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Hubble Space Telescope Banner

April 10, 1996 Webchat with Alex Storrs and Tony Roman from the Space Telescope Science Institute

TOPIC: How we prepared the HST to make your Pluto and Neptune observations




Alex (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:04AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hello, this is Alex Storrs at the Space Telescope Science Institute (forgive my excessive use of capitals, I've worked for NASA too long...) This is also my first time using this mode of communication, so please allow me a little license with the protocol... I am ready to try to answer whatever LFHST type question y'all may have.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:04AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hello, Are any students or teachers here for the WebChat with Alex and Tony from STScI

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:06AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi Alex.Thanks for spending some time with us. I'm not sure if any schools are here yet. Until then, I'll ask you a few questions

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:06AM PST (-0800 GMT)
What is your job at STScI?

Alex (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:09AM PST (-0800 GMT)
I think I'll be around from noon to 1 (EDT) and Tony will be on from 2 to 3. (I have a meeting then.) I should perhaps introduce myself a little further. I'm an astronomer here, specialiaing in comets and asteroids. I'm the bearded guy in the first LFHST video ("The Great Planet Debate" I believe it was called). I did my dissertation research on Halley's comet, and since then have worked on the smallest things I can find in the solar system. I hope that by understanding these "debris" from the planetary formation process, I can learn something more about the planets.

Marc (California): . . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:10AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Alex, Can you please describe what you had to do to make the Space Telescope observe Pluto and Neptune?

Tyke Middle School: . . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:11AM PST (-0800 GMT)
We're here for the WebChat with Alex and Tony. We're from Titonka Iowa.

Marc (California): .. . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:17AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi Tyke Middle School. Please go ahead and ask Alex any questions you might have.

Alex (STScI): .. . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:18AM PST (-0800 GMT)
No one person makes HST do a given observation-- its the result of a large team of people. Generally the Principal Investigator (PI) (in this case Marc and Heidi) have some hot scientific idea they think can be tested with an HST observation-- they send in the idea to a peer review committee who grants them time.

We sort of circumvented part of this first stage-- the whole group of people on line were the peer review committee. Once the target and general type of observation are decided on, the PI gets a 6" stack of manuals which they study carefully and try to memorize... (Little joke, there-- no sane person goes through the whole thing.) The PI downloads a piece of software and writes a high level computer program, called the "RPS2 file" and sends it to us at STScI.

In particular the contact scientist (thats me) and the program coordinator (that's Tony) look at the thing, debug it, and check to make sure the science requested is the science being done. If you think of HST as a big computer, then I debug the computer programs. Tony sweats the details of compiling and linking the program, and some people at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) do some further work on it and send the resulting "command load" off to the telescope via the TDRSS system. So you see, I am a rather small cog in a very large machine.

Bob Shayler: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:18AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi Marc and Alex. I'm here checking out both what you have to say and how this chat page works. I'm located in Castro Valley CA.

Tyke Middle School (Iowa): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:18AM PST (-0800 GMT)
We'd like Alex to answer the last question, "What did you have to do to setup the Space Telescope to observe Pluto and Neptune?"

Tyke Middle School (Iowa): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:21AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Using the Hubble Space Telescope, can you determine the precise size of a planet like Pluto, or do you need to use other instruments to do this?

Bob Shayler: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:22AM PST (-0800 GMT)
It sounds like a lot of computer programming takes place! Who has the access to propose a hot idea for the Hubble? You mentioned a discussion on-line; how much is the Net used in Hubble investigations?

Alex (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:23AM PST (-0800 GMT)
I personally didn't have to do a lot to set up the observation of Uranus and Neptune. Both Heidi and Marc (Buie) have made observations of the type we made in the past-- the great strength of the observations we made was that they came at a different time and so we can compare the whole suite of observations to try to see how these objects evolve. So in this case, we cut and pasted from the old programs-- Tony did most of the work. If we were going to try something really new, then I would have had a larger role, but as it is, I had checked the procedures the first time we used them.

Randy (Cupertino,CA): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:25AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hello everybody. I'm a sophomore in High School. I only have about ten minutes until the bell rings. Alex, I read that you studied Haley's comet. I was wondering if you did anything about the recent comet (Hyakutake)?

Alex (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:27AM PST (-0800 GMT)
We can determine the precise sizes of objects to a certain limit with HST, but we are limited by physics. For Pluto, we have been very (very!) fortunate in living when we do, because Pluto's moon Charon just finished doing a series of eclipses over the last few years. Timing these eclipses and a knowledge of how planets move allow us to determine Pluto's size much more accurately than the HST images. What the images can add is some knowledge of how the bright and dark regions are arranged on the planet, and how they change from time to time, away from the eclipse season.

