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The Hubble Telescope – About as Visual as You Can Get

January 31, 2012

[text below from The Teaching Company – check out the video]

Arguably, no scientific instrument in history has had a larger impact on astronomy than the Hubble Space Telescope. So what makes it the most sought-after instrument for observing the secrets of the stars above our heads? How does it even work? And what advantages does it have over more traditional, ground-based observatories? In thanks for being our customer, here is a free video lecture: Inside the Hubble Space Telescope, delivered by Dr. David M. Meyer.

Telescopes like Hubble have been invaluable in offering astronomers and cosmologists breathtaking images of everything from nearby planets and stars to distant nebulae and galaxies. The primary rationale behind this iconic space telescope was the desire to launch a large telescope into Earth’s orbit, with the power to routinely image the cosmos with a resolving power more than 10 times greater than that of the largest ground-based optical telescope. But it could only have been built with a solid understanding of electromagnetic radiation and optics—as well as trial-and-error tests using powerful mirrors and large solar panels.

Dr. Meyer is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University, where he has taught for more than 20 years. He also directs the Dearborn Observatory and codirects the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics at Northwestern, where much of his work involves the Hubble Space Telescope. Professor Meyer’s awards include the Charles Deering McCormick Professorship of Teaching Excellence—Northwestern’s highest teaching honor.

Watch Inside the Hubble Space Telescope between now and Thursday, February 9, to go behind the scenes of one of the most revolutionary instruments in modern astronomy!

Feel free to send the link to this video lecture to family or friends who might enjoy it; the lecture is free for them as well!


2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2012 11:36 am

    I always like to view images from space. This video about the Hubble Space Telescope brought back the time I tried to observe the moon and planets with my father. I was a mere observer since he set everything up, the details of the moon surface via scope blew my 6-year-old brain away. That was definitely a moment when my world, the world I knew, crumbled. WOW, the moon wasn’t what I thought it was.
    Like Sonya mentioned on my blog Ako Tech V4 posting about a lone pine tree, how individuals interpret one thing is curiously diverse. This is because we are all different and how we approach to things are not always same. This is true for our personal blogs for the class. The way we handle each assignment is distinct to each of us.
    While watching the Hubble telescope video by Dr. Meyers a few things popped up to my mind in terms of instructional design idea. He talked about criteria of choosing the 10 best views from the Hubble: they were chosen based on beauty, excitement, scientific significance and representational view of astrophysics. I understood these as important elements to include when learning matters.
    Explanations made while each image was described also follow four elements mentioned earlier. Excitement and beauty grab learner’s attention immediately to engage then comes a basic over view of astrophysics by description of images, explanations of its scientific significance and what it all means to us. The knowledge is delivered from basic to specific and how it is relevant to us. I thought that was brilliant, and I would like to experiment in some of my design.
    The image presentation was organized according the distance from the earth, it works like guided visualization, and we were transported mentally deeper into the space into a next system. The analogy I would like to use is Nestling dolls but it started from the tiniest one. This type of method builds learners up, mentally, intellectually and astronomically. When instruction could have learners experience information and knowledge beyond just facts alone, a magic (meaningful learning, personal engagement) happens inside of learners.
    This presentation was put together seamlessly and the structure of sequence was very consistent based and media use was timely and it seems to follow media learning theory. The content was inspirational but how it was put together was excellent.

    • February 4, 2012 6:31 pm

      It’s interesting to see how you (and others, when/if they post comments) view the posting, the images, and the other ideas that you pull from the posting. Visual representations have many potentials and from the point of view of an instructor, it’s not always known up front what impact these will have. So I think what you’re saying is similar to the dilemma of curriculum: we start with specific learning outcomes to develop knowledge/skills vs.taking different approach, working from the bigger picture (but less specific, less prescriptive) of how each of views the world and pull out the meaning, the understanding. Another way of trying to be clear is to take one or more photos as we see in this posting, and see what one learns from it. The role then of the instructor is to listen and push for connections and meaning, rather than right/wrong answers.

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