I’m wondering about the abilities of a technology: You may have heard of the Square Kilometer Array. The array is focused by adjusting the timing of the individual antennas. Q: Could this array be focused toward or through the Earth? Would it allow us to image structures on or in our planet?

Q2 Follow-up question: If such an array was “placed” at/near L1, could it locate satellites? a flying plane? A landed plane? Ships? Underwater? The planet’s core? I’m asking specifically, because I think astronomers could get the best telescope they could imagine, and it would be funded by mostly non-astronomers and without government support.

Follow-up to Q1: Assuming the cost of a telescope element fixture finds itself accessible to the hobbyist astronomer, could each ground-based astronomer be networked into a global array?

I imagine it would take seconds to send a timing pulse to zero-out the detectors and time-shift the detector appropriately to orient the array in the desired direction. Record a few seconds of signal and send it to anybody who wants a copy for further analysis. A few larger organizations retain copies for longitudinal studies, and historical record.

The software updates the array to align it for its next assignment: timing pulse, spectrum, and direction. Wait 3-10 seconds. Next. Time on this array would be plentiful. The cost of operating it, negligible.

Thanks for reading. When I heard about this tech my mind went crazy with the potential and the possibilities!

Thank you.

  • $\begingroup$ You might want to look at the Russian Spektr-R project from the last decade. That's pretty much the the largest baseline ever achieved in radio astronomy, however the project was plagued by other, massive difficulties. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spektr-R $\endgroup$ Oct 30, 2023 at 11:06
  • $\begingroup$ this may also be useful en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_Long_Baseline_Array $\endgroup$
    – dtn
    Oct 31, 2023 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ The way Q1 has been framed I get the impression you have a misconception about how radio telescopes function. Most radio telescopes are just radio receivers. Not every telescope has radio emitting functionality. To see through the Earth & to see structures on in the Earth one needs to transmit a signal into the Earth & then measure the Earth's response. This could be achieved by radar or by having a radio transmitter on the opposite side of the Earth to the radio receiver. Additionally, for this to work, the appropriate radio frequencies would need to be used. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Nov 3, 2023 at 5:15
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your thoughtful responses! I guess I assumed a radio telescope could “see” through the planet, how they see through interstellar dust clouds and such. I know some frequencies pass right through the earth. I assumed the shading one would observe as that light passed though could indicate underground structures and regions. Ultimately I hope to see a multi-spectrum telescope array anyone may use. Given current technology I think it’s a matter of time. “The only difference between the impossible and the mundane, is the date.” — me $\endgroup$
    – Joe D
    Nov 4, 2023 at 14:16


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