Tyke Middle School (Iowa): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:29AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Thanks for answering our question. We need to go to lunch in a few minutes. We appreciate your time.
Thanks, Derrick, Jeremy, and Bobbie Jo.

Alex (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:29AM PST (-0800 GMT)
HST just finished spending several days studying Hyakutake-- quite a challenging observation since it came so close to the Earth. Too soon to tell much about what we saw, but we did see the signature of the diatomic sulfur molecule (S2) which has only been seen in comet IRAS-Araki-Alcock (in 1983) and in the collision of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter. Sulfur is usually in an 8-atom arrangement-- it takes unusual conditions to form S2.

Randy (Cupertino,CA): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:32AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Thanks Alex. You said it takes unusual conditions. What kind of unusual conditions. Also I heard something about the comet letting out lots of X-rays. Do you know anything about that?

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:33AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hello. Are there any folks listening in who haven't introduced themselves? Please do so

Alex (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:34AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Bob Shayler asked about proposing for HST time-- anyone can write a proposal. Look at the STScI web site http://www.stsci.edu and hit the proposer button-- there's a form you can download and type up your idea. Getting time is very competitive-- only about 1 proposal in 3 is accepted. Almost all of these are from professional astronomers, although I don't think this is a requirement. Your best bet is to collaborate-- get in touch with some specialists and run your idea by them, and then you all send in a proposal as a group. Almost nobody works alone anymore.

Karen (NASA Ames): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:38AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi Marc! Just lurking around and enjoying the interesting dialogue...

Bob Shayler: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:38AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Thanks, Alex. I'll check out that site. I've looked at the Pluto site http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/hst/webchat/chat.html which Marc posted in the mail list. Are there other standard locations for viewing current results from Hubble?

Alex (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:39AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Randy from Cupertino asked about formation of S2, and I'm afraid I can't add a whole lot to what I said-- A chemist might be able to expand. We have only seen S2 in cometary comae and in splashback on the stratosphere of Jupiter, after a hypervelocity impact. What do these conditions have in common? Perhaps the very low pressure (compared to what we're used to) and a lot of hard UV radiation (no ozone layer) contribute to breaking up the longer-chain molecules.

The x-rays are a very unique and exciting observation. I only know what came out in the IAU circulars (that is, that they saw something. I (and I think, most scientists) have always thought that the high energies necessary to make xrays would never be seen in calm, quiet things like comets, but apparently we're mistaken. Then again, a measurement is no good unless it can be repeated-- this could be an instrumental artifact or error of some sort. We have to look at the comet (or some other comet) and see if the x-rays are still there.

Randy (Cupertino,CA): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:42AM PST (-0800 GMT)
I have to go now. I'll check back here during my lunch period to see what I missed. Good-bye.

Alex (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:42AM PST (-0800 GMT)
In addition to the "proposer" button on the STScI web page is a "public" button, which links to all the recent press and photo releases. These get to be so popular, in fact, that when something new comes out (like the Pluto press conference of March 7) those of us using the site for other work are pretty much shut out-- we have to set up another way to transfer the information we need.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:42AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi Bob, I'll bet Alex will beat me to this, but on the STScI web site, there is a place for recent news. The address is http://www.stsci.edu/public.html

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:44AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Alex, Is it true that the HST has no ability to measure X-rays, only optical wavelengths?

Gayle (London On, Ca): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:45AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi all wanted to let you know I was lurking.

Bob Shayler: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:48AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Thank you Marc and Alex. I am off to check out the sites you suggested. One last question, is Hubble scheduled to view the big comet next year (Hale-Bopp if I didn't forget its name...)?

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:48AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Eddie Schmidt wants to know how you prepared the HST to look at Neptune and Pluto... We're a little late, and this may have been answered already.

Alex (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:48AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Marc-- HST's current complement of instruments can measure light from about 1150 Angstroms wavelength out to 11500 Angstroms. The Earth's ozone layer blocks out every wavelength smaller than about 3000 Angstroms. X-rays generally have wavelengths of only few Angstroms, so HST can't measure X-rays directly. The reason for the long answer is the definition of 'X-ray"-- technically, I believe the hydrogen "Lyamns-alpha" transition at 1216 Angstroms can be considered an x-ray, but in general it isn't. Sort of like the question of whether or not Pluto is a planet.

