Cosmic Queries: Telescopes

Image Credit: NASA.

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About This Episode

In this Cosmic Queries episode, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and comedian Colin Jost answer fan questions about telescopes. How large can telescopes be? Could we invent a telescope to observe gravity or dark energy? How would our sun look from a telescope near Deneb? Can amateur astronomers access big observatories or the Hubble? From Arecibo to Atacama, you’ll learn how radio and microwave telescopes work, and why we don’t get nuked making microwave popcorn. Find out why Neil is determined to save the James Webb Space Telescope by “kicking some congressional butt.” Finally, explore the future: a giant array of telescopes floating in space, held in position by laser telemetry, with a baseline wider than Earth’s diameter. Because, as Neil says, “When it comes to telescopes, size matters.”

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Cosmic Queries: Telescopes.


In This Episode

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Episode Topics

  • Dionel A. Caban

    i live about 30 minutes aways from the Arecibo Observatory 🙂

    • Jeff

      Dionel, I (Jeff) have been to Arecibo, and it was an amazing sight in person. We had to drive through a rain forest to get there. Of course, that was nearly 20 years ago. I imagine the area has changed since then.

  • The show is too short 🙁
    I wish it was longer. 40 min with commercials is way too short

    • Jeff

      Shervin, we agree!

  • Ryan

    Neil, was the failure of the International Virtual Repository political or technical?

    Also, where can we get more information about those large-diameter telescopes that sync up via laser?

    Thanks! And thank you for your congressional battles.

  • Zach

    I just checked and the website has completely gone to waste! That’s too bad…

  • Zach

    Also, Dr. Tyson, you ought to check out Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope! It’s awesome and pretty much exactly what you were talking about.

  • Miles


  • I learned a lot about telescopes thank you for the show.

    The crater telescope is most interesting and I would like to see it and visit it.

  • Dylan

    please get louis ck on the show as your comedian perspective!

  • Donna

    Eugene M. Is very funny.. I like him

  • Jerome

    I’m from Belgium, Europe, and i love this show! Greets! 😀

  • Loved the epic soundtracks! (That is, in addition to the as-usual awesome dialog).
    I’m guessing it was either “two steps from hell” or “audio machine” or similar – keep it coming it perfect for this subject material!

  • Cooler Miles

    That’s because Miles has no personality. He was raised by rocks.

  • Igor Martinez

    So we would basically build Deep Space Nine.

  • Igor Martinez

    So we would basically build Deep Space Nine.

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