Scientists believe that a telescope which has the size of the earth could help humans to have a deep look at the farthest reaches of the universe, thus aiding to spot possible extraterrestrial life that might be harboring in an alien planet. However, considering the current progress, it may take years to build such a sophisticated device. But, David Kipping, an assistant professor of astronomy at Columbia University believes that earth's atmosphere itself can be changed to a gigantic telescope using tricks of physics.
Kipping has named this potential future telescope, 'terrascope'. In a recent study report published on the pre-print server arXiv, Kipping reveals that the earth's atmosphere naturally refracts incoming starlight, very similar to the lens of a telescope. Kipping believes that more research in this area could help humans to turn the atmosphere to a planet-sized telescope.
"Distant starlight passing through the Earth's atmosphere is refracted by an angle of just over one degree near the surface. This focuses light onto a focal line starting at an inner (and chromatic) boundary out to infinity - offering an opportunity for pronounced lensing," wrote Kipping in his study report.
However, Kipping admits that the attempt to build such a giant telescope will face many obstacles. But still, Kipping believes that this telescope will get materialized one day if other scientists also take this concept seriously.
"I'm not gonna sit here and tell you that this is some kind of silver bullet to astronomy or something. But hopefully I have convinced you that this is an exciting enough concept that it deserves our research attention," said Kipping, Futurism reports.
This is not the first time that David Kipping is putting forward mind-blowing hypothetical views on space science. A few months ago, Kipping had suggested that aliens might be using lasers at black holes to travel across galaxies.