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Peter Wilson
2006-Feb-28, 01:03 AM
If computer chips can keep getting smaller and faster, does that mean that telescopes can continue to grow larger and more ponderous?

Romanus
2006-Feb-28, 01:19 AM
Though I'm no expert, I'd doubt it if size is the only issue. Telescope size is, IIRC, limited far more by the mechanics of building and supporting large mirrors, as well as keeping them aligned. However, if increasing computer speed made say, adaptive optics technology faster and more accurate, then we could very well see a rise in telescope size. The fact that huge telescopes like the GMT and OWL are in the planning stages indicates that we may already be at that point.

ToSeek
2006-Feb-28, 01:39 AM
I don't see that there's any correlation. Telescope building was in a rut until 20 or so years ago, with the Hale Telescope being the largest ever until some breakthroughs occurred that made larger ones more feasible. There's no reason to think that the two technologies are comparable.

antoniseb
2006-Feb-28, 01:53 AM
I suspect that Moore's law will run out of steam at some point soon (expect a distinct slow-down by or before the time we are using nanotubes as conductors between molecular gates).

As to telescopes, I predict that OWL will never be built, and that 50 meter optical telescopes will be the maximum size monolithic Earth-based telescopes. Perhaps the two are connected in some very insubstantial way. My reason for thinking this is that I think interferometry systems and cheap space-built-space-based systems will both be serious competitors for instrument dollars by the time we are thinking about funding additional 50-meter telescopes in thirty years or so.

Swift
2006-Feb-28, 04:18 AM
I suspect that Moore's law will run out of steam at some point soon (expect a distinct slow-down by or before the time we are using nanotubes as conductors between molecular gates).

As someone involved in at least the sidelines of the computer industry for 20 years (electronic materials), I would agree with that. It is also good to remember that Moore's law is not a physical law or a legal law, though some in the computer industry seem to act that way. ;)

Thomas(believer)
2006-Feb-28, 01:53 PM
A year ago or so, I read an article in the newspaper about Moore's law.
There it was mentioned that the law has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Also in this wikipedia article they mention Moore's law.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-fulfilling_prophecy