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Could we realistically see ancient images of the earth from reflected light?

  1. Jul 24, 2010 #1
    Could we realistically see ancient images of the earth from reflected light? We know the speed of light and we know the distance of the earth from the sun. Do we have the knowledge to predict the movements of light that we could take a reflection off the earth that shines on a distant object in space and reflects back to us (our devices on Earth) or to a probe or something so we could we see the earth as it used to be?

    If we did, would we be able to see something such as continential structure or the sea level maybe a few million years ago? Or perhaps something closer like a thousand years ago or even one? Then, if we could do that could we map out past climate changes?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2010 #2
    Hi Ted, interesting thought. Even more, it is physically plausible. We would need a giant mirror few million light years from earth, and it's done. Unfortunately, there is no mirror like astronomical objects, so it makes whole thing very complicated.
  4. Jul 24, 2010 #3
    Would something like the clouds in a nebula reflect light at all? If you can't see it is it possible to calculate it mathmatically tracing the current light patterns that are reflected?

    What possible effects would alter the light? If we put a mirror in space to shoot light at could we more accurately get an idea of problems we might face in these relections or alterations that could effect a mathmatical equasion?
  5. Jul 24, 2010 #4
    I think a simple answer is: no. Unless there is some unknown neutrino or gravity mirroring substance out there, it's just not going to be possible.
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