Broadcast 3487 Dr. David Kipping

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Guest:  Dr. David Kipping; Topics:  Dr. Kipping's proposal to use Earth as an atmospheric lens type of powerful telescope plus we talked about Exomoons and other topics.

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We welcomed back to the program Dr. David Kipping to discuss his July 2019 published paper, "The Terrascope: On The Possibility Of Using The Earth As An Atmospheric Lens" along with the continued search for finding an Exomoon.  We started our one segment, 62 minute somewhat technical discussion with our guest introducing us to the idea of using Earth as an atmospheric lens per his paper.  You can find his paper at;  Our guest explained the concept to us, including the technology and the differences in what he was proposing as compared to a very large ground based telescope, for most of the first half of the show.  Listen carefully as our guest provided numbers showing the advantage of his proposal versus say the planned Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).  Pay attention to the size equivalents, mirror advantages and even the cost advantages of his proposal.

Freemont John was our first caller. He wanted to get more information the technical details including asking about the size of the detector.  Dr. Kipping talked about detectors saying the bigger the better.  Listen to what our guest said about ground based telescope costs to make one the size and power equivalents of the space based telescope using Earth as a gravitational lens proposed by our guest.  Our guest set out some of the parameters including the observing target needing to be behind the Earth but lining up with Earth.  Dr. Kipping also talked about NASA and NOAH, his blog titled "Cool Worlds," and using Jupiter plus other ideas. 

In addition, John asked about using such off-Earth telescopes to view Proxima B and what might it see on Proxima B.  Don't miss the details put forth by our guest.  After John's call, Karen sent in a note comparing the JWST location to the location suggested by our guest.  Listener Paul then asked our guest to compare JWST costs to the costs of this special Earth as a telescope project.  David had interesting things to say about costs, especially the idea for an IPhone test or even doing this telescope with multiple IPhone type devices.  Listen to what he said about this idea. 

Our guest was asked to suggest an implementation process and timeline.  Too much was unknown to do that.  David continued to say it needed to be tested out.  More was said about comparisons with the JWST project.  Carol in Seattle then sent in a note asking David for his assessment of the impact on space missions by the virus.  While all of this was too new to know for sure, he said there would probably be funding and other project delays.  Before going to another topic, I asked our guest if he was now teaching online at Columbia.  Don't miss what he said about online courses and his own teaching plans for an upcoming semester. 

Before ending the program we asked our guest about exomoons which was the topic that Dr. Kipping first talked about on The Space Show several years ago.  Our guest said there was one possible candidate, Kepler 1625 which is likely a Neptune size moon.  Our guest also talked about Hot Jupiters.  Don't miss what he said about this candidate and a Neptune size moon.  Listen to the physical description he put forth plus how this possible exomoon can be confirmed as such.  Before leaving the topic, I asked David what the significance was of finding an exomoon.  Once again, don't miss this discussion.  Before leaving the topic, Hal in Dallas asked if there was a way to computer the emotional value of our Moon.  Dr. Kipping had lots to say on this topic so don't miss his response.

Please post your comments/questions on the blog for this show.  You can reach Dr. Kipping through me or his Columbia faculty page,  His personal website is  You can find his blog at




Dr. Kipping returns to talk about his work per Earth as a telescope

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03 Apr 2020 Dr. David Kipping
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