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:51AM PST (-0800 GMT)
We're in Brownsville, Texas...Sorry we're late...couldn't be helped.

Alex (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:51AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi Morningside-- I put out a couple of long messages about scheduling HST earlier-- I'll repeat them if you can't find them. Bob-- we just made some observations of Hale-Bopp and are planning to make some more in May. I suspect some pictures will be on the web real soon, but the recent observations were made on the 7th so they're still in processing.

Morningside Elementary:. . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:51AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Trey Ferguson wants to know how far out into space the HST can "see".

Sage Creek Elem.:. . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:53AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Our third grade class would like to know if the repairs made to HST have it functioning normally or are there still observations it cannot make?

: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:59AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Nathan Rodriguez wants to know why the HST can image galaxies and stars really well but cannot show really clear images of Pluto...All we see is a white dot.

Sage Creek Elem.:. . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 9:59AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Sage Creek here again. We're in Springville, Utah. Justin wants to know what it takes to be a HST scientist? Is it a lot of fun?

Alex (STScI):. . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 10:00AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Over the Christmas/New Year's holiday HST ran a series of observations to see just how far we could see. This is called the "Hubble Deep Field" (HDF) and the processed stuff should be available on the STScI public web site. We saw all sorts of stuff, not sure how far away it really is because its so faint.

Also, its hard to tell distance when things are that far away. You get answers like "Oh, its at z=5.2" which is pretty useless to ordinary people. The problem is, we don't know what the universe is like at these large scales-- how does it bend or twist. Another way of asking how far off we can see is to ask how far back in time we are looking-- since the speed of light is constant, if we know a time we can figure a distance. Some galaxies observed in a gravitation lens (the image should also be available on the web site) are expected to be only one tenth as old as we think the universe is-- but that number is subject to change. I could go on and on.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 10:00AM PST (-0800 GMT) Hello Sage Creek, Morningside and Gayle, It is getting close to end of our scheduled time with Alex, so please don't be too surprised if Alex needs to leave soon. We will be back again in about one hour with Alex's co-worker named Tony Roman.

: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 10:02AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi Marc...We seemed to get in on the tail end of the conversation...Oh well.

: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 10:03AM PST (-0800 GMT)
We will be back online in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 10:04AM PST (-0800 GMT)
This is Morningside Elementary, signing off for now... Chris Rowan's class of 5th grade wonder students!

Gayle (London On, Ca): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 10:05AM PST (-0800 GMT)
See you in an hour!

Alex (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 10:05AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Thanks to the refurbishment mission of 1994, HST is functioning at or above its original design specifications. So yes, they fixed it and its great, its giving us views like we've never seen before. There are still observations it cannot make-- for example, it cannot resolve the surface of Pluto very well, or look at x-rays or at infrared wavelengths. The problem is one of angular size. Physics limits us to a certain "angular resolution"-- in HST's case, about 0.04 arcseconds. (An arcsecond is 1/60th of an arcminute, and an arcminute is 1/60th of a degree-- the moon appears 30 arcminutes in diameter from the Earth.) Thus we can see galaxies (stars are hard) because they are many arcseconds in size, while we have a hard time with Pluto because its only about 0.1 arcsecond across.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 10:07AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Oops. I didn't mean to chase everybody away. I just wanted to let folks know that Alex might have to leave soon.

Alex (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 10:08AM PST (-0800 GMT)
I'm afraid I'll have to go as well. If you have astronomy type questions in the future you can send them directly to me via the internet. My address is storrs@stsci.edu. I'll tell you, but astronomy is my hobby as well as my job-- I can talk about it for hours... Its been fun!

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 10:08AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Alex, Thank you very much for your time this morning (for me) or this afternoon (for you). I really appreciate your support.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:04AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hello, Are there any schools online for the WebChat with Tony Roman of STScI?

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:05AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi. My name is Tony Roman. I am a Program Coordinator at the Space Telescope Science Institute. My job involves working with the astronomers that use HST. I (and other Program Coordinators) help the astronomers write all of the technical specifications necessary to perform an HST observation. Once all of those details are worked out, I do the work necessary to implement those observations including determining when it is possible to schedule the observations so that it meets all of the constraints imposed by the telescope and desired by the astronomer.

Marc (California) .: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:06AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi Tony, Are you around yet? If so, could you please introduce yourself to the folks that will soon be arriving?

Marc (California): . . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:07AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tony, until some students show up, I'd like to ask you a few questions. I hope that is OK. How much time did you have to spend on our LHST observations of Neptune and Pluto?

