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Live from The Hubble Space Telescope

Program 3:

Announcing YOUR Results

Pictures from Outer Space
First aired live April 23, 1996, 13:00-14:00 Eastern

This program took the form of a highly interactive scientific symposium, oriented to students, announcing the first results achieved by Live from the Hubble Space Telescope. A live student audience of over one hundred joined Marc Buie and Heidi Hammel in STScI's main auditorium in Baltimore, with e-mail and CuSeeMe input from other students around the nation and the world. Heidi and Marc shared preliminary findings, and responded to comments based on the parallel work that's been done by students. We reviewed the questions which initially motivated student interest in Pluto and Neptune during the the "Great Planet Debate," and saw which have been answered and which required more analysis or research.

Live uplinks in America included the Buhl Planetarium at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (where students helped make our original planet selections via interactive technology) and Los Angeles, California, a school district making a major push to integrate the Internet into the curriculum. The program provided considerable "give and take" between the Planet Advocates and their student "Co-Investigators," as students witnessed live the process of testing scientific hypotheses, verifying results and sharing new findings with peers to substantiate their significance.

Videotaped sequences documented "A Day in the Life...," taking us behind the scenes as Heidi Hammel worked to transform raw planetary data into new knowledge: Heidi also planned to post a Field Journal of her image processing successes and (only temporary, we hope!) frustrations on-line. A second sequence documented the parallel process in one of our participating schools, where students employed user-friendly and freely accessible graphics packages to analyze the same data. To help explain the technical steps in image processing, we saw how the stunning images of the Eagle Nebula (as seen in the co-packaged poster) ends up on the cover of Time for Kids. Footage from giant storms on Earth, and images from HST and other spacecraft, allowed us to compare and contrast weather on Earth and our neighboring planets: we came to understand the dynamics underlying the images of (possible!) bright or dark clouds on Neptune, and seasonal changes (perhaps!) on Pluto.

The concluding tape sequence showed "What's Next?," describing the next HST Servicing Mission (slated for early 1997), plans for the first-ever spacecraft mission to study Pluto and Charon closeup, and initial concepts for a Next Generation Space Telescope, one of whose main functions would be to search for planets around other stars. Viewers were reminded about how to participate on-line, and how to utilize the project on tape after the live telecast.

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