"LIVE FROM THE STRATOSPHERE" P R O J E CT U P D A T E PART 1: If you are a teacher, please register through Email PART 2: It takes a team to make it happen _________________________________________________________________________ WE NEED YOUR HELP. It is important for us to learn a bit about the people who are tuning in. If you are a teacher and you haven't already done so, please take a few moments to send us an Email with the information listed below. We are using a loose definition of teacher, including anybody who works in a school and parents who plan to use the project to work with their own children. The information we need is: - your name - your city, state and country (if not United States) - how many other teachers you might share the LFS information with - how many students you plan to involve in this program If you are not exactly sure how many other teachers and students will be involved, please provide your best estimate. Please send this information at once to email@example.com In the past, people have had problems with this address because of the similarity between 1's (one's) and l's (el's). Our address includes "lfs" ("el", "eff", "ess"). Please do not send this information to any other address. The entire Live From the Stratosphere team would be very grateful for this data. Thank you kindly. _________________________________________________________________________ [Editor's note: The passage below continues a series of journals from last year as a preview of what is to come.] KAO flight 5/9/94 from Honolulu to Honolulu Jesse Bregman Our last flight went off very well: both our equipment and the KAO telescope worked without a hitch. Considering the complexity of the aircraft, the telescope, and the spectrometer, I am always amazed that we have any successful flights at all. In fact, 80-90% of the flights we schedule every year turn out successful. It takes a lot of people to make these flights happen. To start with, on the flight itself we had 5 scientists, three people in the cockpit (pilot, co-pilot, and flight engineer), telescope operator, tracker operator (the person who finds the object we want to look at and then locks the automatic tracker onto a guide star), two computer operators, and the mission manager (the person who coordinates the flight). So for a single flight, there were eight people on the airplane to support the science. But it doesn't end there. Before the airplane ever takes off, there are a lot of people involved in getting the airplane ready for the flight. Remember that our previous flight was stopped early since the chopper was not working. There were several people working on the chopper most of the day to fix the problems, and got it fixed late in the afternoon. Then there is the ground crew, the group of people who make sure the airplane itself is in good shape and ready to fly. There are people who have to make sure all the aircraft supplies are available, and place orders to buy whatever is needed. There are people who arrange for hotel rooms and rental cars, those who make sure there is money to pay for the expedition, those who take care of shipping equipment and supplies so they would be in Hawaii when the KAO arrived, those who arranged for computer accounts at the University of Hawaii so that the scientists and computer operators could communicate via e-mail (and send reports to the FOSTER program). So, to make sure that the KAO flies and the scientists are able to do their work, takes a lot of people. Our work just begins at the end of our flight series. Today we took a look at some of the data we collected last night. This means comparing the data of the objects we are interested in with the data we obtained of a star which we are familiar with. Why would we spend time taking data on a star we already know? The answer is that the spectrum of the objects we are interested in (and the stars we already know about) is partially altered by the air above the airplane. Also, the spectrum is changed in as it passes through the spectrometer itself and the electronic detectors (the silicon that actually measures the light intensity) don't all respond equally to the light. By comparing what the data we take on a known star looks like after it has been changed in all these ways with what it should look like, we determine the corrections required to take the original data on any other object and turn it into a true spectrum (this is called "reducing" the data). Out of curiosity, we spent a few hours today reducing some data we took on last night's flight to see what the spectra looked like. We will carefully inspect the data and compare it with other similar objects and with spectra obtained of ices created in the laboratory. In this way, we will be able to identify the composition of the material near the objects we observed. Once we have studied the data and interpreted the results, we will write a research paper explaining the results and how it relates to other aspects of astronomy. This whole process takes a lot of work, and will not be finished for perhaps one to two years. So, the data we just took on theses flights is not the end of our research project, but is a starting point for further investigation.