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:10AM PST (-0800 GMT)
If any students show up, please introduce yourselves and feel free to ask Tony from STScI any questions.

Gayle (London, On,Ca): .. . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:10AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi, just lurking about.

Tony (STScI): . . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:11AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Marc, I spent about one full day of work on the LHST observations of Pluto and Neptune although this work was not continuous. i.e. a few hours at a time spread out over a several days.

Titonka Middle School (Iowa): . . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:12AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi from Titonka Iowa. We're 8th grade students that are thrilled to get out of study hall to ask you some questions and find out more about HST and the measurements it's making.

Tornado Kids: . . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:12AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hello, from Windy Kansas.

Marc (California): .. . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:13AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tony, Does it normally take about a day for two observations. Or were our LHST observations particularly easy or hard?

Tornado Kids: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:14AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Is there a planet that the HST can never observe?

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:20AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Marc, The time it takes to implement HST observations varies greatly. Some observations are simple and quick to implement. Others are difficult and very time consuming. It usually takes longer than a day. Observations of the planets are usually among the most difficult and time consuming because planets move in their orbits, so HST move follow or "track" them during the observation. Stars and galaxies on the other hand say still, so those observations are often easier. Although the LHST observations did observe planets, Pluto and Neptune move the slowest of the nine planets; so I would consider the LHST observations among the simpler planetary observations.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:21AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hello Tornados, Perhaps Tony got distracted for a few moments. In the meanwhile, can you say a few words about what your involvement with the HST has been.

Gayle (London, On,Ca): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:21AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Sometimes it takes a while Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:23AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hello Titonkans, I also ask the same question of you. Have you done any activities with the HST? If so, what were they?

Titonka Middle School (Iowa): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:26AM PST (-0800 GMT)
We didn't get involved in LHST at the beginning, we're sort of jumping in at the middle to see what's going on. We're participating in the weather activity next week, and we're interested in looking at the final results.

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:26AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tornado Kids: Good question. Yes. HST cannot point too close to the Sun because the bright light would damage some its instruments. Because of this, we can never observe Mercury since it is very close to the Sun. Venus also too close, but it's right on the edge. i.e. it's almost far enough away, so one time we did point just a little closer to the Sun than we normally do in order to observe Venus. We had to take some extra precautions in order to do that though.

Tornado Kids: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:29AM PST (-0800 GMT)
We watched the first live program. We have studied about Edwin P. Hubble, made travel poster to another planet, made a models of the planets, and measured distances of a solar system model outside.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:31AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tony, how many other observations are you working on now? Is there any kind of observation that you specialize in? How are the observations divided up? Why do you get some and other people get others?

Tornado Kids: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:31AM PST (-0800 GMT)
What kind of precautions do you have to do?

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:32AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hello Tornadoes, What grade level are you in? If you could have chosen any planet, would it have been Neptune or Pluto? Same question to the Titonkans.

Gayle (London, On,Ca): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:34AM PST (-0800 GMT)
We just registered for the Weather Watcher too. I homeschool.

Titonka Middle School (Iowa): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:37AM PST (-0800 GMT)
We're signing off--study hall is almost over so we gotta go. Bye!

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:37AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Marc, I am responsible for implementing about 30 different observing programs over the next few months. I specialize in solar system observations. That's how I came to work on the LHST observations. The observations are divided up mainly according to who the astronomer is. The idea is to build working relationships between astronomers and Program Coordinators. Personal preference is also taken into account. I have a lot of solar system observations because that's where my interests lie. Other Program Coordinators may be interested in stars or galaxies; so they may work mainly on those kinds of observations.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:38AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Good-bye Titonka!

Tornado Kids: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:38AM PST (-0800 GMT)
We are homeschoolers. 6th grade and 1st grade. We like Neptune.

Tornado Kids: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:40AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tony, what is your favorite planet observation?

Gayle (London, On,Ca): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:42AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tornado Kids: Mine are JK-1. E-mail: womble@mail.wwdc.com

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:43AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tornado Kids: I assume that you mean the precautions for the time we observed Venus. First, we observed it at the time when it was as far from the Sun as it gets. Second, we did the observations while HST was in the Earth's shadow (i.e. the night side of the planet) so that the Earth would protect the HST from the Sun's light. Finally, we programmed HST so that it would shut off lots of it's instruments if something went wrong the prevented it from pointing away from Venus before moving out of Earth's shadow.

