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This question is about a phenomenon in the Dark Forest, part of the Three Body Problem science-fiction trilogy often considered 'hard science'. Be warned: there are major spoilers below for those who have not read the first 2 books of the trilogy. Also note: this was first asked in sci-fi.SE but it was deemed off-topic for its focus on real-world science, and it was recommended I ask it here.


This Three Body Problem series has surprised me with how far-fetched some of its concepts seem, yet how well-founded some of them are in real-world cutting-edge physics.

There is a point right around the end of the second book, the Dark Forest, where a critical turn in the plot is based on an idea that seems very far-fetched to me. A plot excerpt is included below to describe the far-fetched, plot-turning idea:

... Luo Ji reveals that he is wearing a biometric watch similar to the one constructed by Wallfacer Rey Diaz. Project Snow was a ruse, the bombs are intended to selectively block light from the sun, creating a message sent out to the galaxy with the exact coordinates of Trisolaris and Earth. If Luo Ji dies, the bombs will detonate revealing the interstellar message. He threatens to kill himself if the Trisolarans fail to surrender. Trisolaris, facing destruction of their home planet, and Earth, capitulates, and acknowledges... via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Forest#Plot

Specifically, the idea that

bombs are arranged in such a way that their detonation can selectively block light from the sun sufficiently to create a message sent out to the galaxy with the exact coordinates of one or two or any celestial bodies

seems absurd.


It may be worth noting that

gravitational waves

end up playing a major role in the book, and the

bombs are stellar nuclear, strong nuclear fusion bombs considered capable of destroying the solar system if used on Mercury and the Sun.

Also, earlier in the story a basis for this technique is first explored:

The location of a planet was effectively communicated in more peaceful conditions by broadcasting three star-map images out into space using radio waves and a technique for electromagnetic wave amplification by sending the signal to our Sun. Imagine SETI having found a way to greatly amplify signals, then trying to communicate broadly to the universe the specific location of a specific celestial body.


Is there any real-world feasibility for this defensive maneuver?

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    $\begingroup$ The bombs are 'stellar nuclear', which it seems is some extrapolation of nuclear fusion capable of accelerating spaceships to significant fractions of the speed of light. There's earlier a proposal for the destruction of the solar system using such bombs, so I think we're basically asked to assume these bombs have yield measured in Plot. $\endgroup$ – Fhnuzoag Jan 5 '17 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ Having not read the books, I don't understand the proposed method for making a nuclear bomb block EM radiation. I also don't understand what gravity waves have to do with nuclear bombs or EM radiation signals. As such, I'm not sure this question is a great fit for this site as is. If you instead asked, "Can I send a signal to the galaxy using method X" where you describe X in detail, that might be a better question for this site. I think we need more information about the signaling method, and less about the plot $\endgroup$ – kingledion Jan 5 '17 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ Added that detail @Fhnuzoag $\endgroup$ – cr0 Jan 5 '17 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ @kingledion I don't understand the method either, which is why I asked if there is any feasible explanation for it. The book is vague about the specifics in this case, which may suggest a soft-science answer like the one I proposed below, or it may have been a quick wrap-up as it was toward the end of a long book. $\endgroup$ – cr0 Jan 5 '17 at 15:58
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Perhaps the most realistic explanation is more of a sociological, soft-science one rather than a physical, hard-science one. Consider:

Trisolaris is so gravely concerned with the possibility of their position being broadcast to the galaxy that even the slim chance of it happening is enough to get them to back down. They may wonder, 'how could Luo Ji make the necessary calculations to accomplish this feat without us noticing? Even under the ruse of setting up a bomb screen to detect our incoming probes, we should have seen this coming, due to the extensive preparation he'd need to accomplish it...BUT, what if somehow we did miss it, and he isn't kidding - we cannot afford to risk this; we need to give in to his wishes.'

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