View Full Version : Seeing extra-solar planets in detail?

2006-Aug-10, 02:36 AM
Would it be physically possible to build a telescope (or an array) that could effectively see, in extreme detail, the surface of extra-solar planets? Disregard political, bureaucratic and monetary issues.

What size and characteristics would it need to have in order to achieve such feat? There are probably several optical issues involved, can anyone name them?

I was also wondering just how far aperture synthesis can be used. Would a huge, single telescope would be better than several smaller ones spread over a big area? Say we could build a single huge telescope with 3 km aperture on the moon, what sort of things could we see with that, and how could aperture synthesis be used as an alternative (if it could be one)?