SHORT TAKES : Sci-Fi Channel Aims to Teach

From Times Staff and Wire Service Reports

Can “Star Wars” teach children about the solar system? The yet-to-be launched Sci-Fi Channel has entered into an arrangement with the science magazine Omni to create original programming--including education programs for children.

“Science fiction is really a great way of introducing science to children,” said Kathy Keeton, president of Omni magazine. “Many scientists--including Carl Sagan--first experienced the thrill of science through the magic of science fiction.”

One of the first programs will be the newsmagazine “Omni Magazine’s Space Watch,” which will cover a range of topics, from launches to NASA’s Space Camp to the Soviet Union’s space program.

Upon its launch, the Sci-Fi Channel will be made up of a mix of original programming, vintage television shows, motion pictures, situation comedies and live-audience game shows originating from the channel’s studios in Orlando, Fla.