- Press Release
- Oct 31, 2023
TheFuturesChannel.com and Mount Wilson Observatory Take Students to the Stars
This fall, when astronomers make observations through a
telescope that is powerful enough to see footprints on the moon, they could have students from all over the world looking
over their shoulders.
The Futures Channel, a new Internet-based digital content service for educators, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to produce and distribute
multimedia educational resources featuring the work of the world-famous Mount Wilson Observatory.
The agreement between the Channel and California’s Mount Wilson Institute will enable students and teachers to share in some of the most detailed observations of
stars and planets that have ever been made from earth.
The Observatory, located in the San Gabriel mountains just northeast of Los Angeles, is one of the world’s top astronomical research facilities. It was at Mount
Wilson that Edwin Hubble made two of the greatest discoveries in the history of astronomy.
First, Hubble saw that our galaxy, the Milky Way, is just one among hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe. Second, and even more astounding, Hubble
found evidence for the expansion of the universe, which astronomers now generally believe is a result of the origin of the Universe in the “Big Bang” some 15 billion
Currently directed by renowned physicist Dr. Robert Jastrow, Mount Wilson Observatory recently became the site of several new high-technology installations.
Among these are a new optical “interferometer” that combines light from up to six telescopes to form extremely detailed images, and an adaptive optics system which
has been added to the 100-inch telescope, eliminating nearly all of the image distortion normally caused by the atmosphere.
The optical interferometer can reveal details as small as a footprint on the moon. The adaptive optics technology yields images nearly as sharp as if the 100-inch
telescope were located in space above earth’s atmosphere.
“With this instrumentation, Mount Wilson Observatory is going to collect new observations that will undoubtedly lead us to far greater knowledge about the cosmos
and humankind’s place in it,” said Sallie Baliunas, deputy director of the Observatory.
“Our partnership with The Futures Channel gives us a way to allow students in America and around the world to share in those discoveries.”
The Futures Channel currently has an exclusive license to more than 1,000 hours of award-winning media assets to provide teachers with digital video content they
can use to connect math, science, technology and the arts to the real world of careers and achievement.
“The Mount Wilson Observatory is a remarkable place, with a remarkable history. The work that is being done now is utterly fascinating. We want to enable
students, teachers, parents and space enthusiasts all over the world to share in that fascination,” said Steve Heard, chief executive officer of The Futures Channel.
Last November, the Channel entered into an agreement with Space Data Resources and Information (SDRI), to co-produce educational multimedia segments on
Through this partnership, The Futures Channel will be able to draw upon the expertise of veteran space journalist Leonard David and space education specialist
Barbara Sprungman in producing programs about the work, facilities and staff of the Observatory. The result will be a resource which should be extremely useful in
middle and high school science instruction.
“Partnerships such as this, which bring America’s top scientists and engineers into the classroom, can be of huge benefit to science teachers,” said Wendell Mohling,
associate executive director of the National Science Teachers Association. “There’s nothing quite so motivational as an opportunity to share first hand in the wonder
of a new discovery.”
The Futures Channel
Whitney Fair, 323/937-7515