Asteroid Institute | 2022 Summer Interns Highlight

Merel Kennedy

December 13, 2022

Summer Interns Enrich Asteroid Institute Crew


This past summer, Asteroid Institute (a program of B612) in partnership with the University of Washington, hosted a group of seven interns who helped with an assortment of tasks, including data ingestion for our Asteroid Discovery Analysis and Mapping (ADAM) platform.

Over the last few decades, high-quality surveys from telescopes all over the world have created a huge amount of excellent photometric catalog data. This data, after being converted to the correct format, can be used in our ADAM platform to search for previously unobserved discoveries. This process, called data ingestion, could not have been possible without the hard work of our summer interns.

Our interns hailed from a wide range of backgrounds, from a local high school student to a visiting post-doc from the University of São Paulo. Several University of Washington undergraduate astronomy and data science students also joined the team to crunch catalogs from the following datasets:

The additional observations contained in these catalogs will complement the data we have been using from NOAO Source Catalog (NSC).

One of the interns, Fábio R. Herpich, PhD, said his most valuable lesson “was the group work that was clearly useful for solving some tricky questions in a relatively short time.” Fabio has worked with cataclysmic variables in the near-infrared and studied white dwarfs with debris disks caused by asteroids’ tidal disruptions. While working towards his PhD, Fabio studied stellar populations on early-type galaxies in the infrared and with radio AGNs. He is currently working on the Brazilian survey project S-PLUS.

Local high school student Arjun Naik agrees that the group work was the most valuable experience during his Asteroid Institute internship. “Something I will take away is the immense collaboration and teamwork this project took, and the skills I learned from just working in a group.” Arjun started at the University of Washington in the fall of 2022 and will be pursuing a computer science major.

Intern Paulo Barrera’s favorite moment was when he and Joachim Moeyens, Asteroid Institute Fellow and manager of the intern team, discovered a bug in his ZTF data and came up with a workaround by using the modified Julian date to create unique observations IDs. He said he walked away from the internship knowing the bash command line as well as the “intricacies of the challenges of downloading/manipulating extremely large datasets.” A recent graduate of the University of Washington with a double major in physics and astronomy, Paulo worked as an LSST Collaboration Student Assistant while at UW. He is currently at the University of Denver pursuing an MS in Data Science.

Eli Lingat’s internship focused on working with large datasets, coding, and researching objects past Neptune, specifically the possibility of detecting “Madigan’s Belt” from LSST, with Dr. Mario Juric. His favorite part about the internship was learning about our new Precovery API, an astrodynamic service running on the ADAM platform. He said it was “fascinating that we can pull additional observations of known objects or entirely new objects out of surveys and datasets.” At UW, Eli was also the president of the Astronomy Undergraduate Engineering Group, studying at Manastash Ridge Observatory in Ellensburg, Washington.

The hard work of our Summer 2022 interns has helped our Asteroid Institute crew ingest new datasets into ADAM, advancing our open-source tools. Their energy and efforts support our progress towards mapping our solar system. We appreciate their dedication to the future of space exploration.

Asteroid Institute Summer 2022 Interns

Paulo Barrera, USA
BS, University of Washington, Physics

Connor Davidge, USA
Student, Lakeside School

Fabio Herpich, PhD, Brazil
PhD, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Physics and Astronomy

Eli Lingat, USA
BS, University of Washington, Physics and Astronomy

Arjun Naik, USA
Pursuing BS at University of Washington, Computer Science and Engineering

Amelia Whitlow, USA
Student, University of Washington

Sherry Yang, China
Pursuing BS at University of Washington, Computer Science and Engineering




The article above was created by a staff member or intern of the B612 Foundation, a non-profit organization. It is because of the support of our donors that we can provide educational opportunities, develop cutting-edge software and share scientific knowledge with the world. Please join us in our mission and make a donation today.



Merel Kennedy