Lunar Telescopes: A Dive into Past
NASA is using moon to stare deep into the past with its much-delayed James Webb Space Telescope illuminating the birth of the first galaxies of the Universe. But it is somehow a want to investigate the very first stars of astronomers by going even further back. The lunar telescope could be beneficial for going back by using a radical concept.
A concept for a liquid-mirror telescope on the moon that got shelved by NASA which originally floated over a decade ago was revisited by a team of astronomers at the University of Texas at Austin. Soon in a future issue of The Astrophysical Journal will account for this idea by the researchers.
Stars before Galaxy Formation
The theory of the very first stars is being formed by astronomers dating back to 13 billion years ago before the galaxies came together. Current or near-future telescopes do not possess the capabilities of capturing the moment of first light. Volker Bromm in a McDonald Observatory statement said that it is important to think about the ‘ultimate’ telescope that has capabilities of directly observing those elusive first stars at the edge of time.
The moon telescope breaking from the use of solid mirrors like we see with James Webb will be unusual to use in this task. The observatory said that the telescope’s mirror would be topped by a metallic — and thus reflective liquid and would be a spinning vat of liquid. Metals that can be used for such applications could be Mercury.
How Big and Where?
The diameter of the mirror would be needed to be around 330 feet (100 meters) and the moon’s poles lunar crater could be used to place them and solar power could be used to sustain its power.
It would be easier to carry a liquid-based telescope than one made with more traditional materials to the moon. It would be incredibly powerful with its size and location. The observatory at the moon would be called “Ultimately Large Telescope”.
NASA: Using Radio Telescope
Scientists are not only investigating the moon telescope concept but NASA is also funding radio telescope idea research which will include converting lunar crater into the dish. But this is also not an easy task as it will involve deploying robots a wire mesh over a crater.
Bromm said that a crucial transition was the emergence of the first stars marking a history of making of the universe helping to further increase the cosmic complexity which was helped by the primordial conditions set by the Big Bang leading a way for eventually bringing life to planets, life, and intelligent beings like us.