Very Large Arrays

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blkburn

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This might belong more in the science fiction group, but I'll try here first. I've read how a VLA can be used to create virtual very large radio dishes.<br /><br />for instance, I Googled this:<br />http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/resources/explorations/groundup/lesson/basics/g21a/index.php<br /><br />What are the practical physical considerations that limit this? (Money suddenly becomes no object.) Could we build an array in Earth orbit? In Solar orbit? Imagine what we could see with a ~180 million mile dish?<br />
 
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qso1

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Your post is in the right place, this is a technique known as interferometry which is explained in the links below:<br /><br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interferometer<br /><br />http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Interferometry<br /><br />The practical limitations are the amount of money an organization can put into telescope construction. But as I understood it, you can theoretically build one or maybe a few telescopes on the moon and using the moons orbit around earth as the baseline, have a telescope the equivalent of a scope 480K miles in diameter.<br /><br />And for optical scopes (Maybe radio as well) the limits of physics will limit what you can see. If the object is smaller than the wavelength of the light or radio wave, it would theoretically remain undetectable. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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The very large arrays is an very economic way of building radiotelescopes and astronomers are now creating a new branch of cosmology since the VLA may be able to detect the 21 centimeter radiation which is the only (known) way to probe the universe from recombination (100M yrs after BB) to reionization (1G yrs after BB) (Dark Ages of the Universe)
 
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