Sunday, October 1, 2023

Scientists reveal plan for a giant hypertelescope on the Moon, which looks like something out of Star Wars

The image that opens this post is Starkiller Base from Star Wars, a military base located on the ice planet Ilum located in the Unknown Regions, which serves as a stronghold for the First Order 30 years after the Battle of Endor. Very similar to the base is this hypertelescope that scientists plan to develop on Earth and for the Moon. Yes, in real life.

Space exploration and observation of the universe has greatly improved with the development of ground-based and space-based telescopes. Now, a new article on arXiv (via Science Alert) suggests that the next leap in astronomical observation may be on the Moon, with the construction of a giant hypertelescope that seems straight out of science fiction.

The authors of the article propose a basic optical telescope that takes advantage of the lunar terrain. Instead of a single large primary mirror, this hypertelescope will use an array of mirrors arranged along the terrain of a lunar crater.

A hypertelescope may use a set of mirrors as a primary mirror arranged along the terrain of a crater. The telescope’s array of detectors can then be suspended by a cable, similar to how the detectors at the Arecibo Observatory are suspended above the mesh dish.

The key is in the size of the glasses

The following image is conceptual, but the design bears a striking resemblance to the Starkiller Base building from Star Wars.

Because the mirrors don’t need to be large, they are easier​​​​to build, and the overall shape of the crater means that less “earthworks” are needed to move them into place.

A variant of this idea is to place mirrors on one side of the crater and instrumentation on the other. This allows for a very long focal length, so the observation of such a telescope is limited.

All of these ideas are still in their early stages and there are serious challenges that need to be overcome beyond construction. For example, dust accumulates on mirrors over time and must be removed. Although the Moon has less seismic activity than Earth, it can still affect the alignment of mirrors and detectors. But beyond the challenges, it is clear that a lunar observatory is a matter of time.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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