This video talks about how by sending a spacecraft to around 600 AU and beyond, we would could use the Sun as a gravitational lens and take clear detailed images of exoplanets light-years away.

What it doesn't say however is the exact resolution. An exoplanet 4 light-years away would obviously appear bigger and more detailed than one 100 light years away. But by how much?

Is there a direct formula showing the resolution for an exoplanet at x light-years? As in kilometers/pixel?

screenshot from "Using the Sun to Image Alien Planets"

  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/3644/…? $\endgroup$
    – WarpPrime
    Jan 23, 2021 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ @fasterthanlight No. I want to know the resolution of a planet at a certain distance by using the Sun's gravitational lensing. As in km/pixel. Not necessarily those units, but you know. Just how clear would the image be? $\endgroup$
    – user177107
    Jan 23, 2021 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ @fasterthanlight where are you seeing anything about "...a direct formula showing the resolution for an exoplanet at x light-years?" I don't find the word "resolution" anywhere on that page. This is a different question needing a different answer. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 23, 2021 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ @user177107 and uhoh: it does answer it someway : there is no way on earth, but you'd need to go to the kuiper belt or oort cloud to start using it as a lens to focus the light of a single source $\endgroup$ Jan 24, 2021 at 4:21
  • $\begingroup$ The calculation you want is done here. astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/33498/… $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Jan 24, 2021 at 9:58


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