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Live from the Hubble Space Telescope

UPDATE # 24

PART 1: Challenge Questions: last week's answer and a new puzzle

PART 2: CU-SeeMe and Webchat party immediately following the broadcast

PART 3: Giving credit where credit is due

PART 4: Our trip to the NSTA conference

PART 5: Web Survey; help us improve our web

PART 6: Fixing bugs and a new baby named Teela


CHALLENGE QUESTIONS: LAST WEEK'S ANSWER AND A NEW PUZZLE

Last week we asked:
There are many telescopes much larger than Hubble. The Hubble Space Telescope has a 2.4-meter mirror. At Mauna Kea Observatory alone, there are four telescopes with mirrors more than 3 meters across, including the world's largest telescope, the 10-meter Keck Telescope (more than 4 times bigger than Hubble!). Why is the Hubble Space Telescope so special?

ANSWER from Heidi Hammel:
Most important, it is in outer space, above the Earth's atmosphere. This has two results. First, you get clearer sharper images, since you don't have to look through the atmosphere. Second, you can look at ultraviolet wavelengths, which are blocked by our ozone layer. Also, the mirror was made EXTREMELY carefully and precisely, much more precisely than the mirrors used in bigger ground-based telescopes.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Challenge Question for this week:

Marc Buie asks:
If you want to tell what season it is on Pluto, which is a better tool to use: a thermometer or a barometer? And why?


CU-SEEME AND WEBCHAT PARTY IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE BROADCAST

For an additional level of interactivity, please join us immediately following Tuesday's broadcast for an unrehearsed celebration. Heidi Hammel, Marc Buie, Space Telescope personnel and Passport to Knowledge folks will all be on hand to discuss what we've just learned. It should be a swell way to wind down from the excitement of the television program. The fun here should start Tuesday, April 23 at 2:00pm Eastern

For CU-SeeMe folks, tune in to 198.64.198.250 or 128.42.249.172 For WebChatters, visit: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/webchat/hst-chat.html (in the Teacher's Lounge)

We hope to personally connect with you then.


GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE

Inadvertently, in LHST #22, we left out the byline to the journal entitled "Skiing and Flowcharts". Oops! That piece was in fact written by Jeane Ryan of NASA Goddard. Apologies to Jeane for missing this the first time around.


OUR TRIP TO THE NSTA CONFERENCE

The Passport to Knowledge team was in full force at the recent National Science Teachers Association conference in St. Louis. For a photo essay of our adventure there, visit our especially slow-loading Web spot in the Teachers' Lounge: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/nsta/nsta.html


WEB SURVEY; TELL US WHAT YOU LIKE

You may have you spotted a little: "Help us improve this page" link on several strategic web pages? The folks at Website Surveys are providing us with this service to help you give us informal feedback on our web. Give it a try!

This is a precursor to the more formal and more important teacher/student project evaluation forms.


FIXING BUGS AND A NEW BABY NAMED TEELA

Tom Comeau

April 15, 1996
One of the great things about working at the Institute is that my bosses are pretty flexible about how we do our work, as long as things get done when they are needed.

It's late at night on the 15th, and I haven't been at work since the 10th, because on the evening of the 11th my daughter, Teela Justine, was born. Teela and her mom are both doing great.

I've been catching up on my e-mail. Mark (who leads one of our mini teams) described a problem he was having with the software I just delivered. I'm pretty sure it was just a configuration problem, and suggested some changes he might make to get things working.

Suzanne has a question about a problem the testers found. This turned out to be a real, though minor, problem. When the Ingest software has finished with a dataset, we generate a response file so the OPUS people know we are done. One thing we put in the response file is the date and time at which we finished the ingest. The dates are slightly off, and she knows why, but she had a couple of options for fixing the problem, and wanted my opinion on how to do it. I sent her a quick note about what I thought.

These two problems were minor, but they show the importance of having an independent tester look at our software before it goes into the real system. Fixing these problems on the real system would disrupt the work of many scientists and operations people, so we _really_ need to be sure bad software doesn't slip through.

And now I'm going to be off for three weeks to get to know my baby. I'll still be reading my mail every day or so, and if you send in a question about the Archive, you might get an answer from me. But this'll probably be my last journal for a while.

I'll be sure to do a journal about my first day back -- the shock of working again after a few weeks off will probably be interesting.


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