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Ltryptophan's avatar

Could we use a quantum telescope to see the earth or the sun in the distant past?

Asked by Ltryptophan (12091points) January 17th, 2020 from iPhone

We see light from distant stars, perhaps the light we are emitting can be detected en route to deep space, and filtered to show what earth or the sun would look like if we were many light years away.

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13 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

So how would a quantum telescope “filter” the present away?

Ltryptophan's avatar

I put quantum because it sounds cool. Maybe it is what would be needed. Dunno.

The LIGO wave pattern is a good place to start. I imagine the observatory would need infinitely more delicate equipment to sort out all the light particles on their way to other galaxies.

Perhaps we could practice on decoding the light that is just leaving earth, and work our way further and further out.

Probably doesn’t make any sense.

LostInParadise's avatar

We currently see the Sun slightly in the past, because it takes time for the Sun’s light to reach us. To see the Sun further in the past or to see the Earth in the past, we would have to travel faster than the speed of light, which our current understanding of the Universe says is impossible.

dabbler's avatar

@LostInParadise makes a good point. A regular telescope looks into the past.
To see the Earth a billion years ago, however, one would have had to put that telescope somehow a billion light years away.

LadyMarissa's avatar

No, but some scientist could convince you that you did!!!

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Yes. If you can travel faster than light you can theoretically see into the Earths past. It would be a great book to write. You could solve crimes by using a gigantic telescope in light speed and turn it to the Earth.

Nevada83's avatar

One word answers. Not annoying at all. LOL

Ltryptophan's avatar

The point I’m making is somehow we might be able to use quantum physics to detect the light as it is traveling away from us without being in the direct path of the light.

A regular telescope catches incoming light. Instead, we would “quantum radar”, if you will, the light as it is leaving. As we get better at doing it we might be able to focus in more and more.

Think of it this way. If I shoot a laser into space with a solid red beam visible to the naked eye, then we will see a beam only. But, that beam has an end point. We definitely are NOT able to outrun the tip of a laser beam, but we might be able to somehow detect the photon path it is traveling in space.

Or, If I shoot a lazer into space how long can we see its tail? 0 seconds? Once it departs it is untraceable until it bounces back from a mirror?

It’s like shooting outward a needle of light into a sea of incoming light and trying to keep track of it. Surely, it is cutting a quantum pathway into spacetime, and maybe we can only “watch” it leave very briefly for now.

Just think if we could use quantum wave information to pluck our patterns of light out of space, and reconstruct even a totally blurred image of ancient Earth.

I think it’s within the realm of possible.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But “capture the light as it’s leaving” is called PHOTOGRAPHY. You need “quantum” mirrors and plenty of them spaced at many intervals and focused to reflect past ages back to us.

LostInParadise's avatar

Between a person and the Sun there is light from the last 8 minutes. Older light is past you. To catch up to it, you need to travel faster than it is going away from you, which means that you would have to travel faster than the speed of light, which is impossible.

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