Buying through this banner helps support the forum!
Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Astronomy Question

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Nightingale Island
    Posts
    28

    Astronomy Question

    Hypothetically speaking, if I were positioned on a distant planet, some 10 million light years from earth, and was equipped with a telescope thrice as powerful as, let's say, the Hubble Telescope, could the below happen?

    Let's assume that this telescope is so powerful that it could magnify to a degree that would let me identify a tree on planet earth. Now, since light travels at such an odd pace, could I possibly train my scope on earth and catch a glimpse of a prehistoric creature, or actually view terra firma in its early stages; possibly pre-moon? Just curious.
    Look, you con man, make a living out of your death.

    -E. Hemingway

  2. #2
    BadWoolf JuniperWoolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    The North
    Posts
    4,433
    Blog Entries
    28
    That's a pretty cool thought. Like, if we had the ability and resources to travel faster than the speed of light, could we out-run the light and make it to such a distance that we could literally look into the earth's past? I don't see why not.
    __________________
    "Personal note: When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun. So once when I was six, I did. At first the brightness was overwhelming, but I had seen that before. I kept looking, forcing myself not to blink, and then the brightness began to dissolve. My pupils shrunk to pinholes and everything came into focus and for a moment I understood. The doctors didn't know if my eyes would ever heal."
    -Pi


  3. #3
    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Kuala Lumpur but from Canada
    Posts
    4,161
    Blog Entries
    25
    I would assume you would see the Earth as it was 10 million years ago, if you were 10 million light years away. You would be able to see some extinct mammals, birds, and plants maybe .

    (In reality though, light reflecting from the surface of a planet in such a way that discernible images are created is highly unlikely, I'm not a physicist though, so maybe it's possible to see something. You have to remember that planets don't emit light, so when you see them in telescopes what you're seeing is the light from stars bouncing off them. How we detect planets now is the distortion of light from stars that is created by the gravity of a planet.)
    Last edited by OrphanPip; 02-13-2010 at 06:56 PM.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
    - Margaret Atwood

  4. #4
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Kathmandu
    Posts
    4,959
    Many of the questions raised here can be found in science fictions only

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

  5. #5
    Banned
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,590
    Blog Entries
    157
    I imagine you would be seeing a very different Earth. Hmmmm, extinct animals and plants. Imagine, no lights and no people running around with cars. Now you have me wishing I could see it

  6. #6
    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Birkenhead, England
    Posts
    4,198
    Blog Entries
    41
    I guess you could see those creatures, if you were able to beam to that planet right now (except for what Pip said). But if you had to travel there first, it would take a lot longer than 10 Million light years to get there and then you'd only see Earth as it is now or after you left, because the time it takes you to travel and the time it takes light to travel cancel each other out.

  7. #7
    Inquisitive bloke ClaesGefvenberg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Eskilstuna, Sweden
    Posts
    1,274

    Thumbs up

    Orphan and Sleepy said it:

    Being positioned 10 Million light years away you would see what whatever happened 10 Million years ago. Getting to that position is an entirely different matter, of course.

    /Claes
    Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

  8. #8
    Registered User billl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    2,012
    What is interesting to me, is to imagine a triangle, where one corner is opposite a particular side "a". Now, if that corner is many many light years away, then the side "a" could receive only a slight amount of iight from that distant "corner" if that corner were a bright sort of light (e.g. a star).

    I understand that VERY distant stars are invisible to the naked eye. However, it is still a bit amazing that two people, standing next to each other, a mere 40 cm apart, would both recognize the arrival of photons from some distant star, and that this agreement about the existence of the said star should continue as both observers wandered about, criss-crossing each other, and always receiving some detectable share of photons from that distant star. Really, this seems to indicate that a star that is perhaps 3 or 12 or more light-years away is sending out photons IN EVERY DIRECTION in SUCH A DENSITY that people sitin side-by-side on Earth (many light-years away, but just 20-40cm apart) would each receive enough photons to register a star out there in the galaxy, and that a slight shift of perhaps 12 inches to the side would keep oneself in the field of dispersed but visible photons, from such a vast distance.

    Anyhow, this is a wild idea that I heard on a podcast once before, and while it might not disprove anything, I think it certainly is enough to make one reconsider just HOW full of photons our "empty" cosmos must be...
    Last edited by billl; 02-17-2010 at 05:57 AM.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Nightingale Island
    Posts
    28
    It's hard to wrap your mind around it. I'm a bit disgruntled that our current President cut funds directed towards NASA, but I suspect that this will be reversed soon enough. Of course, space travel is now becoming such a private matter, i.e. Richard Branson, that we may see progress in leaps and bounds in the next decade.

    But ever more puzzling is the mystery of dark matter, or what was once termed ether. It seems that scientists are on the brink of confirming its existence.
    Look, you con man, make a living out of your death.

    -E. Hemingway

  10. #10
    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Birkenhead, England
    Posts
    4,198
    Blog Entries
    41
    Quote Originally Posted by LeavesOfGrass View Post
    It's hard to wrap your mind around it. I'm a bit disgruntled that our current President cut funds directed towards NASA, but I suspect that this will be reversed soon enough.
    I'm in two minds about that. On the one hand, I think exploring space is all very exciting etc. but on the other hand it seems like a waste of money while there are much more urgent problems on earth.
    The other day I read an article about terra-forming Mars in National Geographic. They explored whether it could be done and showed how Mars can be terra-formed step-by-step over 1,000 years. Finally it would look very earth-like but people would still have to live in domes and wear scuba masks outside because it would still be too cold and there wouldn't be enough oxygen. Plus, the newly created atmosphere of Mars would evaporate again even before Earth becomes uninhabitable.
    Of course, no one is planning to terra-form Mars right now, but some scientists say it could be done given a vast budget. Now, the art-work in that article was really beautiful so it all looked a bit like sci-fi/fantasy and as very nice. But seriously, how daft would it be to slog away at terra-forming only so that people can live in domes and then it was all in vain in the end anyway? Plus, there is no agency that could make that sort of commitment for 1,000 years? But let's imagine the finance aspect was sorted out and they really did it. What if something went wrong and people were stuck in those domes and could never get off Mars, or ould die a slow death there? What a waste. Or what if after 500 years something came up and they realized they can't do it after all?

  11. #11
    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Kuala Lumpur but from Canada
    Posts
    4,161
    Blog Entries
    25
    NASA scientist like to habitually complain about funding cuts. The director of the Mars Rover missions gave a lecture to one of my classes at university and he spent half of it complaining about Bush (who was president at the time) cutting funding to Mars programs to concentrate on the moon. Funding has been an uphill battle for them since the Apollo missions ended. A lot of great technology has been developed by NASA directly and indirectly, like tang and velcro, you get other useful stuff besides the intended results of the space missions themselves. As a microbiologist, a lot of great research got to get done on bacteria in extreme regions that would otherwise have been ignored. Sure, nothing practical came of that, but we expanded humanity's knowledge of the world we live in.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
    - Margaret Atwood

Similar Threads

  1. Ask any question.
    By Bakiryu in forum Forum Games
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 11-20-2014, 02:22 PM
  2. Thomas Pynchon's V discussion
    By Guzmán in forum General Literature
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 09-02-2014, 04:29 AM
  3. a very good question
    By nathalia252 in forum Macbeth
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-25-2010, 05:46 PM
  4. A question ... please get in !
    By Ahmed_Kaid in forum Bronte, Emily
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-07-2007, 02:40 PM
  5. A Very Good Question 2
    By nathalia252 in forum Macbeth
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-03-2007, 11:44 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •