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Welcome to the Journey to Palomar Webcast
in Coordination with the NASA LCROSS Mission

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Answers to additional Questions
will be added as received

From dflat95: What are sun shields made out of and why are they located where they are, why must the telescope be protected and why does it work better in the cold on the Webb telescope?

Answer from Dr. John Mather
They’re made of thin plastic films, very tough, like Mylar that is used for small helium balloons. They’re coated with material to make them reflect light, both visible and infrared, and to make them electrically conductive. So they will look shiny to us.They are located between the telescope and the Sun, a giant umbrella to cast a shadow.  The telescope needs to be in the dark to be able to see, and to be cold.  If the Sun were shining on the mirrors there would be a lot of glare.It needs to be cold so that it doesn’t emit its own infrared light.  Your body emits 500 watts of infrared power. If the telescope emitted infrared too, it would not be able to detect the infrared from the distant universe.

From Nicole 5th Grader:
Who was Hales dad?? and what inspired him to be a telescope builder?

Answer from: Todd & Robin MasonGeorge Ellery Hale’s father, William Hale, was a prominent real estate developer in Chicago.  After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed most of the city, William Hale began manufacturing the first hydraulic (steam-powered) elevators.  This allowed the first tall buildings to go up in Chicago as the city was rebuilt, and enabled tall buildings in the other major cities around the world.  Many of Chicago’s early “skyscrapers” were developed by William Hale.  This made him a very rich man who could support his son George’s ambitions in astronomy.William Hale wanted his son George to join his business.  But George Ellery Hale had discovered astronomy as a teenager and he never looked back.  Before the 1880s, nearly all of the best telescopes were in Europe and most of science was conducted there.  George Ellery Hale knew that America needed to catch up with Europe in astronomy.  In order to do that, America would need its own giant telescopes.

Fifth Grand Student Hellgate Elementary School in Missoula, MT
  • Are the JWST pictures going to be clearer than Hubble?
Answer from – Dr. John Mather
Yes.  Even in space we get fuzzy images because light is a wave and bends around obstacles.  And because JWST is much larger than HST, it catches a bigger piece of each incoming wave and can focus it better.  On the other hand, Hubble is capable of observing shorter waves than JWST. So for infrared light, JWST will give better images. For visible and ultraviolet light, HST is best.
  • How excited is NASA about the JWST?
Answer from – Dr. John Mather
NASA and astronomers worldwide have very high hopes for the JWST. It will push science far beyond what is possible with the HST, and follow up the fascinating questions that have come from recent discoveries.
  • Would people go live on any planets you find with life on them?
Answer from – Dr. John Mather
It is possible to get to Mars and live there, but even the other planets and satellites in the Solar System are too hostile for us to live on. And we have no known way to get out of the solar system with any kind of propulsion system we can imagine.
  • Will any of the space telescopes return to Earth?
Answer from – Dr. John Mather
We are planning to return the Hubble Space Telescope to Earth by making it dive into the Pacific Ocean. A long time ago it was hoped we could bring it back in the Space Shuttle and put it in the Air and Space Museum, but this has turned out to be too dangerous and expensive. We can’t leave it where it is, or else it might fall on an inhabited part of the Earth and hurt someone. This is the usual thing for space telescopes.But the JWST will be far from the Earth, and when it is no longer useful, it will be allowed to escape into orbit around the Sun.
  • How many scientists worked on JWST?

Answer from – Dr. John Mather
There are now about 2000 engineers and 100 scientists working on building JWST. When JWST is launched we expect about 3000 astronomers will observe with it.

  • How steep of an angle will the spacecraft impact the moon?

Answer from -- Brian Day
The exact angle at which the LCROSS Centaur will impact depends on our final choice of which permanently-shadowed crater we target, where in the crater we target, and when we impact. Our choice of target crater and time of impact will largely be determined by when the mission actually launches. However, regardless of when we launch and where we impact, we are planning to come in much steeper than the shallow 6.3 degree angle of Lunar Prospector's impact in 1999. LCROSS should have an impact angle of greater than 60 degrees.

  • How much longer will the Hubble Space Telescope be working?

Answer from – Dr. John Mather
The next servicing and upgrade mission is planned to keep the Hubble going through 2013.


Stony Point High School Round Ro:
  • Do you hope to expand the boundaries of the visible universe? –Christian
Answer from – Dr. Richard Ellis
Definitely. This is what makes astronomy so exciting! Imagine finding an object so far back in time that you consider it might be one of the earliest of all..and of course that nobody has even seen it before. Astronomy is all about pushing back frontiers - not just with very distant galaxies but also in locating modest planets around nearby stars. The Thirty Meter Telescope will have 9 times the collecting area of the 10 meter Keck and much sharper vision.
  • Is it true that we are on a collision coarse with Andromeda?
Answer from – Dr. Richard Ellis
Yes, but don't worry! It won't happen for several billion years and when two galaxies collide, there's no real "bang"..the
stars don't even touch one another. The reason Andromeda and the Milky Way are moving towards each other is the local gravity overcomes the expansion of the Universe.
  • Is it true that the center of our galaxy is a black hole?
Answer from – Dr. Richard Ellis
Yes, it's true. Astronomers in Germany and at UCLA pinpointed a black hole about 3 million times more massive than the sun by looking at the motions of stars around it. We can't see the black hole directly, of course, but we know for sure it's there.

  • If the telescope looks back 60 million light years, if we found evidence of life, would it be evidence that life existed 60 million years ago, or life now?

Answer from – Dr. Richard Ellis
It would be evidence that life existed 60 million years ago. And, if you think this is surprising, 60 million years is a blink of an eye for an astronomer. We have the potential with the next generation of telescopes to study the chemical history of the Universe over the past 10 *billion*
years..back to a time when the solar system didn't even exist!

Answer from Wendy Freedman
It would be evidence of life as it was when the light left the planet; that is, 60 million years ago.

  • What is the life span of the James Webb telescope?
Answer from – Dr. Richard Ellis
We’re requiring 5 years and planning for 10 years.

  • Does the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hinder the
    images of space?

Answer from Wendy Freedman
Fortunately not at the optical wavelengths where we are observing.

  • Who will continue Hale's work on the Universe?

Answer from Wendy Freedman
Many astronomers are doing just that! In solar astronomy, there is a new Advanced Technology Solar Telescope that is currently in the design phase, and that solar astronomers plan to complete in the next decade. This telescope will continue Hale' s legacy in studies of the Sun. As for the other mysteries of the expanding universe, as first revealed by the Mount Wilson 100-inch telescope, that quest is being pursued with the Hubble Space Telescope, telescopes currently on the
ground, and the future telescopes (including the GMT, TMT and JSWT)
that are being planned now. Hale unquestionably started a revolution
that continues to this day!

  • What part Americans play in helping to unlock the mysteries
    of the universe?

Answer from Wendy Freedman
In the first half of the 20th century, American astronomers played the dominant role in helping to unlock the mysteries of the universe. This was due almost entirely to the accessibility of the telescopes that were Hale's vision.

  • Was the Hubble Telescope based on Hale's telescopes but with more
    modern technology?

Answer from Wendy Freedman
All of today's telescopes follow on Hale's original concept using
large reflecting mirrors. The Hubble Space Telescope is no exception.
Hale (and Hubble) would have been thrilled to see this concept
extended to space, high above the turbulence of the Earth's atmosphere.

  • How may Hale's mental problems help or hinder his development of telescope technology?
Answer from Todd & Robin Mason
Hale’s medical records have never been found and studied by experts.  In his letters, Hale describes numerous ailments, among them are three “nervous breakdowns,” which is why many people assume he suffered from some form of mental illness.  In his time, they called his condition “Neurasthenia,” but this is not a medical term today, so it’s not verifiable that he actually had any form of mental illness.  But even if he did, it didn’t affect the development of telescope technology at all, since he had many expert scientists and engineers all working together to build his giant telescopes.
  • How did Hale die?

Answer from – Todd & Robin Mason
George Ellery Hale died in 1938 at the age of 69.  He had suffered a stroke in 1936 and was in fragile health from then on.  He had high blood pressure also, throughout most of his adult life, which was not treatable in his time, as it is today.  High blood pressure is one known cause of stroke.  It’s not known exactly how he died, but he either died of natural causes, or may have had a second stroke.

