Skywatch

  • October 20, 2005

    Episode 6: A Fleet of Telescopes

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    Shownotes

    Searching for tiny planets near bright stars is challenging. Astronomers would need incredibly large telescopes to detect small planets near host stars. Alternately, they can use several linked telescopes to detect the planets' faint signals. The telescopes work together as one to create the effect of a single giant telescope. The European Space Agency is planning an ambitious mission, called Darwin, that will fly several telescopes together in space. Sweden is interested in building a small, experimental satellite to test the idea. The satellite, Prisma, consists of a large telescope and a smaller second component, called a nano-satellite, that will work together to collect light from space. It could launch as early as 2008.