A scientist explaining on a white board to a group of workshop participants sitting on chairs or the floor, with laptops.

Summer School

AstroHackWeek is, in part, a summer school. The mornings will offer lectures and exercises covering essential skills for working effectively with large astronomical datasets. Past years have seen topics such as machine learning, Bayesian inference, frequentist statistics, databases, numerical Python, and visualization. Check out recorded lectures from previous years.

Two scientists both looking at a laptop displaying computer code and a scientific graph showing scattered points, with one scientist pointing at the graph.

Unconference & Hackathon

AstroHackWeek is also an unconference and hackathon. The afternoon every day is entirely unstructured, and offers opportunities for collaborative research, breakout sessions on special topics, and application of the concepts covered during the morning sessions. Come with a project in mind, join someone else's or apply a new skill to an old problem.

Schedule

17th October Machine Learning
18th October Bayesian Statistics
19th October Coding best practices and open source software
20th October Working with and visualizing big data
21st October All-Day Hacking!

To get an idea of the content, you can check out the recorded lectures from 2015 and 2016 or the lecture materials (also for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) on github. The list of 2022 speakers is coming soon.

Code of Conduct

During Astro Hack Week, we require participants to follow the code of conduct for the workshop which can be found on our code of conduct page. If you have any questions about the workshop, you can reach the organizing committee at astrohackweek@gmail.com.

Venue

The workshop will be held at the Haus der Astronomie (HdA) at MPIA in Heidelberg. HdA is the Center for Astronomy Education and Outreach in Heidelberg; more information about the center and its facilities and resources is available here.

HdA is accessible to disabled persons, and dedicated parking spaces are available. Unfortunately, the buses dedicated to the event and public transportations may not be accessible for everyone. However, there are specific taxi services in Heidelberg that we can arrange on-demand. Please contact us for specific information about your accessibility needs.

Note that mobile phone connectivity at/around the HdA is at best poor but usually non-existent. Internet connectivity will be available for all participants.

The address of the institute is:

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy

Königstuhl 17

69117 Heidelberg, Germany

Travel

Visa

You may need to apply for a visa to enter Germany. See this overview of visa requirements.

Feel free to contact the organizers if you need a letter of support.

Travel restrictions

While travel is now possible, there are still many continuously changing restrictions. We'll do our best to provide support and information.

Entry to Germany is limited to nationals from EU member states, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, and those vaccinated with vaccines approved in Germany. Exceptions are possible for researchers and scientists, but we recommend checking with your local German embassy to confirm if these apply to you. Travelers are obligated to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test and proof of vaccination or recovery upon entering the country. Additionally, MPIA and HdA are currently operating under 2G rules whereby only vaccinated (with a Germany-approved vaccine) or recovered individuals are allowed on the premises. We will continue to update this information, and please check with a German embassy for specific restrictions and visa requirements based on your location and citizenship.

Getting to Heidelberg

Train

If you are travelling to Heidelberg from within Europe, please consider ground transportation first. Heidelberg can be reached by train quite easily via Deutsche Bahn (DB) has connections to various train. Typically you will have a connection in Mannheim and change platforms there for the S-Bahn to Heidelberg. Trainline could also help you plan your journey across multiple countries and train companies.

Although there are no barier gates in Germany, you will need to buy a ticket before stepping into the trains. The controls are frequent. You can buy tickets online or at ticket machines or for S-Bahn (and local buses) on the eVRN app.

Bus

A cheaper but slower alternative is the "Flixbus" from the airport to Heidelberg. The prices range from 5 to 15 € each way, but depending on the time of day, the trip could take up to three hours due to stops and traffic. To investigate timetables and book tickets, you can check out the Flixbus website.

Driving directions

If you decide to rent a car and drive, you can follow these directions (to MPIA).