  • How long would it take to form a colony of people on the moon?

Answer from -- Brian Day
NASA experts are still in the early stages of planning our lunar outpost. (Interestingly, members of congress have suggested that the outpost be named the "Neil A. Armstrong Lunar Outpost".) Before anyone can make an accurate estimate of how long it will take to build this outpost, we need to know just where we will establish this outpost and how we will go about living on the moon. This includes knowing what resources we will have to bring with us and what resources we can find on the moon. These are questions that the LCROSS and LRO missions are designed to help us answer, beginning in 2009. After these initial robotic explorations, we could possibly have humans return to the moon and start living in an outpost there in the 2020s. It is important to keep in mind that at this point we are not talking about a large colony where people would live their entire lives. Our first lunar outpost could be a place where astronauts could live and work for months at a time, similar to the way astronauts today live and work in orbit aboard the International Space Station.  

  • Would that water need to be filtered? Or could people visiting the
    Moon use the water as is?

Answer from -- Brian Day
If deposits of water ice are found on the moon, scientists will certainly want to study them before we start using them for our outpost. Based on the best evidence we have so far, we don't expect to find big sheets of ice on the lunar surface. It seems more likely that any ice at the moon's poles will be pretty well mixed in with the lunar soil and probably concentrated beneath the surface. It's a pretty safe bet that we'll have to filter or in some other way separate the soil from the water that we may find on the moon.

  • Why was Hale's story forgotten?
Answer from – Todd & Robin Mason
There may be a few reasons.  For one thing, Hale was a very modest man and tried to promote the achievements of his colleagues and of science in general in order to take the spotlight off of himself.  It’s true that Hale didn’t build his giant telescopes alone; it took rich philanthropists and teams of scientists, engineers and workers to build Hale’s observatories.  But Hale was always the person who led the effort.Also, when NASA was formed in the second half of the 20th century, it’s achievements like the Moon landing and many other spectacular achievements may have overshadowed Hale’s story.
  • What was Hale's inspiration to study astronomy and build great telescopes?
Answer from – Todd & Robin Mason
George Ellery Hale had discovered astronomy as a teenager and he never looked back.  Before the 1880s, nearly all of the best telescopes were in Europe and most of science was conducted there.  George Ellery Hale knew that America needed to catch up with Europe in astronomy.  In order to do that, America would need its own giant telescopes.
  • What is the megatelescope made out of?

Answer from – Dr. John Mather
The big mirrors are beryllium, the supports are made out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, and the instrument package is made out of many different materials like aluminum and silicon carbide and beryllium.  And the small parts inside are made of practically every familiar material.

Answer from - Wendy Freedman
The GMT will be comprised of seven 8.4-meter reflecting mirrors (made
of borosilicate glass). The mount of the telescope and the enclosure
will be made primarily of steel.



  • Since they are lightweight; why don't we use Beryllium mirrors on earth?
Answer from – Dr. John Mather
Beryllium mirrors are very hard to make, which means they’re expensive. The lightweight ones we’re building for JWST are also quite delicate. Beryllium is not very common on Earth, so it’s hard to get, and the beryllium powders are dangerous for humans, so we have to be very careful with it.

Remick_batt school juno beach florida, seventh grade:

  • Once you find ice on the moon, what is next? What impact on human race will it have if this mission succeeds?

Answer from -- Brian Day
If we find water ice on the moon, scientists will be very interested in closely studying it. Careful examination of lunar ice could help us better understand the Earth, specifically where our water here on Earth came from. Many scientists think that the water on Earth and the moon may have originally come from further out in the solar system and might possibly have been delivered here by comets. Studying ancient deposits of water ice on the moon could help us better understand this.
  Also, if there is a ready supply of water ice on the moon, this could be a very valuable resource. Inhabitants of a lunar outpost could make many uses of water on the moon, uses that might go beyond what you might first think of. Water could be mixed with lunar soil and rock to make concrete as a building material. The hydrogen and oxygen in the water can be separated for use in air to breathe and in fuel.
  Our outpost on the moon will be just a first step. Through it we will learn how to live for extended time in deep space. What we learn on the moon will be very useful to us as we later go on to Mars and beyond.

  • Can you explain adaptive optics?

Answer from – Dr. Richard Ellis
Adaptive optics is the name given to a wonderful technique whereby astronomers can correct an incoming light beam for the blurring and distortion that was caused in its path through the Earth's atmosphere. How is this possible? We monitor the signal from either a bright star, or an artificial star (created by shining a laser into the sky so it reflects of sodium atoms high up in the atmosphere) along the line of sight to the astronomical object.A sensor picks up the distorted signal from the *reference star* and sends a correcting electronic message to a clever mirror, made from many independent little
mirrors, so that the light beam is reformed as if it hadn't been distorted. The result is a wonderfully sharp image.The Thirty Meter Telescope will be the first telescope that has adaptive optics built-in by design on day 1. All other telescopes had it added on after the telescope was built.

Answer from Wendy Freedman
Very briefly, adaptive optics is a technique that allows astronomers to correct for the effects of turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere. By observing very bright stars (even artifical stars created by
lasers), a correction can be applied to the position of the mirrors
on very rapid (thousandths of a second!) timescales. These
corrections increase the resolution (clarity) of the astronomical

  • how long did it take to build these telescopes?
Answer from – Todd & Robin Mason
George Ellery Hale and his colleagues built four giant nighttime telescopes.  The first, the Yerkes 40-inch refractor, took about five years to build (1892-1897).  The second, the Mount Wilson 60-inch reflector (with a mirror 60 inches, or 5 feet in diameter) took about four years to build (1904-1908).  The third, the Mount Wilson 100-inch reflector took about 11 years to build (1906-1917), partly because the team had to set aside their work to help with the war effort in World War I.  The fourth was the giant 200-inch reflector on Palomar mountain.  It took about 20 years to build (1928-1948), partly because of the Great Depression, and partly because the astronomers had to stop working on the mirror and, again, help with the war effort during World War II. 
  • have you had any previous jobs in NASA
Answer from – Todd & Robin Mason
Actually, we don’t work for NASA and never have.  We are independent filmmakers from Los Angeles.  We are only collaborating with NASA for this student webcast.  In our career, we have worked mostly on video projects for large corporations (training and promotional films).  This is our first major television documentary. 
  • how do you transport a telescope as large as this?
Answer from   – Todd & Robin Mason
The parts for Hale’s giant telescopes were transported separately by train and ship and assembled at their final locations at the observatories.  We talk about this a lot in The Journey to Palomar because it’s very interesting!  For example, the giant glass disc for the Palomar 200-inch mirror was 17 feet in diameter (200 inches).  That’s about the size of a living room.  One reason they didn’t make it even bigger was that it had to be transported upright on a train from New York to California and had to fit through tunnels and under bridges that weren’t much higher than 17 feet.  In fact, they had to build a special train car for the disc called a “well-hole car,” that was lower than a regular car, in order for the mirror disc to clear the railroad tunnels and bridges.

  • how big is the biggest lens on the palomar telescope?
Answer from – Todd & Robin Mason
The Palomar 200-inch telescope is a reflecting telescope.  That means that it uses a series of mirrors instead of lenses to bring the light of a distant object to a focus.  The primary mirror disc is 17 feet in diameter (or 200 inches).George Ellery Hale’s first giant telescope was a refracting telescope, which uses lenses to focus the light.  This is the Yerkes refracting telescope, with primary lenses 40 inches in diameter (3 feet, 4 inches).  It was completed in 1897 and is still the largest refracting telescope in the world today! 

  • how did you make the huge lens?
Answer from -- Todd & Robin Mason
The Journey to Palomar is the story of how George Ellery Hale and his colleagues built the four biggest telescopes in the world and used them to discover the universe.  Hale’s giant telescopes were built with money from the richest men in the world, plus teams of engineers, scientists, glass, steel and iron factory workers, all combining their skills and efforts toward completion of the telescopes.  But it wasn’t easy and they had many failures and setbacks.  It’s a great story!  The Journey to Palomar premieres nationwide on PBS beginning November 10, 2008.  Check your local TV listings for the time and date in your area.  You can also learn more at our website:


  • why was nasa created?
Answer from – Dr. John Mather
NASA was created in response to the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik.  The US was very concerned about the Soviet nuclear threat to our security and its attempt to impose Communism on the entire world.  NASA was formed to carry out peaceful scientific research and technology development, as well as to demonstrate the leadership of the US in world affairs. It has been amazingly successful. 


  • have you ever met person that made the telescope
Answer from – Todd & Robin Mason
We have never met George Ellery Hale; he died in 1938.  But we did meet a man named Walter Smith who worked on Hale’s last giant telescope, the Palomar 200-inch Telescope.  He talks about the experience in our film The Journey to Palomar.  We did meet some of George Ellery Hale’s grandchildren, who told us about many interesting memories of their grandfather, George Ellery Hale. 

  • how long did it take to make the movie
Answer from – Todd & Robin Mason
It took several years to make The Journey to Palomar.  An astronomer friend of ours suggested the story to us.  First, we had to spend a long time learning all about the story by studying many books and letters and hunting for photographs and film footage in many different parts of the U.S.  We also traveled to all of Hale’s observatories and shot our own footage.  We worked with actors to re-create scenes of Hale.  We are independent filmmakers and PBS did not hire us to make this film.  So we had to raise money and convince PBS to broadcast the film, which also took a long time.  In addition to skill, it also takes great patience and optimism to make a film, just as it does to build a giant telescope! 
  • how many telescopes did that guy make?
Answer from – Todd & Robin Mason
George Ellery Hale and his colleagues built four giant nighttime telescopes (to look stars and other objects visible at night) and also three giant “solar” telescopes to study the Sun (the nearest star to Earth). 

Mrs. Peterson's Classroom and Jalynn has a question
  • Do scientists know exactly where the black holes are?

Answer from   – Dr. John Mather
We have found a lot of them now.  Most of them are very large and are located in the centers of galaxies. We find them because material that is drawn into them gets extremely hot and rotates very fast. As a result we get X-rays and radio waves as well as visible light from this material, and we can detect them at immense distances. Some of the most distant objects ever discovered are quasars, which look like stars but are trillions of times more luminous. Each quasar seems to be powered by a black hole in the center. 

Stony Point High School Round Ro:

• Do you hope to expand the boundaries of the visible universe? –Christian

Answer from Wendy Freedman
As time passes, more of the universe becomes visible to us. The extent of the visible universe is set by the age of the universe and the speed of light. But even the part of the universe that is visible today has only barely begun to be studied. The next generation of telescopes now being planned will allow us to see galaxies and black holes actually assembling (and colliding with each other!) at early times in the universe.

  • Is it true that we are on a collision coarse with Andromeda?

Answer from Wendy Freedman
Yes, but not for billions of years (long after the Sun itself has burned out).

  • Is it true that the center of our galaxy is a black hole?

Answer from Wendy Freedman
Yes, indeed. New measurements of stars around the center of the galaxy show that these stars are moving at enormous speeds (thousands of kilometers per second!), which can only be explained by the presence of a black hole.


>> Welcome, everybody.
I'm the chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and I'll be your host for our webcast today. Before we begin, I would like to thank our sponsors for their generous support of our program. They are the Northrop Grumman Space Technology Center, the James Webb Space Telescope, Honeywell, and the Planners Collaborative at the NASA Ames Research Center.
The Journey to Palomar is a wonderful film that’s premiering on PBS beginning November 10th. Please check your local listings for dates and times in your area.
The journey of Palomar is about the life and times of the most remarkable scientists of the 20th century, George Ellery Hale. It has been said that George Ellery Hale did for the entire universe what Christopher Columbus did only for the Earth.
He built the biggest telescopes of the 20th century four times over and in doing so it led to the greatest discovery since Galileo.
Because of George HALE mankind discovered the universe.
Most people have never heard of him.
His legacy, though, is also important because he paved the way for his fellow astronauts, researchers and today's generation of scientists.
Now today we're going to hear more about that from the filmmakers of the journey to Palomar and learn about how NASA is planning to use Hubble space telescope and other giant telescopes to find water on the Moon.
We'll also get a preview of other giant telescopes of the future that will work both in space and on the ground that will have greater resolving power than even Hubble space telescope.
Now please go ahead and enter your questions into the chatroom as we go along.
We'll also take questions from our audience at the Ames Research Center and after we've heard from all our guests we'll look forward to a lively discussion based on your questions.
Now I'd like to introduce you to the producers of the journey to Palomar, Todd and robin Mason who will give you preview of the new documentary.

>> Thanks, Derrick.
I think it's important to remember that before NASA took us to the Moon, George Hale took all of us to the stars and did it not with space ships, but with giant mirrors collecting lights from the distant parts of universe.
He kept making bigger and bigger telescopes and finally it got so big that the telescope required a mirror that was 17 feet across.
It took 20 years to construct this gigantic telescope.
The mirror was so difficult to construct that just the mirror alone to collect this distant starlight so they could look at the distant parts of the universe took 11 years to polish and grind to perfection.
If you were to enlarge the Palomar mirror to the size of the United States there would be no bump or dimple more than two inches.
A level of engineering thought to be impossible in the early 1930s when it was started and it almost was.
That's what we talk about in our film, amongst many other things.
But primarily our film is about George Hale and the difficult life he led to overcome personal difficulties, challenges from professional rivals and most importantly, the daunting engineering challenges that kept bothering him his entire life but he kept going and the film really is a celebration of the American can-do spirit.
Robin has a few things to say about George Hale, too.

>> I was just going to add we spent the last several years investigating George Hale's story and what we discovered is that he spent his whole life building these telescopes.
The telescope that you see here, the Palomar telescope that Todd was talking about was the last telescope that he built.
Before that he did it three other times that he built the largest telescope in the world.
And so what that meant was that Hale's telescopes were America's space program before NASA came along.
When NASA came along, their achievements were so spectacular with the Moon landing and the space shuttle and all the other amazing things that they've done that Hale's story kind of, you know, has been forgotten over the years and it is really important that we bring that story back because Hale's story is what led to all the marvels we see today like the Hubble space telescope and all the telescopes that we'll talk about today.
So we've brought today a short sample for you of the journey to Palomar, the story of Hale's life and would like to take a look at that.

>> George Hale built the largest telescopes in the world leading to the greatest discovery since Galileo and .
This is the dramatic story of America's first journey into space.
With the new solar telescopes on mount Wilson, Hale dove into his own research on the Sun.
The image created by the solar tower was the best anyone had ever seen.

>> One of the famous discoveries that Hale was to make was the Sun has a magnetic field.
That it's a giant magnet.

>> Hale's discovery of magnetic fields placed magnetism in the cosmic framework.

>> I've been carried away by the solar whirl winds.
One day last week a solar prominence was drawn into a sunspot within a few minutes.
The whole matter is so interesting that I find time for nothing else.
Hale felt well enough to meet with Einstein to discuss why the universe seemed to be exploding.

>> One of the motives was to settle this question of is the universe expanding forever.
Will the expansion eventually stop or is there something more sinister going on?

>> He studied pressures and temperatures and atomic reactions far beyond anything possible on Earth.
Hale was offering the heavens, his price tag was $6 million.
The telescope would present the greatest technological challenge of Hale's life.

>> Hale decided this telescope was going to be built knowing full well that the way to do it wasn't yet known.

>> At 1 million pounds the Palomar telescope wouldway more than 100 inch.
Massive supports of some kind would be needed.
The biggest problem was the glass.
He would have four times the surface area and eight times of the mass of the 100 inch mirror.
When the glass giant finally appeared from the fog, the observatory doors opened to accept the precious cargo, the telescope had been waiting for nearly 12 years.
The astronomers had been waiting much longer.

>> Astronomy is an adventure.
Why are we here?
How big is the universe?
Of course we're only part way through answering many of those questions.

>> Much of the universe remains a profound mystery.
The rate of expansion appears to be accelerating.
Most of the mass in the universe seems to be invisible.
The evolution of galaxies is only partly understood and life elsewhere in the universe has yet to be detected.

