Calar Alto Academy
The Calar Alto Academy project allows advanced under-graduates and graduate students to experience life at a modern astronomical observatory. Students from Spanish and German universities have here an unique chance to acquire a real life experience on professional observational astronomy, an experience that includes understanding the different observational techniques and strategies, data handling, and data reduction.
With the Academy, Calar Alto Observatory continues to offer a chance to young astronomers to obtain the experience that usually they got, in the recent past, when visiting the Observatory to perform observations in visitor mode. Nowadays, because of optimal use of telescope time, an increasing number of programs are executed in remote or service modes.
The pilot season of Calar Alto Academy has been developed during the first semester of 2007. The participant students included groups from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universitat de Barcelona, Universidad de Granada and the joint Master program from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (POPIA). A total of 43 students, distributed into four independent groups, have performed practical work at Calar Alto Observatory. They have returned to their parent institutions with a vivid impression about the real life and work at the observatory, and with direct experience on how modern astronomical observations are planned and performed, and how the resulting data are exploited.
Given the sucess of the first season of Calar Alto Academy, this project will be continued in the near future, in a more formal way including an open call for all potentially interested universities.