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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old October 23 2012, 02:14 PM   #16
Christopher
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Re: Alpha Centauri Bb: For Real

^The resolution would be way too low, and there'd be too much light extinction due to interstellar gas and dust. Also, keep in mind that you need a concave mirror to focus the image in a reflecting telescope. Even if a neutron star surface were a perfect mirror, it would be a convex, spherical one. Most of the light impinging on it from Earth would be spread outward, not focused back at us.

Not to mention that a neutron star's surface might well be covered in cracks and subject to seismic activity, not as perfectly smooth as one might think. And it would be spinning rather fast. (So maybe kinda like a disco ball?) Not to mention that most neutron stars would be hot enough to incandesce, and that light would probably wash out any reflections.
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Old October 23 2012, 03:03 PM   #17
Timewalker
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Re: Alpha Centauri Bb: For Real

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Since it can be safely assumed that almost every star in the milky way has at least one planet, we should focus our efforts on increasing our detection threshhold so that we can locate smaller objects in wider orbits, possibly allowing for planet searches around some of brighter/hotter/bigger stars with absurdly huge habitable zones (hell, maybe giant Betelgeuse has a couple of Earthlike planets in hundred-year orbits or spinning around a neptune-sized gas giant; I imagine that Europa and/or Titan would become pretty nice places to live during the Sun's red giant phase).
Only if they were to have atmospheres we could actually breathe by then...

Mind you, in 2-3 billion years, we should hopefully have gone elsewhere or evolved to some state where it wouldn't matter to us.
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Old October 23 2012, 04:07 PM   #18
sojourner
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Re: Alpha Centauri Bb: For Real

Christopher wrote: View Post
^The resolution would be way too low, and there'd be too much light extinction due to interstellar gas and dust. Also, keep in mind that you need a concave mirror to focus the image in a reflecting telescope. Even if a neutron star surface were a perfect mirror, it would be a convex, spherical one. Most of the light impinging on it from Earth would be spread outward, not focused back at us.

Not to mention that a neutron star's surface might well be covered in cracks and subject to seismic activity, not as perfectly smooth as one might think. And it would be spinning rather fast. (So maybe kinda like a disco ball?) Not to mention that most neutron stars would be hot enough to incandesce, and that light would probably wash out any reflections.
We know. It wasn't a serious proposal.
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Old October 27 2012, 07:09 PM   #19
publiusr
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Re: Alpha Centauri Bb: For Real

Now we know that there is a potential to use the sun itself as a gravitational lens--and you don't just get a focal point--but a focal line--so it is good to keep an open mind. Maybe not a mirror--but a lens is doable from our own star 400-800 AU out, which is more do-able than true interstellar travel for now.

Now I want to know how this might apply to beamed energy propulsion--since you have a focal line.
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