>> Well, we hope you tune in to watch this broadcast.
It will be on PBS and you'll be able to watch it starting November 10th.
Now, some of the PBS stations across the country may air it at a different date.
We know in Los Angeles it will be on on the 15th.
Check your local listings.
The name of the film is "the journey to Palomar" and talk about what we'll talk about today.

>> It's about Hale.
It's a lot of fun in addition to being an important story.
I wanted to tell the teachers out there there is also a teacher guide that accompanies the documentary and that will be available at slash journey to Palomar complete with images that can be used in the last room.
The other thing I wanted to mention is the journey to Palomar is based on a wonderful book called "the perfect machine."
It goes a lot more into the engineering details and things about the Palomar telescope that we weren't able to cover in the film.
There is a lot to the story.
That's available in paper back from and I should mention, too, this webcast will be archived after today at the same website where you signed on for the chatroom and got the video feed so you can watch it at a later time if you didn't get it to show it to your class today.
Let me go back to Derrick and we'll take it from there.

>> Thanks Todd and Robin.
It sounds like an incredible story.
It looks fascinating.
Some of the key technologies used on Hubble space telescope were first used on the 200 inch telescope that Hale built on Palomar mountain.
In a few months NASA will mount a mission up to Hubble space telescope for its final repair mission and the goal, of course, is to keep Hubble active at least until 2013.
At that point, what will happen after that, well, there will be a new telescope that comes along.
We'll get to that in a second.
The idea is to keep it working for a few more years.
NASA will use the Hubble space telescope in conjunction with its lunar crater observation and sensing satellite mission to look for water on the Moon.
Here is Brian Day of NASA Ames Research Center to tell us more about it.

>> Thank you very much, Derrick, I appreciate it.
The story of the journey to Palomar is a story of the great telescopes of the world and the wonderful things that we have learned from them.
Now, many of the great telescopes of the world are about to be used in support of our next venture to the Moon and what I would like to do is take a few moments to show you some images here.
The exciting thing is yes, we are going back to the Moon.
We're planning to have a human outpost on the Moon in the 20/20s.
Now, one of the things you'll certainly want to have on the Moon is water.
Water is important not only for drinking but making oxygen to breathe, hydrogen for fuel.
It is a very versatile resource.
If we can find water on the Moon, that would make life a lot easier.
Water is very heavy and expensive to carry to the Moon.
The problem is, every place we've been on the Moon, every place we've landed, we've found the Moon to be very, very dry.
Almost no water at all.
However, some of our previous orbiters, the Clementine and lunar prospector missions defected possible signs there may, emphasize may, be water ice at the poles of the Moon.
Specifically we're looking at permanently shadowed craters at the poles of the Moon.
At the poles of the Moon there are craters where the sunlight never shines.
These places have been dark for billions of years.
They are very, very dark and very, very cold and may be places where water ice could have accumulated.
So how do we find out if there really is water there and if so, how much?
We will have two new robotic probes going to the Moon next year.
The lunar reconnaissance orbiter and LCROSS.
The Renaissance will study the Moon in fine detail.
LCROSS will excavate one of the permanently shadowed craters.
It will do this by using the two-ton upper stage of our Moon rocket as than impacter.
That upper stage will impact the floor of the crater at 2.5 kilometers per second.
That's about 5600 miles-per-hour.
Significantly faster than a speeding bullet but a whole lot heavier.
When it hits it will create a large plume of debris arching high into the lunar sky.
The LCROSS mission actually consists of two components.
There is the upper stage of our Moon rocket that takes us out of Earth orbit into the Moon and then above that built by our friends at Northrup Grumman is the shepherding spacecraft.
It directs the centaur to its target at the Moon and carries a number of instruments that will analyze the plume the centaur creates and let us know what it's made out of them.
Both of them will launch together in 2009 aboard the same launch vehicle.
Atlas V rocket.
It will take us out of Earth orbit toward the Moon.
Two hours after launch LRO will separate and continue on its own path to the Moon.
LCROSS will remain attached to the centaur upper stage five days after launch, we do a fly-by of the Moon.
That's not the end of our trip to the Moon.
That's just the beginning.
We use the Moon's gravity to sling us into a highly inclined orbit around the entire Earth/Moon system.
Big, long looping orbits, 38 days for each loop.
The idea being that when we reencounter the Moon again, we'll do so coming in at a very steep angle relative to the Moon's pole.
About nine hours before we finally get to the Moon, we will separate from the centaur.
We will perform a breaking maneuver so our robotic spacecraft will pull back four minutes behind the centaur.
The centaur again will hit and excavate tons of material into the lunar sky.
The LCROSS spacecraft will get a nice view of that impact and over the next four minutes will descend directly through that plume of debris sampling it and telling us what it's made of.
In addition, the great telescopes of the world located in observatories such as up in Hawaii and the west coast will be observing the plume as will the Hubble space telescope in Earth orbit and as you'll see in the journey to Palomar, Edwin Hubble, who the Hubble space telescope is named after is -- there is a spacecraft in lunar orbit that will observe and study the plume that's created.
Here you can see the spacecraft actually being getting ready at Northrup Grumman.
It's completed and awaiting transport to Florida for launch.
It is a very exciting time for us.
In addition, we think that amateur astronomers and people with backyard telescopes will be able to observe the impact plume so we're highly encouraging people to get out there and observe and record this exciting event.
Students will also be involved in helping us track the spacecraft and monitor its health and status while it's in flight.
To do this they'll be using the big -- some of the big dishes at gold stone in conjunction with our partners at the Lewis center for educational research.
Now, coming up here we have, as Derrick mentioned, a rather exciting space shuttle mission.
We're going to be sending astronauts up to service the Hubble space telescope one last time, make sure that it's working well for the LCROSS mission as well as continuing to operate well until it can be replaced by the next generation of great space telescopes.

>> Thanks very much, Brian, that does sound exciting.
I know everybody will look forward to that.
I certainly will.
Maybe I'll have a chance to see the plume from our observatory at the Franklin in Philadelphia.
There is another telescope coming along right after Hubble space telescope that will move into position and we're about to see a short video clip about that telescope, the James Webb telescope.
By the way, the clip that you're about to see and the rest of the videos are part of a DVD -- part of DVD special features from the journey to Palomar home video DVD.
Let's take a look at this preview of the James Webb space telescope.

>> The James Webb space telescope is the planned successor for the Hubble space telescope launched in 2013 when the Hubble is expected to be near the end of its life.
Both of these telescopes have extended the science pioneered by George Hale by his great telescopes here on the ground.
We go into space because the Earth's atmosphere prevents us seeing a certain wavelength and it's turbulent and we only get distorted images through air.
Unlike the Hubble, the purpose of that is to enable it to get cold.
When the telescope is launched it is all folded up inside the top of the rocket.
When it reaches space and unfolds, the telescope will come out and the Sun shade which has five layers will unfold.
The solar panels will unfold, the antenna will unfold and the observatory will become a single giant telescope hidden behind a five layer Sun shield.
In the end, the telescope will get down to 40 degrees -- minus 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
The new telescope will have a diameter of 260 inches corner to corner across the giant hexagon.
The hexagon is made of 18 smaller hexagons.
After the mirrors are adjusted we expect to move them a few nanometers every few weeks.
We chose ver millium for the mirrors.
It keeps it shape better when it's cold.
All these are difficult because the mirrors have to be extremely lightweight so the things that we would do on the ground for a telescope don't work in space.
We can't afford to lift that much weight.
If we were to build a telescope the way we built the Hubble we have no rocket to lift it.

>> I would just like to remind our audience we'll be happy to take your questions about anything you see during this webcast.
On the website you'll see that there is a location where you can submit your questions that we'll be answering at the end of this interview section and don't forget if you are in the live audience there we'll also be looking for your questions, too.
So get your questions ready and we'll be coming to you in not too long.
With me here at the space flight center in Maryland is the science director for the James Webb space telescope Dr. John Mather who will tell us more about this amazing project.
Dr. Mather?

>> First I want to tell you about James Webb.
He was the second administrator of NASA and persuaded John Kennedy to commit the nation going to the Moon.
He brought science into NASA and built up the university science within NASA projects.
We owe him a debt of gratitude for his leadership.
Why are we building the telescope this way?
We need to look at infrared light which comes from the most distant universe because of the cosmic red shift and objects like planets not hot enough to have visible light.
The themes are all parts of our human quest to know how we got here.
I wanted to know when I was five years old and my father could not tell me.
The four parts that astronomers can work on first what happened after the big bang.
We know it happened 13.7 billion years ago and the universe expanded and cooled off and sometime later the first stars and something else burned out in a hurry, three million years for each one.
This is a photo taken by the Hubble space telescope.
A time exposure that took us two weeks to get.
It tells us these beautiful galaxies are not the first objects in the universe.
They would be too faint, too far away and too red to be seen with the Hubble.
We need a telescope that can see farther away and fainter things and capable of observing much longer wavelengths because the expanding universe has stretched out the wavelengths they want to see.
The next big question of how we got here is how did our own galaxy form from the primordial material?
We have a simple story that small galaxies formed first.
It shows us what Hubble can tell us about the collisions.
Hubble cannot see far back enough in time to tell us how the big things we see here got started.
We need the JWST to do that.
We have computer simulations that tell us what might have happened but we just don't know.
There is one really huge mystery about galaxies.
Every one seems to have a giant black hole in the middle which came first, did the black hole cause the galaxy to grow around it and what happens when two galaxy collide and each one has a black hole in the middle.
We hope to look far enough back in time to see the first steps.
The next big question for astronomers is how do stars like our own Sun form?
The next picture shows what we think might happen.
But this is just a story, a concept.
Even though we have lots of equations we don't know.
We do know that it is happening right now at many places near us in the Milky Way and we know that we can't see it directly because it happens in dusty places.
The next picture shows us one of those dusty places.
This is the eagle nebula, one of Hubble's most popular and beautiful pictures that shows brand-new stars burning near a dusty region where they were born.
The dust is blocking our view of the cradle and we can't see inside.
None of the things on that concept drawing that I just showed you are visible inside that cloud so what are we going to do about it?
We need to use infrared light.
This is taken with a big telescope on the ground in the mountains in chili and it's different.
We can see inside the dust.
We still can't see the ones that are just beginning to grow.
For that we need the James Webb space telescope which will be many times more sensitive than what we've had before.
That's because the things we want to see are too cool to emit at wavelengths that will pass through the Earth's atmosphere and ground-based telescopes are warm enough to glow at infrared wavelengths.
You'll see pictures of some of these magnificent giant telescopes built here on the ground but they won't be able to do what James Webb telescope can do.
The next big theme for astronomers is what about the planets and how is it that the Earth is capable of supporting life?
In the next picture I show one planet that is already close to being detected directly.
This is an artist's concept of the star in the southern fish, constellation in the southern sky and one of the brightest stars in the sky.
The ring is off center.
The best explanation there is probably a planet there as big as Jupiter or bigger and pulling the dust ring off center.
We're pretty sure the James Webb telescope will see the planet directly and people are trying hard to see it even sooner.
We would like to know more about Earth.
We have two ways.
One is to study Earth-like planets around other stars.
We're getting closer and closer to finding them.
When we do some of them will go between us and their parent stars and they will block some of the light.
They call this a transit.
We know we can see this happen with big planets and we've already seen quite a few.
And we can begin to learn about the chemistry of those other planets and maybe with some luck we can find signs of life on another planet by this technique.
So to summarize, the James Webb telescope will be used to study our own history by looking back at the universe from the beginning to the formation of the first stars and galaxies to the formation of our own solar system and the possibility of life right here.
Thank you.

>> Thank you very much, Dr. Mather.
I love the part about you wanted to know when you were five years old yet your father couldn't tell you.
This expression of curiosity is one I'm sure that is shared by many scientists and I suspect to a great degree certainly by George Hale as well.
Now we'll learn--

>> May I interrupt you for a moment?
Our live classroom has lost connection.
We would like to take a moment to connect them back in if that would be possible.

>> Sure.
That will be fine.
In the meantime while they're coming on board, as I was saying I'm sure that curiosity is one of those aspects that has driven you in your pursuit of science.
Would you say that's something that you find shared by most scientists?

>> Yes, I think it's shared by many people.
Most people are curious.
It is what makes us human and so wherever I go people want to know how did this happen?
If we're here, how did that happen?
And mankind has been telling ourselves for many, many thousands of years how did this happen but now we have some actual measurements.
We're beginning to look back in time enough to know.

>> When we look at this telescope itself, the James Webb telescope I'm curious about the mirrors.
Can you tell us just a little bit about the mirror?

>> Yes, Beryllium is an unusual material to use for mirrors.
It's metal and extremely lightweight and tough.
We chose it because it works very well at very low temperatures where the telescope will operate.
So it's the only technology that was ready to build this observatory.

>> These mirrors, though, when you say the temperature for where this telescope is going to be located.
It won't be like Hubble that orbits around the Earth.
It will sit at one location?

>> It will be a million miles from Earth.
A good place for a telescope to get cold.
We can put up this strange looking umbrella you see in the picture that protects the telescope from the Sun and Earth and let the heat go to outer space.

>> An infrared telescope based on income a very cold location so that helps to increase its sensitivity?

>> Yes.
It's what makes it special and why we can't do this observatory on the ground.

>> This is a remarkable telescope.
I understand it's also quite large.
The Sun shields are enormous.

>> The shield itself is about as big as a tennis court.
It's huge.
Our telescope is 6 1/2 meters or 21 feet across, which is huge for a space telescope.
It's about 2 1/2 times as big as the Hubble.
But it is still small compared with the telescopes we'll build on the ground here and some already are twice as large as that on the ground.
So ground telescopes have this huge advantage that we can build them big.

>> Now, one of the interesting things about the mirror itself as you said it's about 21 1/2 feet.
If I'm not mistaken that's a little bit larger than Hale's 200 inch reflecting telescope.

>> It's a little bit bigger but its major advantage is it's in outer space where there is no air to bother it and it can be cold.

>> We'll be able to control the telescope from Earth without too much difficulty.
One of the things mentioned in the introduction there are fine adjustments that will be made to the telescope during its operation.

>> That's right.
The telescope is launched in the condition where it's not a telescope yet.
The mirrors are folded up and not in the right place.
After we launch it and deploy it and put all the parts in place, then we have to adjust so that each one of those 18 pieces of the primary mirror is actually in the right place to be part of a single giant mirror.
We have the little motors and screws to do that.

>> Just wanted to let you know we have the classroom back now.
Thank you.

>> Great.
Thank you very much.
So as I said now we'll learn more about the next generation of giant telescopes on the ground.
Thank you very much, Dr. Mather for explaining the details about the space telescope.
Everybody is interested in that.
2013 is the launch date for that?

>> Yes.

>> Fabulous.
There are other larger ground-based instruments that will continue George Hale's scientific quest to understand the universe.
He founded the Carnegie -- the observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington when he began his Mt. Wilson observatory in 1904 above Los Angeles.
Today Wendy Friedman is the director of the Carnegie observatories.
They're building the guy--

>> One of the biggest questions that we're trying to address with this telescope is following on the quest started by Hale to look further and further back into the universe.
The giant telescope will be able to see back to the earliest moments when we could actually detect the light from objects.
That is when the first stars would form, the first galaxies could form.
The first black holes and with the giant telescope we'll be able to witness directly those events.
Giant Magellan telescope is a 25 meter telescope, a segmented mirror in the sense it will have seven giant segments.
It will be in the ANDES mountains in Chile.
300 nights a year are clear.
It's away from city lights and the atmosphere is very stable.
Astronomical seeing, very good sight.
The advantage of this design is that we can take seven mirrors independently, each of which is 25 feet in diameter and allow them to focus the light to a common point as a single telescope.
At the back of each of the mirrors, there are a series of what are known as actuators that can put a force on the back of the mirror to change the shape of the mirror and it can do that on very short time scales.
There will be 4,000 of these actuators for the entire giant Magellan mirror.
We have a secondary mirror so the light bounces off the primary and hits a secondary mirror near the top of the telescope.
The secondary mirror is also composed of seven smaller segments, each one of which will correct the light from each of the primary mirrors.
It's in this way we can achieve a resolution ten times that of the Hubble.
The challenge of the 1980s was coming up with a way to make mirrors that would be more lightweight than the mirrors at Palomar.
One of the ways that was done to do that was to create an oven in which to cast the mirror.
An oven that is spinning.
You take chunks of glass, put them into the oven and then as the glass is melting, you get the parabolic shape of the mirror that you want.
Then unlike Palomar where you had to grind off much of the glass to get the parabolic shape of the mirror to bring the light to a focus, much of that has already been done for you.
What that gives you in the end is a lightweight mirror.
Much lighter, for example, than the mirrors at Palomar which is solid and it lets you control the temperature of the mirror very accurately which leads to stability of the mirror and better resolution and focus.

>> As we view these programs segments I would encourage our audience, when the program comes on, to think about how George Hale might have felt if he could be here today to see how these mirrors are created.
Let me take a moment to remind our audience we'll take your questions online at the website and we'll also take questions from the audience so those of you that are in the live audience get your questions ready and those of you listening online if you're right there at the website you'll find there is a space for us to take your questions.
Be sure to get them ready and submit them there so we can have a lively discussion session after we're done with the major portion of the webcast here.
Joining us now from the jet propulsion laboratories in Pasadena, California is Dr. Wendy Friedman to tell us more about the giant Magellan telescope.
Dr. Friedman.

>> The giant Magellan telescope will have 20 million times the light collecting power of the human eye.
A staggering step forward.
It will have seven primary mirrors.
As we heard this telescope will be over 80 feet in diameter so it's a remarkable step from the first telescopes of George Hale and in answer to your question, Derrick, I think he would be quite thrilled to see the progress today in astronomy with Hubble, James Webb and our new generation of telescopes.
Hale was very interested in stars himself.
He was interested ultimately in understanding the nature of stars, how they might evolve.
Where the chemical elements might have come from.
With the discoveries of Edwin Hubble early in the 20th century we began to learn the universe is a very dynamic place.
There are other galaxies in addition to our own Milky Way galaxy and the universe is taking part in a giant overall expansion.
Those discoveries which were not even imagined before Hale set on his quest to build the telescopes revolutioned the nature of the universe we live in.
The next generation of telescopes we know we live in the Milky Way galaxy not dissimilar to the galaxy behind me but we don't know how those galaxies assembled.
There is a period in which literally we know nothing.
Our knowledge of the universe ends, Hubble can take us so far and we can learn about the earliest moments of the universe after the big bang say about 400,000 years after the big bang but there is a period where we have not yet seen back and witnessed directly where galaxies are forming, where the first black holes form and so on.
And these new generation of telescopes will allow us to do that, to witness these events directly.
We also didn't know even a decade ago, just over a decade ago was this discovery of the first planet outside of our own solar system.
And 400 years ago this year coming up 2009 marks the year of astronomy.
We thought at that time that the Earth was the center of the universe and in the last decade what we've learned -- I'll come back to the nature of our position in the universe.
What we have learned is that the planets in addition to those in our own solar system.
And in fact there are a few hundred of those and climbing.
We still haven't discovered planets that are similar to the Earth.
Our current technology allows us to discover planets like Jupiter, Saturn and the more massive planets in our own solar system and now we're finding planets that are similar to a fraction of the mass of Saturn and Jupiter but we have not yet been able to detect planets like the Earth.
That's coming in the next few decades.
I think the people in the audience today, kids in school today are going to be present for the discovery of the first planets that are like the Earth.
If we're lucky and some of these planets are close enough, then some of the telescopes that are on the drawing board today like the giant Magellan telescope will be able to directly image planets like the Earth.
We may even be able to learn something about their atmospheres, whether or not there is carbon dioxide and water, perhaps ozone.
The signatures of life.
I think there are a few discoveries that tend to be revolutionary types of discoveries.
The discovery of galaxies other than our own Milky Way and the expansion of the universe.
The ideas that led to a big bang picture of the universe being an example.
The discovery that the Earth is not the center of the universe.
The idea that came -- in fact, took until 400 years ago until it was accepted that the Sun is the center of the universe.
These kinds of things are not just interesting to astronomers and scientists who study them but I think profoundly affect humanity and our perspective of the universe in which we live in and allow us to ask questions about how this came to be.
And I think there are other discoveries out there yet to be made.
One of which is the discovery of life on other planets.
I believe it will be that kind of revolutionary discovery.
Now, I want to say a couple words because I know there is an audience of school kids out there.
I would guess that half of those kids are girls in the classroom statistically and I would just like to say to the young people in general, not just the girls, maybe particularly so because when I went to school I wasn't encouraged to go into science.
I can tell you it amazes me that I have a job today where I get paid to do what I love to do.
I think the audience that's sitting there today watching us talk about these future generations of telescopes that will take about a decade to build, many of them, you will use those or you will have the opportunity to use those facilities and we can't even imagine the kinds of discoveries that those telescopes will make in the same way Hale couldn't imagine what would come out of the telescopes he dreamed of.
I had a high school teacher 10th grade and he used to say any time he would discuss a complicated subject, physics, the girls don't have to listen to this.
Now, my impression is the school systems have improved and I'm hoping you aren't receiving that message.
But what I can tell you is that if you follow your interests and if those interests happen to be science and particularly if they happen to be astronomy there is a rewarding future out there for you.
So thanks.

>> Thanks very much, Dr. Friedman that was really well said.
That last part in particular.
I know a lot of us look forward to the discoveries that will be made with a telescope like that.
It's amazing that the combined mirrors will be the size of a parking lot.
80 feet in diameter.
That's enormous.
Great science to be learned with an instrument like that.
George Hale was also the driving force behind the founding of the California institute of technology, Cal tech in the teens and 1920s.
Caltech owns and operates the Palomar observatory and the observatory in Hawaii.
They're now planning to build a new giant ground-based telescope called the 30 meter telescope.
Its mirror will be nearly as wide as a football field.
Let's have a look at the video to see what that one is about.

>> Imagine yourself now in 2016 being invited to the opening ceremony for the 30 meter telescope and let's imagine that you've been to see it.
The first thing that will hit you, it is a larger dome.
But not that much larger.
What is greatly different is the telescope occupies a much bigger fraction of the dome and the mirror is enormous and it will hit you in the face because it's such a huge mirror.
The mirror is 100 feet in diameter.
The overarching them for the 30 meter telescope is the history of the universe.
It sounds simple but really we're looking at understanding the origin of the universe, how galaxies like the Milky Way formed for the first time and assembled.
How more complex molecules developed in space that leads to life forms.
So it's a very grand but incredibly fundamental quest.
The 30 meter telescope is a reflecting optical near infrared telescope which has a reflecting primary mirror that is segmented with 492 individual segments that combine to make a 30 meter aperture primary mirror.
The light is reflected from the sky through a 300 meter secondary mirror and a third mirror which can rotate to reflect the light to any one of a number of instruments.
On the 200 inch we're talking about instruments of maximum weight one to three tons.
Here we're now talking about instruments that potentially 20 to 30 tons or so.
The departure to a segmented mirror telescope was inevitable when we got up to the 8 to 10 meter class level.
We'd never be able to make a 20 or 30 meter piece of glass.
It's difficult to support and we wouldn't maintain the curvature over a large area and it would be impossible to transport.
Probably the most challenging aspect of the 30 meter telescope is the correction for the blurring in the Earth's atmosphere.
This is a technique we call adaptive optics.
It is already in regular use on our existing telescopes and the way it works is we take the light from an image.
Either a star or laser reflected off layers in the Earth's atmosphere and use the signal to monitor the turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere.
Now the Earth's atmosphere doesn't behave in a very cooperative way.
It certainly is possible to make this correction along one line of sight but if you want to correct a cone of light coming through the atmosphere, then you need a number of lasers.
Each shining off different parts of the atmosphere to create a correcting signal that can be applied to recover the true resolution of an object as if the telescope was in space.

