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Questions tagged [telescope]

For questions about the optical devices used to view distant objects by collecting and focusing light. Questions may choose to specify refracting telescopes, which use lenses to focus light, or reflecting telescopes, which use mirrors. Relevant tags include "space," "technology," "engineering," and "vision."

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Could a society with medieval technology discover all the planets in the solar system?

Could you have a telescope advanced enough to see a planet as far away as Neptune is from Earth, in a civilization with a tech level equivalent to 1100 AD? Would it be possible to discover all the ...
www's user avatar
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4 votes
4 answers
312 views

How much would an alien species, given radio technology on par with ours, know about our world purely from overheard TV broadcasts/radio?

Let us play with the Aliens Steal Our Cable TV trope and assume that... aliens living about 15 lightyears away can listen in on human radio and TV-broadcasts their technological advancement is such ...
Katy's user avatar
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18 votes
8 answers
7k views

How long would it take us to detect that the earth had been enclosed in a shell 1 light year in radius?

Suppose we put a shell around the solar system that displays a 2D image of the rest of the universe on its inner surface. What year would we have had telescopes powerful enough to determine that this ...
Adam Kabbeke's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
349 views

Optical telegraph that can be seen as far as 90 km. How?

You see, I have this world that has the same planetary characteristics as Earth, and the people of the Snoopish Empire are building an optical telegraph net. The only problem they have is that their ...
4.12.22.4.18.0.'s user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
201 views

Could you detect extrasolar intelligence using a non radio-telescope or other instrument?

The James Webb Space Telescope, after decades of development, has finally launched. It stands to reveal great knowledge about the dawn of the universe, and great insights into extrasolar planets. With ...
WasatchWind's user avatar
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2 votes
4 answers
315 views

Could a space-based telescope 'sense' something extraneous?

If a fist-sized artefact was to attach itself to a space telescope (of near-term build, such as the Nancy Grace Roman) situated in L2 of a Lagrange point, would Ground Control be able to detect it?
calamus's user avatar
  • 29
5 votes
2 answers
295 views

Plausibility of a cosmic flashbulb

Pendorain, admiral of the illustrious Tenth Fleet, had gathered its fleet near the Xzlicyan Pulsar to nurse its wounds. Battle against the hated Andecklin was not going well. The fleet was using the ...
JBH's user avatar
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22 votes
9 answers
7k views

Plausible reason not to notice a planet

Imagine a generation ship heading for a distant star. Humanity had means to observe that star up to a point, that it is 99.9% sure the star has a colonizable Earth-like planet (with water and ...
Maxim Zabolotskikh's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
167 views

What would a telescope need to be able to do to see all of the universe? [closed]

If humans are still around in say 2220, what would a telescope have to be able to do to see the edge of the universe (This is also with caveat of FTL being possible)
Max's user avatar
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2 votes
6 answers
213 views

Why would less-bright meteors be more valuable to spot?

Imagine an agency/company has been set up to track meteors (shooting stars) in pursuit of profit. I need to provide a motivation to upgrade their sensors + equipment over and over again — pouring ...
AlexHeeton's user avatar
14 votes
26 answers
7k views

Plausible reason for Earth not be able to get updates about terraforming on Mars?

I’ve been working on a story where terraforming robots are sent to another world and the colonists come along later. Originally, I had the new world be extrasolar, but for other plot reasons, I’m ...
SRM's user avatar
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5 votes
5 answers
238 views

Plausible scenario for the invention of telescopes and/or cameras in antiquity?

Inspired by a previous revision of one of the articles on the Kerbal Space Program wiki: How would one plausibly have telescopes and/or cameras be present on an inhabited, civilised planet since ...
Vikki's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
973 views

Can I monitor animal movements from space?

The Earth-like planet I'm working on is the culmination of years of labor by the galaxy's best scientists. It consists of fully artificial ecosystems, and is, for all intents and purposes, like Earth. ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
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5 votes
4 answers
249 views

Visibility of explosions from space

I'm trying to figure out whether spacecraft could see explosions occurring on the surface of a planet, or under what conditions they could. To be specific: Given a spacecraft equipped with a ...
rwallace's user avatar
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17 votes
6 answers
2k views

Could a large radio telescope survive interstellar spaceflight?

I recently came across Could pulsars really act as "lighthouses" to help in interstellar travel?, asked a week ago. The author was trying to figure out if pulsars could be useful for ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
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