(ORDO NEWS) — Theoretically, a new type of telescope could make it possible to get a close image of other worlds.
To date, astronomers have discovered more than 5,000 planets orbiting distant stars, but we actually know very little about them because they are too far away to observe them up close.
Now, however, researchers have come up with the idea of a new type of telescope that could solve this problem by using the Sun’s gravity to magnify objects located in other solar systems.
This technique, known as gravitational lensing, is already being used by astronomers to study distant galaxies, but its applicability to planetary observations has only recently been explored.
For the new telescope to work, it will need to be positioned so that the Sun is exactly between it and the planet it wants to see.
If done correctly, the resulting image will be magnified by about 1,000 times, making it possible to see distant planets as clearly as Mars and Jupiter.
“We want to take pictures of planets orbiting other stars that are as good as pictures of the planets in our solar system,” says Professor Bruce McIntosh.
“With this technology, we hope to take a picture of a planet 100 light-years away that will have the same impact as the Apollo 8 picture of Earth.”
However, there is one catch – the technology needed to put this idea into practice does not currently exist, which means that a gravitational telescope is unlikely to appear in the near future.
However, in a few years, when the technology is improved, this may become a very real thing.
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