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B Limits on interferometers

  1. Sep 13, 2017 #1
    Is there a limit to optical space interferometry? I read this article
    https://www.noao.edu/meetings/interferometry/workshop-files/Carpenter-Space-comp.pdf about future concepts(which i think is really good). I'm wondering, can optical interferometers have a length of more than 1 light second.....could you place 3 say in the asteroid belt and have a 2 AU resolution
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2017 #2


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    None of the proposed missions there was realized, and there is no space interferometry mission actively in preparation (unless you count LISA Pathfinder / LISA).

    LISA was originally planned with 5 million km baseline, as NASA stopped contributing ESA scaled it down to 3 million km (10 light seconds), so you can do interferometry over these distances.

    The solar wind at 1 AU is 19 orders of magnitude less dense than the atmosphere, 100 million km in space have the same area density as 100 nm of (sea level) air, so I wouldn't expect problems from seeing.

    Very sparse interferometers tend to have significant side-lobes - you get a good resolution at the place you are looking at, but you also get light from elsewhere.
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