The Great Planet Debate

Live from...the Hubble Space Telescope

The original HST observations are targeted for March 1996. At that time, 4 planets - Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto - are available targets for study. STScI suggested looking at planets because more distant, fainter galaxies and other objects require many more orbits to secure data that's likely to be scientifically significant. Planets are also more familiar to students - and Jupiter and Uranus will have been introduced during the Kuiper activities.

The introductory video will ask 4 astronomers and educators associated with STScI to serve as PLANET ADVOCATES to lay out the case for observing one or other of the candidate planets, and provide documentary reports on what's already known, and what could be discovered. (Through comments appearing on this page, HST staff astronomer Alex Storrs provides a preview of some of the arguments for and against the various observations.) Alex Storrs also wrote an explanation of why the Hubble Space Telescope is specially equipped to make certain planetary observations.

Simultaneously, NASA's K-12 Internet Initiative will activate special on-line resources to support Live from the Hubble Space Telescope. Organized much like LFS, students will find a great deal of information on the planets, HST and STScI. There'll be pointers to the extensive astronomical materials STScI and others already provide on-line. This information is available here on these Web pages.

But most importantly, students can actively participate in a discussion to brainstorm, research, develop and deliver suggestions about which planet to observe with the 3 Live from the Hubble Space Telescope orbits.