Broadcast 3390 Dr. Alan Hale

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Dr. Alan Hale;  Topics:  Multiple astronomy, telescope and exoplanet subjects. Also Hale-Bopp and other comets. Alan's new Ice and Stone 2020 educational outreach project.

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We welcomed back to the show Dr. Alan Hale for this two segment 100 minute discussion on multiple astronomy, telescope, comet, educational and telescope related topics.  We started our discussion by talking about the newly discovered interstellar fast moving Comet Borisov discovered by the Russian amateur astronomer Borisov in the Crimea.  Dr. Hale talked about the possible origin of this fast moving object, why we know it is from outside our solar system, what the early detection means for Borisov as to the very late detection for the Oumuamua fast moving object.  Also discussed was the challenge of individuals finding these objects as opposed to giant star surveys such LSST when it comes on line or the Pan-Starrs out of Hawaii.  Listeners asked Alan about these interstellar objects being associated with intelligent life.  Don't miss his response to this question. In responding, Alan talked about the large sky telescopic surveys as compared to telescopes searching for fixed objects.  Part of this discussion focused on segmented telescope mirrors plus we asked our guest the probability of the TMT in Hawaii  ever being built. 

Alan had much to say about exoplanets, especially Earthlike exoplanets. This was a comprehensive exoplanet discussion so don't miss it.  The discussion included being able to do an atmospheric analysis on some exoplanets looking for life signatures.  This discussion prompted a call by Ft. Worth John.  John wanted to know how far out an exoplanet like Earth could be detected by today's technology.  Since the long lead times and the distances all combined to answer questions taking decades or longer seem to be the norm, I asked Alan if this long duration research period had a negative impact on astronomy as a career.  Don't miss what Alan said in response to this question. 

In the second segment, we led with the new program being developed by Alan, the Ice and Stone 2020 program.  Aland described this free online educational out reach program for students and anyone interested.  He also talked about our coming up on the 25th anniversary of discovering Hale-Bopp.  In talking about the Ice and Stone 2020 project, he said it would focus on studying small bodies in the solar system.  Listen to the programming he is creating as well as those that have so far signed on to work with him on the project.  You can find out more about it at his website, and (

Prior to ending our discussion, we talked with our guest about the future of amateur astronomy and telescope visual work.  Don't miss what our guest had to say regarding these topics.  Listener Sally asked about orbital tourism and astronomy from LEO.  Mentioned in this discussion was the ISS and why there was no astronomy (so to speak) from the ISS).  Quickly, Paul got in a question about the JWST, wanting to know what our guest thought about it and the infrared spectrum.  Ben got in a quick question about the 200 inch telescope at Mt. Palomar in Southern California.  The final listener question came from Wayne in Denver wanting to know if Alan had counted on all the strange and weird things happening because of Hale-Bopp in the sky.  Don't miss what Alan said on this subject.  Finally, I asked Alan for his closing comments and the return date for Haley's Comet which  will be 20161.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can reach Dr. Hale through me or his above websites. 




astronomy news and updates, Alan co-discovered Hale-Bopp Comet

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15 Oct 2019 Dr. Alan Hale
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