January 1997

Missions to the Sun

David M. Rust

Almost all space disturbances start at the Sun. David Rust examines how we study our most important star and what can be learned from the data retrieved from solar instruments.

Second HST Servicing Mission: Expanding the New Frontier

In February, NASA is scheduled to launch the second servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope: The authors describe the new equipment Hubble will receive and updates to equipment already in place.

Satellites Monitor the Weather from 22,300 Miles in Space

We rely on weather forecasts for everything from planting crops to deciding how to dress. With the help of weather satellites, such as GOES, meteorologists have improved their ability to predict weather events. Patricia Viets looks at the impact of GOES and the optics involved.

Trends in Solid-State Lasers

Compact size, high-energy storage, simple excitation schemes, and reliability make solid-state lasers a first choice for researchers and engineers, Ken Schepler provides an overview of solid-state lasers and discusses current trends in output power, cost reduction, and tuning.

Viewing Additive and Subtractive Spectra through a Prism

While at a physics demonstration show held at the 1996 national summer meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), I demonstrated a way to view spectral colors and their compliments with a prism. I was surprised by the large number of scientists that had never seen this way of observing the complementary spectrum. Like Newton and Goethe, you can make a wonderful study of the properties of color using a prism and two sheets of black and white paper. (If you cannot buy or salvage a prism locally, you can purchase them from science supply companies such as Arbor Scientific or Edmund Scientific. An equilateral prism will cost between $7 and $15).


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