got to work. I was partnered with Rebecca and we got to work right away. We were assigned to taking images from the Spitzer Space Telescope and through the use of photometry finding and measuring the luminosity of Stars. We used several programs including IRAF to try to identify variable stars. We had a very long and tedious process to try to find our variable stars through the use of light curves and standard deviation plots. Rebecca and I had thought we found 2 variable stars until we discovered they had the exact same period indicating a possible instrument or telescope issue causing our bright stars to vary in luminosity. We did not find any real variable stars on Saturday, though we had previously thought we had at least 3 variables.
Journal Entry 4. We got up early and headed off,once again, to Caltech. We finished up everything we did on Saturday including searching for variable stars that weren't obvious on the light curves. We then later discussed the AAS meeting poster. We all divided up the responsibilities and will further work on our project once we go home. This was surely one of the best experiences I had ever been on and Steve, Don, and our friends from Illinois were all great.