The Radical Liquid-Mirror Moon Telescope could see stars long ago


This is the Giordano Bruno crater on the far side of the moon. A crater would be a prime location for building a lunar telescope.

NASA / Goddard / Arizona State University

NASA is very late James Webb Space Telescope One will be able to see the past in depth, illuminating the birth of the first galaxies of the universe. But some astronomers long ago want to go even further to examine the stars. A radical concept for a lunar telescope can take us there.

A team of astronomers at the University of Texas at Austin has revisited a concept for a liquid-mirror telescope on the moon that was originally floating a decade ago, but sheltered by NASA. The researchers are set to publish a new paper on the idea in a future issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

Astronomers have theorized that stars formed 13 billion years ago before galaxies came together. “This moment of first light is beyond the capabilities of present or near future telescopes. It is therefore important to think of the ‘last’ telescope as one capable of observing those elusive first stars at the edge of time,” Monday Co-author Volker Brom in the McDonald’s Observatory statement.

Moon telescope will be unusual, will be broken by the use of Like James Webb we see solid mirrors. The observatory said, “The telescope’s mirror will be a spinning vata of fluid, topped by a metallic – and thus reflective – liquid.” Mercury is an example of a metal that works for this application.

This illustration shows what a liquid mirror telescope might look like on the Moon.

Roger Angel et al.univ. Of arizona

The mirror should be 330 feet (100 m) in diameter, and can be made in a lunar pit in one of the lunar poles. It can run on solar energy.

A liquid-based telescope would be easier to transport than a moon made with more conventional materials. Its size and location will make it incredibly powerful.

Considering some fun Earth-telescope naming conventions Huge array Very Large Telescope in the US and in Chile), the Moon Observatory will eventually be called the “Large Telescope”.

This is not the only moon telescope concept scientists have investigated. NASA is funding research into the idea of ​​a radio telescope This will turn a lunar pit into a dish. This would require using a robot to deploy a wire mesh over a crater.

The first stars are the final origin story.

“The emergence of the first stars indicates an important transition in the history of the universe,” Brom said, “when the primordial conditions determined by the Big Bang gave rise to an increasing cosmic complexity, eventually bringing the planets to life,” and Intelligent beings like us. ”

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