Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Stargazing Can we see human history through a telescope?

  1. Feb 4, 2008 #1
    In the same way every time we look at the stars we see the past of the universe. Can we see our history placing a extremely powerful telescope pointing towards the earth an arbitrary number of light years away?

    I know that would require faster than light travel, but maybe we could shortcut that problem if those light waves where somehow bouncing back, perhaps in a tiny shiny cristal in the surface of some distant asteroid or some other physic phenomenon making us possible to take an autophoto, google earth style.

    What I'm asking is, is the human complete history vividly recorded in lightwaves travelling through the universe?

    If so, do you think we would someday have that information back? Or is totally lost forever?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 4, 2008 #2
    interesting thought, but i don't know the answer.
  4. Feb 4, 2008 #3
    If you had an extremely large mirror and an extremely sensitive telescope, it should be possible if nothing is in its way, but something like that is completely unfeasible. Something slightly more likely, but still no where near possible today, is the use of a wormhole to travel far away in a short amount of time and then look back at Earth. Wormholes seem to be theoretically possible, but whether or not they can actually work in the physical world is unknown.
  5. Feb 5, 2008 #4
    Theoretically, yes. You need a concave mirror which is about the side of the nearest star and placed there, and you can see what happened 8 year ago with a telescope. But if you start the project now, only our future generations can see what is happening now.
    A better approach is to film the pressent and preserve it for the future, what many people are doing.
  6. Feb 5, 2008 #5
    say we went back far enough to be like near quasars, so about 10billion years? would we see all the development of the solar system and all life, the dinosaurs etc?

    but the problem would be getting there. what about wormholes? do they really exist?
  7. Feb 5, 2008 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    They probably exist, but we'd never be able to use them. And you couldn't build a telescope large enough to see anything useful.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook