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View Full Version : Telescope on the Far Side of the Moon



missmoo
2008-Jan-10, 03:16 AM
(Not sure if this is the right thread for this, but I hope so..)

I have always wondered if this was a practical idea, to build a telescope on the far side of the moon.

It seems to me that this will solve a lot of problems with "background noise" from the earth, it will be further out to see further into the universe, and at least half a month it will have no radiation from the sun. Of course.. the other half it will be toasted crisp but we could probably use that to just stare at our sun with less disruption from the atmosphere...

Anyways, is this possible? is it a good idea, or is it a waste of funds? What do you guys think?

Cheers,

moo

01101001
2008-Jan-10, 04:41 AM
It seems to me that this will solve a lot of problems with "background noise" from the earth, it will be further out to see further into the universe, and at least half a month it will have no radiation from the sun. Of course.. the other half it will be toasted crisp but we could probably use that to just stare at our sun with less disruption from the atmosphere...


The far side would probably be good for radio telescopes. Wikipedia: Far side of the Moon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far_side_of_the_Moon)


Because the far side of the Moon is shielded from radio transmissions from the Earth, it is considered a good location for placing radio telescopes for use by astronomers. Small, bowl-shaped craters provide a natural formation for a stationary telescope similar to Arecibo in Puerto Rico. For much larger-scale telescopes, the 100-kilometer diameter crater Daedalus is situated near the center of the far side, and the 3 km-high rim would help to block stray communications from orbiting satellites. Another potential candidate for a radio telescope is the Saha crater.

Before deploying radio telescopes to the far side, several problems must be overcome. The fine lunar dust can contaminate equipment, vehicles, and space suits. The conducting materials used for the radio dishes must also be carefully shielded against the effects of solar flares. Finally the area about the telescopes must be protected against contamination by other radio sources.

NASA's given some thought to putting optical telescopes on the moon, but the near side is probably more convenient and just as effective. With no atmosphere, light pollution isn't such a big deal -- except for the really bright lights like the sun and earth close to where you want to look.

NASA: Lunar exploration science (http://aerospacescholars.jsc.nasa.gov/HAS/cirr/em/6/4.cfm)

http://aerospacescholars.jsc.nasa.gov/HAS/cirr/Images/scope2.jpg (http://aerospacescholars.jsc.nasa.gov/HAS/cirr/em/6/4.cfm)


Various other plans to return to the moon include the development of a lunar telescope [...]

NASA: Ask an Astrophysicist :: Astronomy From the Moon (http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970528a.html)


Would you have by any chance any information on possible NASA projects as regards observing from the Moon? Would the dark side of the moon be a good place for a telescope?

aurora
2008-Jan-10, 10:09 PM
One other comment, regarding:


it will be further out to see further into the universe,

The distance from the Earth to the Moon is miniscule compared to the distance to all other objects.

Centaur
2008-Jan-14, 05:56 AM
I have always wondered if this was a practical idea, to build a telescope on the far side of the moon.


That was an idea championed by 19th century astronomers. They did not consider the possibility of telescopes in near Earth orbit. Something like the Hubble is far easier to put in place, control and maintain than a Moon based telescope. It's also a lot cheaper.

geonuc
2008-Jan-15, 11:57 AM
I guess we'd also need a lunar satellite to relay images and data back to Earth?

AndreasJ
2008-Jan-15, 12:14 PM
I guess we'd also need a lunar satellite to relay images and data back to Earth?

You may want to put the relaying station at one of the Lagrange points (L4 or L5) - that way it can be above the telescope's horizon permanently.

Another possibility I've heard suggested is to lay an optic cable on the Moon that stretches over to a relaying station on the Nearside. Sounds pointlessly expensive to me.