>> That sounds remarkable that this telescope will be so large.
If you think about the size of this telescope, 100 feet across, 30 meters, that's just about the size of a ten-story building.
The mirror will be as wide as a ten-story building is high.
Joining us also today from the jet propulsion labs in Pasadena is Dr. Richard Ellis.
The steel professor of astronomy at Caltech and here to tell us about what the work is going to be done with the 30 meter telescope.

>> Hello, everybody.
As you might detect from my British accent I crossed the Atlantic eight years ago to get involved in this very exciting project the 30 meter telescope.
Those of us working on the 30 meter telescope feel every day we're following somehow in the footsteps of George Hale.
But there are some differences between the 30 meter telescope and the telescopes that Hale developed.
What I would like to do is first tell you what the differences are and then explain the excitement of the 30 meter telescope and what it might see.
So for much of the 20th century Hale's motive was building a bigger and bigger mirror.
He did this relentlessly through the whole of his life as you'll see when you watch the PBS broadcast.
We heard he raised funds successfully for a 60 inch, 100 inch and the 200 inch telescope at mount Palomar that was named after him and was director until quite recently.
That telescope is still in operation every night conceived in the 1920s it's celebrating it's 60th anniversary next year and still doing front line research.
It illustrates a telescope on the ground is a lasting research instruments that last for decades.
The very first significant change from the telescopes that we're going to be using today and in the future compared to the telescopes Hale developed follows the ambition of a remarkable scientist Jerry Nelson at the University of California.
In the 1980s Jerry Nelson had the brain wave we could make a large mirror from many independent segments.
This is an extraordinarily risky Endeavour at the time but led to the twin telescopes in Hawaii recently the largest telescopes in the world which are being very successful.
Basically the twin telescopes in Hawaii have, among other things, led to discoveries that the universe is accelerating.
They found more extra solar planets than any other telescope and it's a tremendous excitement to use one of these very big telescopes to make discoveries.
I was observing with one last week and it is a tremendously exhilarating experience to use a very large telescope.
Think of the potential every night of making discoveries.
Well, the 30 meter telescope will extend this idea of building a large mirror from many numerous segments as you saw in the video.
Will have 492 segments instead of the 36 segments.
It leads to the ease of manufacturing a large primary mirror made up of many articulated segments that all have actuators so the surface of the mirror can be carefully maintained.
There is a second difference, as you saw in the video, between the telescopes that Hale realized and the telescopes we use today and the 30 meter telescope.
That's the optics.
This is the technique for correcting for the blurring in the Earth's atmosphere so we can realize on the ground the resolution that we would have if a large telescope was in space.
Now just as an aside I would say to give Hale credit 100 years ago in 1908 he wrote an article where he speculated what would be the biggest telescope that would ever be built on the ground?
What would limit the size of a telescope?
Would it be engineering?
He thought not.
Actually he thought that the limiting factor would be the resolution of the telescope which would be affected by the blurring in the Earth's atmosphere.
Hale might have stopped at this point but he went on and wrote that if by some means we could correct the blurring in the Earth's atmosphere astronomers would have other fantastic discoveries they would be able to make.
The key point about the 30 meter telescope is we're now at that exciting point.
Adaptive optics is here, it's routinely used on our telescopes.
We shine a 20 watt laser into the sky and it reflects off a layer of sodium atoms high in the atmosphere to create an artificial star.
That artificial star gives us a measure of the turbulence in the atmosphere as the light from the star comes down to the telescope.
So we're really able to make these corrections and this is just the beginning because with many lasers we can correct areas of sky to study not just one object but a number of objects.
For example, distant galaxies to see if they're spinning and rotating and evolving into systems like our Milky Way.
The 30 meter telescope will be the first launched telescope to have adaptive optics in the onset.
This is taken prominently in how we design the telescope.
It's excellent image quality will enable us not only to resolve distant galaxies so see how they're revolving but allows us to look at faint objects near very bright objects.
In finding Earth-like planets around cool stars.
Now, as Wendy mentioned, one of the most exciting things about the next generation of telescopes is the things that we can't even appreciate at the moment.
It's amusing to go back to 1980 and look at what we thought we would do with a cath telescope and it is quite incredible how much better we've done than where we predicted we would be.
For example in 1980 we imagined that a 10 meter telescope would see out to only about 8 billion years in look back time.
8 billion light years where we're looking at objects much more distant than that.
We did much better than we predicted we would.
The accelerating universe, the identification of gamma ray bursts, giant particular explosions when black holes and new stars emerge.
The 30 meter telescope, the design is more or less complete.
We have a construction proposal.
Of course, this is an expensive facility.
Hale would realize the challenge of raising money for these very big telescopes.
We've just got a very large private donation to enable us to move forward towards a partnership that will lead to the construction of this telescope.
It is an exciting adventure.
It is very different to working with a space observatory.
A large telescope on the ground is a lasting achievement.
One that you can adjust with new instruments over decades to come.
So I'm confident the 30 meter telescope will still be in use 50 years from now and I'm very confident that many of you in the audience will one day use it to make great discoveries.
Discoveries that we can't even imagine today.
That is, of course, the excitement of astronomy and why I became an astronomer.
Thank you, Derrick.

>> Thank you very much, Dr. Ellis.
What sounds exciting to me about that is the use -- the way in which the telescope is being designed with adaptive optics in mind.
The idea of sampling the atmosphere in order to make use of a way to make the atmosphere disappear in a sense and give us these really great images from Earth.
That's really fantastic.
With this incredible introduction to the future of ground and space-based astronomical observing in the future I'm sure there are quite a few questions that you, our audience, would like to ask our experts here.
So please get your questions ready if you still have a question online, you can enter your questions into our chatroom and those of you in the audience, we're going to call on you to -- with your questions so we can get a little conversation going here.
Your questions are going to be the basis for our conversation, if you have questions, now is the time.
Let's see, who do we have in our audience today with a question?
I'm sure there is a hand out there somewhere.
Or do we have questions online from the chatroom?

>> Let's start maybe with that.
I have a question here that I like very much from Peters ward it looks like.
Can we ever look through one of these telescopes?

>> That's a great question.
Wendy, would you like to pick that up?

>> Sure.
Well, we have currently at our site in the ANDES mountains in Chile called the Magellan telescope that preceded the giant Magellan telescope.
We have an eye piece we put on that telescope.
It happens only once a year.

>> Ooh.

>> It's not the regular way that astronomers make observations.
That's what Galileo did when he turned a telescope to the sky he actually looked through with an eye piece and now astronomers, of course, use first photographic plates and now digital detectors, not unlike the detectors that we have in digital cameras.
It's an unusual treat to look through a Magellan telescope.
I can tell you firsthand it is one of the most exciting things that I've done as an astronomer.
It is very interesting to me because we take a group up there the night that we do it and most of those people are not astronomers.
They are thrilled also but it is the oohs and the AAAHs of the astronomers in the group as they see the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter and the glowing areas of gas around objects when the stars are forming.
We actually see colors.
So in principle, yes, it's possible but very rare.
Most of us don't get that opportunity these days.
We sit in a room.
We see what comes on our computer screen.
So it's not as exciting as it used to be but it is still exciting nonetheless to see it on the screen.

>> Dr. Friedman.
You have to sign me up for one of those nights please, oh please, oh please.
Another question?
Other questions from online perhaps or maybe from the audience?

>> Derrick, from here at aims we did want to add a little to that answer.

>> Great.
Please do.

>> I just wanted to mention to the students that if you ever happen to visit California or if you live in California, you can visit Hale's observatories at mount Wilson and at Palomar.
At Mt. Wilson it's set up so you can actually arrange for a time on the 60 inch telescope, once the biggest in the world built in 1908.
You spend an evening looking through the 60 inch telescope.
If you're ever out here or you're with a group and you can do that, you can go to their website Mt. Wilson observatory and arrange to do that.

>> When you look through the 60 inch telescope at Mt. Wilson you can see galaxies from 60 million light years away.
The skies around us are maybe a light year or four light years away, very close by comparison.
Even our own star is eight light minutes away.

>> Okay.
I understand that our classroom is now on.

>> The live classroom is about ready to ask a question.

>> Let's go ahead.

>> When we find a planet like ours in another galaxy with I'm guessing life on it, what do you think the government's reaction will be?
Do you have a plan for this?

