(Almost) The End 

SSP ends in three days (two if you exclude departure day). It’s truly been something indescribable. From late nights in the observatory, playing chess, mafia, doing psets or hanging out, I will dearly miss this experience and group of people. 

My day began at 12AM after observations. My group had already finished our report on Friday, so we were using the telescopes to take pretty pictures and look at cool objects in the sky. Here’s a processed photo of the ring nebula that I created. 

The observation was the middle shift which is 5:00 to 6:00 UTC. Afterwards I came downstairs and hung out for a while with Rebecca, Aaron, and Dominick in the lab. I think we were answering Science Olympiad questions. 

(Left to right: Dominick, Rebecca, Aaron, and Me) 

My day began again when I woke up at around 10am to play tennis and practice my serves. Later on, we had a lecture (which was an abnormality- usually we don’t have lectures on Sunday, but since it is nearing the end, I don’t think there was anymore extra time). 

At 1pm the lecture began. Guest speakers from the SouthWest Research Institute came to help us program the orbit of our asteroid around 50 million years into the future. Team 2 Feynmints’s asteroid (1627 Ivar) mostly ejected out of the solar system but also had three clones (simulations) that hit into the Earth. But don’t fret, that’s like 3/60 chance and only 12 million years into the future.

The speakers from the SouthWest Research Institute also went over some concepts of chaos in our solar system and in the asteroid’s orbit which was super interesting to learn and talk about. They compared it to a double pendulum, where eventually if you have three begin moving at the same time from the same position, they eventually begin to diverge. I really found the unpredictability of the solar system incredible. 

Here’s an image that showcases the potential orbits of our asteroid!! 

(1627 Ivar – coolest asteroid) 

After that we had dinner! It was the last day with my assigned dinner group which was Ms. Bana, Lana, Ben, Leo, and David. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of us sitting together for dinner. 

My next table is with Laura (one of our TA’s) so I’m really excited. I think the assigned dinner has helped connect more with the staff and other SSPers which I’m really grateful for. 

Next after dinner, we had to finish up our data processing and I also processed some of the images we took from observation. The servers crashed so we left and watched Mean Girls as a group! (Unofficially until the servers were fixed). My work was pretty much finished anyways, I just had to go back to let the program run overnight. 

Later on, we practiced for the Talent Show!! 

Here’s everyone practicing! We won some kazoos from the arcade (field trip) and we’re using them to play in the Talent Show.

(From left to right: Jay, Ben, Cam, Rebecca, Christina, Me, and Marcus. Not pictured is Joshua, who took the image) 

My day ended with going to SBO to let my code run overnight, and then going back to the dorms and talking with my roommate Lillian. 

I’m going to miss SSP and am sad that it’s ending so soon (the weeks have flown by). I am truly grateful and want to thank everyone that helped make this experience so great. To the TA’s for being there to help us and guide us. To the professors that lectured, guided and helped us. To the staff that put this all together. To the guest speakers that came and spoke to us about their lives, careers, and research. To my team, the Feynmints for our collaboration and work put into programming, observing and PSETs. And finally, to all the people and friends I met at SSP, thank you for being there! 

I hope you enjoyed my blog! If you’re thinking about applying to SSP, you totally should! The experience is amazing and you learn something new everyday. 

Hey! My name’s Natalia and I’m from New York. I enjoy reading, playing tennis, and trying new things. I hope to study something in STEM, probably engineering (and possibly a minor in computer science).