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Modeling Hubble

The Hubble Space Telescope has done a lot to promote Good Astronomy, especially for kids, but sometimes there is a stumble or two along the way. There is a snap-together model of HST available for kids to put together and hang in their room. The instructions also include lots of info about HST, including this one:

Faint Object Spectrograph measures the light of spectrum to detect the chemical make up of comets and quasars and to determine the speed at which that light travels.

Actually, they meant that the spectrograph analyzes the light to see how fast the light source is traveling, not the light itself. We already know how fast light travels: the speed of light. It's a constant, and as the bumper sticker says, "300,000 kilometers per second: not only a good idea, IT'S THE LAW!"

Thanks to Bad Reader Val Korszniak for bringing this to my attention. What irks me is that I bought this same model for my nephew and missed the part about FOS. Oh well, that's what my legion of loyal readers are for. ;-)

©2008 Phil Plait. All Rights Reserved.

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