>> Let's see, Dr. Mather, would you like to take a stab at that?
Thank you, that's a great question.

>> Let me think that will be a very exciting time for whoever does it and I think that we'll have an incredible public interest in that.
I think it will be hard to plan.
That's such a kind of discovery that will be world changing for many people and it will be like the discovery of a new continent for many people.
So I can't imagine how we could plan for it.
Of course, we will.
We will, of course, be planning for the discovery of planets we know we're looking for.
We can't be sure what we'll do when we find something new.

>> One of the things we better do is encourage the students here to help us figure out how -- what the reaction of the government will be since it will probably be in your not too distant future.
Thanks, Dr. Mather.
Is there another question?

>> I was wondering, what is the cost going to be for this building of these new telescopes and how do we get all these fundings for the telescopes?
Building all the telescopes?

>> Thank you very much.
Dr. Ellis, you talked a little bit about the cost and you also hinted that there was some funding already available for the 30 meter telescope.
How will we fund these instruments?

>> Like George Hale, this is the big question and he spent a lot of his life agonizing over how to find money to build the bigger and bigger telescopes the history of his career.
The 30 meter telescope.
The answer to the question is it's a billion to build the telescope.
That's a lot of money in any body's book especially at the moment.
The way in which we go about raising this kind of money is we build a consortium of interested groups of astronomers.
In the case of the 30 meter telescope we have the country of Canada, Japan, the University of California and Caltech and each of these is to either raise money through private means or, of course, go to that government to raise the money for the capital to build a telescope and eventually to operate the telescope.
Even when we build the telescope, we have to find the money to pay for electricity, to pay the salaries of the people who work there.
This is a big challenge.
Of course, the way we go about this is we have to write a spectacular case of all the discoveries that we expect to make and so both Wendy and I spend a lot of our time agonizing over how to find money and writing more and more proposals.
We go back and look at what Hale did, this is exactly how Hale was working in the 1920s and 1930s.

>> Are there any other magic ways in which we might be able to dig up some funding?
Wendy, is there a secret stash someplace?

>> I think one of the interesting things about astronomy in comparison to other fields in science is actually within the public at large a lot of enthusiasm for astronomy so there has been some history of individuals who have actually put funding from the private sector into astronomical telescopes.
It is not that other sciences aren't interesting also but there is a tremendous visual appeal.
A lot of the questions astronomers ask are questions that resonate with the public.
We've been fortunate for a century now at left under George Hale in the beginning when he began his quest to build the large telescopes to get support from people in the private sector and we've been very fortunate to get that also today.
I think these questions that we're asking are exciting questions not just in the U.S. but as Richard says, we have collaborators now in other countries, the GMT has a partner in Australia and we're looking at partners elsewhere around the world.
Also within universities.
And so I think while it's not easy, I don't want to minimize the challenge, there is enough excitement about what we're trying to do that I think we'll ultimately succeed despite the sticker shock of the price tags.

>> Great.
Thank you.
I think we have time for one more question from the floor.
Is there anyone else in the audience there that has a question?

>> My question is in 1929 astronomer Hubble discovered that the earth was expanding.
How fast would it be expanding if it was expanding?

>> Let's see.
Who will take that question?
Dr. Mather?

>> He discovered the evidence that the universe is expanding, not just the Earth.
The Earth is not expanding actually but he was able to see that just the nearest part of the universe is expanding quite rapidly at thousands of kilometers a second distant galaxies are going away from us.
If you go out to the most distant galaxies he seems to be almost the speed of light we can Segal action east going away from us.
Whatever happened in the early universe to make this happen is one of the great mysteries that astronomers hope to tackle so it's extraordinarily fast and we can barely imagine it.

>> Thank you very much.
It is remarkable to think about the fact that the universe can expand in that manner.
Is there another question from the floor there?

>> So my question is, are there any telescopes that can detect gravitational waves instead of light waves?

>> Wow, that's a fantastic question.

>> Who would like to take that question?

>> I'm happy to take it.
Wendy, I don't mind.

>> Go ahead.

>> The answer is yes, there is a telescope operating at the moment called LIGO.
A collaboration between Caltech and Massachusetts institute of technology and other schools.
It's different from what we've been talking about today.
To detect gravity waves.
A gravity wave is an event in the universe where, for example, two black holes merge and create a ripple in space.
That can only be detected if you have a very carefully precisioned rod of metal that is sensitive to very, very small vibrations.
So if you can imagine having a long rod and then watching this rod vibrate and making sure that that vibration is not caused by a truck going past on the freeway or some other earthquake or seismic event this is how we will detect gravity waves.
There are a number of observatories around the world.
The one in the United States has been operating for just over a year and being upgraded as well.
We hope to be able to detect gravity waves in the next couple years or so.
That will be an amazing discovery in itself.
It's an important proof of Einstein's theory that we see these gravity waves.

>> In a very real sense we've been able to look at light waves and this is now actually sound, hearing in some sense the universe.
It is a completely new window on the universe that is opening up.

>> Thank you both very much.
That was an excellent question.
Thanks to that student for asking that question.
Let's take a couple of questions now from our chatroom.
Is there -- let's have the first question from the chatroom, please.

>> We have a lot of very good questions in the chatroom and I'm going to select a couple.
Fifth grade student asks.
How will they get the JWST in such a high orbit and how will they service it if they do have it up in such a high orbit?

>> That will be Dr. Mather.

>> The European space agency is contributing the launch vehicle.
It will be a large commercial rocket launched from French Guyana in the equateer in South America.
It goes too far away for us to service it with our currently available capabilities for astronauts and robots but we'll put an attachment point on if we're ever able to send a servicing device out there.

>> It will be out there not exactly autonomous but at such a distance we can't get there to serve it.

>> We plan to make sure there are redid you know Dan sees in it.
Extra pieces of equipment if anything would go wrong and that's our backup plan for it in case of small mistakes.

>> Sounds like it would be a long trip for a repair team to get out there.
Thank you.
Next question from the chatroom.

>> Did Mr. Hale have many problems working out any aberrations in the optics of his telescopes and if so, what kind and why?

>> Hale's entire -- I was just going to say.

>> Hale's entire life was spent struggling with glass and his very first telescope just north of Chicago actually used a lens.
We haven't talked about lenses much here today but the telescopes in the 19th centuries used lenses where the light would go through it like a giant magnifying glass.
That lens was 40 inches across and had to be ground to such perfection one of the critics said the deviation of the width of a spider's web would have been enough to cause the glass to not work.
They were worried about it.
It did work.
You couldn't make a lens bigger than that because it would sag under its own weight and why the technology shifted to mirrors.
It collects the light and focuses it to a point and down to a camera.
Each of the mirrors posed tremendous problems for George Hale and each of theme created engineering difficults that no one could anticipate.
Hale had several nervous breakdowns.
Hale didn't survive the process of the Palomar mirror.
He died ten years before the telescope was finished.
That's a big part of the story you can see on the PBS film.

>> That's what our story is about is all of the difficulties that he had to overcome to build these giant telescopes.
It was one difficulty after another.
As Richard said in the film, Hale decided he would go ahead with these projects nothing full well the way to do it wasn't known.
They had to invent the technology to make this happen.
I think that's been a long tradition with NASA ever since is to attack things with optimism even though you don't know how you're going to make it happen.
So yes, and you'll see all of that story in our film.

>> Unfortunately we've run out of time for this webcast.
I would like to thank the film producers Todd and Robin Mason.
All of our guest experts as well as our student audience for joining us today.
If your question wasn't answered today.
Just come back.
I want to say I want to encourage the students to come back to the archive section of this same website within a few days and they can find an answer.
Robin, did you want to say one last thing?

>> I was going to mention if your question wasn't answered we'll do it online and you can come back and check it later.

>> Just a few days you can come back and check on the same website.
Don't forget to watch for the journey to Palomar on your local PBS stations beginning November 10th.
Check your local listings for the time and dates and you can learn all about Hale and the amazing giant telescopes he built.
The most extraordinary scientific instruments of the 20th century.
Thank you for joining us.
So long everybody.


 FirstGov  NASA

Editor: Brian Day
NASA Official: Daniel Andrews
Last Updated: September 2008