Tornado Kids: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:44AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hi Gayle from Lee and Aubrey.

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:46AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tornado Kids: I guess my favorite planetary observations are the most difficult ones because they offer a good technical challenge. One example is an observation of Io (one of Jupiter's moons) just as it is passing into or out of Jupiter's shadow. That one has to be timed just right.

Gayle (London, On,Ca): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:46AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tony: was there anything especially unique about the Neptune/Pluto preparations, compared to others that were similar?

Tornado Kids: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:50AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tony, what are the most important subject areas do we need to study to be able to operate HST?

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:52AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Gayle: Yes. Pluto is always a little tricky because we don't know exactly where it is as well as we know the other planets. Pluto was discovered about 60 years ago and it takes about 300 years to orbit the Sun, so we have not yet had a chance to watch it complete a whole orbit yet. Because of this uncertainly, we usually aren't able to get Pluto right dead center on the HST cameras. In the LHST pictures, Pluto was a little off center.

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:54AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tornado Kids: In order to be able to operation HST, you'll need to study science, or math, or computers. Studying all three would be best.

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:55AM PST (-0800 GMT)
How long did it take to get prepared for the Neptune/Pluto observations?

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:56AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tony, What is your background. What did you study? Do you think of yourself as an astronomer or an engineer or a computer jock?

Gayle (London, On,Ca): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:57AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tony, Thank-you.

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:58AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Morningside Elementary: about a day. see earlier messages for more details.

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 11:58AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Why does the HST "see" only in black-and-white?

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:00AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Marc: My background is in physics and computers. Although I have a great interest in astronomy, I am not an astronomer. My job is more technical than scientific.

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:02AM PST (-0800 GMT)
How long does it take for images from the HST to be processed? (Richard Salinas)

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:04AM PST (-0800 GMT) What interesting NEW information did you find out about Neptune and Pluto? Richard "Willie Wonka" Salinas)

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:05AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Richard LOVES chocolate..(Chris Rowan, teacher)

Tornado Kids: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:06AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Thank you Tony and Marc for taking your time to answer our questions. We are glad we are able to take part in this chat.

(STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:07AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Morningside Elementary: HST can see color. It's cameras and other instruments record the intensity and color of the light it collects. However, it often uses filters that see only one color at a time and some of those "colors" are in wavelengths that human eyes cannot see. So, astronomers often just use back and white (or shades of grey) to render the images, or sometimes "false" colors are used to highlight differences.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:09AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Good bye Tornados. Thanks for coming online.

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:10AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Richard Salinas, It usually takes about a week from the time images are taken to the time that the astronomer actually gets them. Some very basic processing happens during that time. Once the astronomer gets the images, he or she may do months of additional processing in order to fully study their area of interest.

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:11AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Richard, I'd say tune into the next LHST broadcast to learn what interesting NEW information we found out about Neptune and Pluto. Marc, When is that broadcast?

Gayle (London, On,Ca): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:12AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tornado Kids: come back for the weekly Tuesday chats please. Tony: Thanks again, read your bio, neat stuff. My Grandpa was the scientist in my family. Marc: Thanks for a truly superb chat, yet again. I printed the previous one with Alex but I missed that very first one. Is a transcript available?

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:12AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tony, I know we are at the end of our scheduled time online. You are welcome to stay for as long as you like. But I know you are busy so I think we'll understand if you need to leave.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:13AM PST (-0800 GMT)
That next broadcast is April 23 at 1:00pm Eastern time

: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:13AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Did Neptune's big blue spot move north or any other direction from where it was when it was last photographed? (Armando Vera)

Tony (STScI): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:13AM PST (-0800 GMT)
I enjoyed chatting. I'd be willing to do it again sometime. Back to driving HST for now though.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:14AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Gayle, I'm sorry to say that we did not make a transcript of the first chat with the folks at GSFC. We'll do that for these sessions.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:16AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Tony, Thanks so much for the time you took to connect with kids today. I really appreciate your support.

: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:18AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Did Neptune's big blue spot move north or any other direction from where it was when it was last photographed? (Armando Vera)

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:18AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Hello Armando, Regarding Neptune's big blue spot. I am certainly not an expert, but I thought that the big spot was white. I believe the preliminary data showed lots of little spots but no great big spot. I think the true answer will have to wait until April 23 when Heidi shares her results.

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:19AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Thank you for answering our questions! Morningside signing off.

Marc (California): . . . . Wed, Apr 10, 12:20AM PST (-0800 GMT)
Good bye Morningside.

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