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The Palomar Telescope: Freedom to Fail

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TABLE OF CONTENTS3. How To Use This Project4. Historical Context7. Document Guide12. Primary Sources45. Guided Questions46. Primary Source Project49. About Us HOW TO USE THIS PROJECTThe 200-inch Hale Telescope (also known as the “Palomar Telescope”) at the Palomar Observatory in California was, in many respects, an impossible dream, as no manufacturer had successfully fabricated a mirror 200-inches in diameter at that time. The process of making the mirror, however, was lengthy, expensive, and riddled with failure and missteps.The primary sources in this project include correspondence and diagrams that document the delays, mishaps, and trial-and-error that went into fabricating what became a 200-inch Pyrex telescope mirror. These sources can be used to strengthen critical reading skills, to support inquiry-based learning exercises, and to expose students to the stories of failure that lie behind any and every scientific or technological breakthrough. Students are encouraged to annotate in the margins in order to support the development of document analysis and critical thinking skills. This project contains a suggested exercise that builds on the themes of the primary source documents.
Engineering, Arts and Humanities, Language, Grammar and Vocabulary, Reading Foundation Skills, Reading Informational Text, U.S. History, Mathematics, Measurement and Data, Astronomy
High School
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Case Study, Homework/Assignment, Lesson, Lesson Plan, Module, Primary Source, Reading, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Unit of Study
Date Added:
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0




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