STUDENT CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE EUVE PROJECT
Center for EUV Astrophysics, 2150 Kittredge St.,
University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
Some 30 undergraduates are currently employed at UC Berkeley's Center for
EUV Astrophysics, working in several different areas. It is unusual for under-
graduates to gain exposure to a NASA satellite project such as EUVE and have
the opportunity to get involved in a variety of science investigations. Our
paper, written by students, will describe how the students have contributed to
the EUVE project, the types of projects and tasks we are responsible for, and
the skills we have developed through our student positions.
The Center for EUV Astrophysics (CEA) at the University of California, Ber-
keley, houses the science operations center for the NASA-Goddard Space Flight
Center-UC Berkeley Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer satellite. It is unusual for
a major university to become intimately involved with a NASA Explorer satel-
lite, and this unique relationship has proved to be extremely beneficial to
the student employees at CEA.
There are currently 30 undergraduates working at CEA in a variety of areas,
including administration, the EUVE Science Operations Center, data analysis
and science support, systems support, quality assurance and the Guest Observer
Center. Each of these groups has specific responsibilities to the EUVE project,
and the undergraduate employees play a key role in fulfilling the goals of each
Administrative aides take part in areas such as payroll, hiring efforts and
accounting, but perhaps the most interesting aspect of this position is the ex-
posure to the business facets of a large research operation. This has involved
preparations for launch negotiations and organizing information for budgeting.
This real-world example of the politics involved in science research has pro-
vided CEA's students with an education many would not face until after gradua-
tion and is particularly valuable as many of the student employees are pursuing
degrees in the sciences and engineering.
The EUVE Science Operations Center (ESOC) is an exciting place to work, be-
cause this is where the health and safety of the satellite are monitored 24
hours a day. Students in the ESOC are responsible for archiving telemetry data
from the satellite and logging activities during realtime contact with PACOR
(the EUVE communication link at Goddard Spaceflight Center). In addition to
these regular duties, ESOC aides also have the opportunity to work with staff
research associates (SRAs) on various science projects.
With the successful launch of EUVE, the Guest Observer Center has been busy
preparing to accommodate scientists who submitted proposals to conduct research
using EUVE data. Upon receiving their EUVE observation information, these
scientists must be oriented with the data and be able to decipher the informa-
tion easily. Students with the Guest Observer Center have helped improve the
existing software for data analysis and will help prepare data for the guest
Students working with the Data Analysis Support Staff (DASS) have responsi-
bilities in three areas: pipeline, hardware and individual science support.
The EUVE pipeline is the primary software system through which satellite data
are processed and translated into a useful format for further investigations,
and a student is scheduled each day to provide support for the pipeline pro-
cesses. Similarly, a DASS student is assigned daily to furnish hardware sup-
port, such as logging and helping analyze hardware anomalies. For individual
science support, students participate in a variety of interesting projects with
the SRAs, usually providing assistance in the reduction and analysis of data.
From the analysis of stellar spectra from ground-based observations to investi-
gating sources detected by the EUVE satellite, students have contributed to a
variety of stimulating scientific studies.
Undergraduates at CEA are allowed learning opportunities that develop prac-
tical skills which greatly increase employability after graduation. In parti-
cular, computer literacy is an essential part of each employee's position and
everyone gains experience with assorted software packages and with utilizing
the computer network in general. Students working in scientific areas gain
experience with sophisticated software for data analysis and often are given
the chance to exercise programming skills, practical experience which will
undoubtedly be advantageous in the future. Numerous students have discovered
a latent interest in astronomy upon joining the EUVE team. Although most
undergraduates plan to move on to a different field after attaining a degree,
it is not unusual for a student employee to stay with the project for several
years and work in many different areas.
Working at the Center for EUV Astrophysics is not a typical part-time job
for a college student. Undergraduates are exposed to a high-tech environment,
participating in pioneering the research of extreme ultraviolet astronomy.
Student employees play an integral role in bringing to fruition the lifelong
efforts of CEA scientists, a position which is exciting and beneficial to
everyone involved. Students at CEA are fortunate to have the support of the
EUVE scientists, and to be able to work with them on this interesting and
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Last modified 10/14/98