About the Institute

Welcome to the ZTF Summer Undergraduate Astronomy Institute, a 2-days workshop from August 13th and 14th, 2019.  The Institute is in its fifth year of operation and is intended to supplement student summer research experience at Caltech, Pomona College and a few affiliated institutions by exposure to a wide range of people, facilities, tools and current research projects at ZTF and beyond.  The Zwicky Transient Facility is a time-domain survey at Palomar Observatory ideal for detecting asteroids, active galactic nuclei, supernovae and other rare transient events. The Institute this year will include the following events:

  • student presentations on Summer research projects
  • lectures and lab tours at Caltech
  • scientific presentation and communication workshop
  • field trip to Palomar Observatory
  • social events to get to know peers from all over the country and world
  • a banquet at Caltech’s Athenaeum with invited speaker

Update: Prof. Mike Brown (Caltech) will be this year’s ZTF Athenaeum Banquet speaker!


The recent suggestion of evidence for a massive ninth planet in the outer solar system has set off a worldwide search to find this latest member of our planetary family. I will discuss the evidence for the planet and show how we are working to constrain the mass and orbital parameters of the body. The first phase of the search — using ZTF! — is now complete. I will provide an update of the results.

The program is free to attend for invited participants thanks to ZTF funding.  Transportation and lodging will be provided as needed.  Lunch will be provided each day, as well as dinner at the Athenaeum on Wednesday, August 14th.  Observing field trip to Mt Palomar will be scheduled for a later date in August.

The 2019 institute welcomes students from all over the planet. You can read their bios at the tab above. The institute this year is organized by Bryan Penprase-Dean of Faculty, Undergraduate Program at Soka University of America, and Elijah Quetin, Visiting Faculty at Pomona College.