What is stopping us from connecting all the major large telescopes and making a very large Interferometer

Sep 5, 2020
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Its important that the field of Astronomy jump in abilities similar to the rule for Moore's law, having the ability to directly image planets around other stars in other solar systems needs to be the next big jump in Astronomy and understanding if these worlds have compatible atmosphere and could support our form of life. The Chapter of Humanity on this planet has shown that our short time here we have ruined our planet and creating a point of not coming back from. If our existence is to provide meaning, reaching out to the Stars and exploring is something that should define us a race of different peoples and coming together for a common goal of preservation of who we are and giving us a chance to move beyond this planet. If a Planet is found to support life outside of Earth, then we should be able to build a vehicle to reach this Planet in the next 100 years, why not?
 
Interferometry is based on using clocks at each of the telescopes to get the wave front arrivals correct. That kind of precision is possible if you can pry the equations from the cold dead hands of some Oligarchs.

These clock and spatial distortion corrections directly violate Special and General Relativity.

Real world physics is not stopping such a solution, it is a bunch of scientists acting like secret squirrels.

It is also possible that this technique has already been used. Some obedient Imperial scientist is going to be rewarded for their obfuscation and deceit with credit for a discovery made using such techniques. Control of modern science is based upon manufacturing reputations and impeccable credentials for those scientists who are willing to take orders.

The human race has no choice but to go into space to prevent another reset of civilization by asteroids. Those who argue against technology and expansion are also arguing for suicide. The universe will not leave us alone on planet Earth to sing kumbaya.

Wolves are quite beautiful to watch unless you have to fight one to the death with a sharpened rock.
 
Nov 25, 2019
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Its important that the field of Astronomy jump in abilities similar to the rule for Moore's law, having the ability to directly image planets around other stars in other solar systems needs to be the next big jump in Astronomy and understanding if these worlds have compatible atmosphere and could support our form of life. The Chapter of Humanity on this planet has shown that our short time here we have ruined our planet and creating a point of not coming back from. If our existence is to provide meaning, reaching out to the Stars and exploring is something that should define us a race of different peoples and coming together for a common goal of preservation of who we are and giving us a chance to move beyond this planet. If a Planet is found to support life outside of Earth, then we should be able to build a vehicle to reach this Planet in the next 100 years, why not?

No. You can never reach a planet outside the solar system in only 100 years. Space is filled with several particals per cubic meter. Hitting one of these particles at close to light's speed would set off a chain reaction and rain down radiation. You would hit close billions of these particles per second. Space is no longer a vacuum at this speed. (This is why science fiction invented "deflector beams") If hydrogen atoms aren't bad enough, hitting a dust spec would ruin your day.

But there is no need to worry because getting up to that speed is nearly impossible. Trips to "The Stars" will always be one way trips that take thousands of years.

Finally there is one more problem. While there might be many planets with "life" the chances of finding one that humans could live on is about zero. Ecosystems co-evolve together. This means every species is adapted to live with the others and actually depends on them. The chances of an Earth-twin having the same biology is about nill.
 
It would take a near-perfect mirror about 170km (170,000,000mm) in diameter to see 100km/pixel for Proxima Centauri b. Interferometry would be the way to accomplish that. Perhaps the Moon is stable enough to allow that to work but I'm weak on what is required to do it.

It seems they have discontinued interferometry at the Keck twins, though funding would continue it, apparently. The Keck's effective baseline aperture is 85m. It's resolution is what the GMT will likely have (0.005 arcsec.). This equates to about 1 million km per pixel at 4.3 lyrs.
 
Nov 25, 2019
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A better example of Interferometry is the Chara array near where I live in Southern California. I've actually seen this and talked briefly with some of the people involved.

They have the anguar resolution of a 330 meter aperture.

Here is the problem with going bigger... (1) the light from each telescope must pass through a tube filled with "vacuum", (2) you need to keep the path lengths adjusted using mirrors to some known distance that is less them a fraction of a wavelength of light. (3) and this is the killer problem: the path length through the air is very different ifthe telescopes are widely separated. They "see" a different object and the two images can be combined. This last problem is why CHARA is at Wilson. The air is VERY stable

This can be done of the vacuum tunnels are only a few hundred meters and all the tunnels and equipment is on property you controls or own. But you would never be able to to this over hundreds of kilometers

The best option is to move a system like CHARA to space. In space, vacuum is "free" and you do in fact have a line of sight for as long as yuu like. The technical problem that is unsolved is "precision station keeping" You need to fly all the telescopes information and keep the distances at the "micrometer level" This is well past anything we can hope to do soon.

The other option is to build a scaled-up CHARA system on the far side of the Moon. Perhaps this could ba a good 22nd-century project? They could find a large creator and place optical telescope around the rim
 
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We could mention that radio astronomy doesn't have near the problems. The VLBI can have a baseline of thousands of km. But resolution drops with increasing wavelength, so it takes large baselines to match optical scopes.