Flight

We recommend flying to Frankfurt Airport (FRA), as this is the nearest international airport to Heidelberg. The following directions to Heidelberg assume that you are starting from Frankfurt.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) has connections from Frankfurt Airport (station: Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Fernbahnhof) to various train stations around Heidelberg (likely either Hauptbanhof or Altstadt, depending on where your hotel is). Typically you will take a train to Mannheim and change platforms there for the S-Bahn to Heidelberg. The total travel time is of the order of one hour. Tickets cost about 25 € each way. The timetable is available here. You can buy a ticket in advance, but we don't recommend the cheaper "saver" tickets, as these apply to the specific booked train -- You cannot use them on a different train if you have flight delays.

The two best shuttle options are Transfer & Limousine Service (TLS) (40 € each way) and Lufthansa Express Shuttle (25 € each way).

Getting to HdA

There will be a shuttle to transport participants from the town center up the hill to MPIA/HdA every morning. It will leave from Hotel NH on Bergheimer Strasse at 08:15 (bus/company name "discipulus"). It will then stop briefly to pick up at Peterskirche (the stop on the south side of the road, i.e., the one closest to the hill) at 08:20 (the bus might only arrive five minutes later here, but be there no later than 08:20 as the bus cannot wait). A local participant will be at each pick-up point and travel on the bus. A bus will bring participants back into town (the same two stops) after each day's workshop.

Workshop bus itinerary

At other times of the day, you can take Bus 30 - the "Science Bus" - up to MPIA (the bus will drop you off right outside HdA) or back down the hill (you probably want to get off at Peterskirche). A map of the entire bus/tram network is here (the MPIA is slightly below and right of the center). You can buy tickets online or at ticket machines or (if that fails) from the driver on the bus (the cost is approximately 2.50 € each way) or on the eVRN app. Note that where the Science Bus departs - Universitätsplatz - to go up to MPIA is not far from Peterskirche. There is also a taxi stand near there if all else fails.

Exploring Heidelberg

The easiest way to explore Heidelberg is by foot. The Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr (RNV) provides public transportation in Heidelberg with buses and trams; these can take you more or less anywhere you want to go within the city. The timetables can be found online; you can also download various apps to help you plan, e.g., the official RNV app (in german) or the RNV Ticket app, and the eVRN app (in English). Note that Google Maps can also provide bus schedules.

Accommodation

Participants are responsible for making their own accommodation arrangements. Heidelberg has plenty of hotel and Airbnb options; the following hotels are some suggestions (but we do not endorse any particular hotel).

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Organizers

This year's event is being organized by

Announcement

Dear colleagues,

Following a challenging two years, we plan to bring back Astro Hack Week in October 2022. We are excited to welcome you to the Haus der Astronomie (HdA) and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, Germany for an inclusive, accessible and fun event.

Applications for Astro Hack Week 2022 are now open! Please submit your application by midnight AoE on Friday, June 3rd, 2022 to receive full consideration. Selected participants will be notified by early July.

While travel is now possible, there are still many restrictions which are continuously changing and many may still prefer to avoid travel. For these reasons, the 2022 Astro Hack Week will be an in-person conference with the option for remote participation.

For those who wish to attend in person, here is a brief summary of current travel restrictions. Entry to Germany is limited to nationals from EU member states, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland as well as those vaccinated with vaccines approved in Germany. Exceptions are possible for researchers and scientists but we recommend checking with your local German embassy to confirm if these apply to you. Travelers are obligated to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test and proof of vaccination or recovery upon entering the country. Additionally, MPIA and HdA are now operating under 2G rules whereby only vaccinated (with a Germany-approved vaccine) or recovered individuals are allowed on the premises. We will continue to update this infomation but restrictions may change quickly. Please check with a German embassy for the most up-to-date information as well as specific restrictions and visa requirements based on your location and citizenship.

Email us if you have any questions or concerns.

We hope to see you in Heidelberg in October!

Sincerely,

The 2022 Astro Hack Week organizing committee