Broadcast 1709 (Special Edition)

10 Feb 2012 Dr. David Kipping
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Guest: Dr. David Kipping. Topics: Searching for Exomoons and Exoplanets with Kepler Space Telescope (KST). You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Dr. David Kipping to the program to discuss the search for Exomoons and Exoplanets. The primary tool for these searches is the Kepler Space Telescope (KST). We talked about the methods used to search for the exomoons, mainly planet transits. Later in our discussion we talked about the other methods including detecting wobbles and using pulsars. Another discussion issue was the fixed field of view for the KST (about 10 degrees) and the benefit of having multiple KSTs to look at different and broader fields of view of the sky. Dr. Kipping was asked several questions about finding exomoons in the habitable zone (Goldilocks zone). We also discussed the randomness of targets and the small number that are actually in the field of view from Earth. Charles in an email brought up spectroscopy in the searches. In the second segment, we started out discussing pulsars and their role in these searches. Dr. Kipping went into some detail to explain to us the radiation pulses and how they can be interpreted in the exoplanet/moon searches. As you will hear, pulsars are not likely to be located in the Goldilocks zone but Dr. Kipping did give us an idea of the best targets for a visit were we to have interstellar space travel. Later we talked about the JWST and infrared searches along with the potential the JWST brings to astronomy. This discussion took into account the NASA budget, competition with the science missions and human spaceflight, and making hard choices for this or that funding. Our guest took some listener questions about nanosatellites and swarms of mini-KSTs. Dr. Kipping had much to say about this idea, including that it was a good one. Another issue covered was the international effort in these searches. I asked our guest about amateurs and planet searches. He told us about an interactive website, www.planethunters.org plus other programs that involved non-professionals in the searches. Near the end of the program, Dr. Kipping discussed the differences with the KST public data and private data. Please post your comments on The Space Show blog. If you want to send a note to Dr. Kipping, please do so through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

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