International Astronomy Summer Internship Program
Each summer, Haus der Astronomie offers an International Summer Internship Program. Some of the participants join us directly via the International Summer Science School Heidelberg, an exchange program by the City of Heidelberg for pupils from Heidelberg's partner cities or partner institutions. Other prospective participants apply directly to Haus der Astronomie.
The summer internship is designed for pupils in the final years of high school, or those who have just finished high school. If you have already started university, please have a look at the MPIA student internships instead.
During their three-week stay, participants work on a variety of astrophysical observations and experiments. Just as in professional research, there is no fixed time-table, and participants are fairly free to follow their own ideas.
The common languages among the participants are English and Python.
The application deadline for summer 2020 has expired.
The dates for the 2021 internships will be published in December 2020. Until then no new applications are possible.
What will you be working on?
Depending on the participating scientists, the topic of the year's internship will be decided a few months before the internship starts. In past years, we had our students look at data from the Kepler Space Telescope to determine the properties of exoplanets, or look at galaxy data from an ESO survey, or study the expansion of the universe using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, or use data from the Gaia DR2 data release to study the properties of stars and stellar clusters.
How do you apply?
Simple: Send us an email including a letter (between 0.5 and 1 pages) outlining your motivation, your interest in astronomy, previous activities and experience, why you are interested in this internship and, if applicable, any science-related career plans you might have. Please also add a brief CV, your latest school report and, if possible, a letter of recommendation from a science teacher or informal science educator who knows you well.
What about costs? And accommodation?
There is no direct fee for the internship. You will, however, need to arrange for your own accomodation. There are several hostels in Heidelberg, or you could try to rent a room from a student, who is away during the summer. If you have trouble arranging for accommodation, or are in need of financial support, please contact us once you have been accepted into the program, and we will try to assist you.
How should I prepare?
Glad you asked! Three weeks, it turns out, is not a long time to pursue your own research project. We strongly recommend that you prepare for the internship, so as to make the most of the three weeks you are here. Our go-to programming language of choice is Python, so it is definitely recommended that you familiarise yourself with the basics of that language. Then, dive into the Beginner's Guide to Working with Astronomical Data to learn something about the methods we will use to analyse our data.