What can a lunar-based telescope do? If the band is ultraviolet and it can do high time sampling exposure, maybe it can be used to get distance for a star with stable pulses. However, the star should be bright and its distance should not be large.

  • $\begingroup$ Moon's surface might be a good spot for large synthetic aperture arrays: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aperture_synthesis They'd be smaller than what could be achieved in space, but have a naturally stable geometry. $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2014 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ The Chinese Chang'e 3 lander has an ultraviolet telescope and a camera in operation on the Moon right now. Seems to do both cosmological and Solar/Earth science. $\endgroup$
    – LocalFluff
    Sep 7, 2014 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Wayfaring the moon-earth distance changes all the time. The effect of an unstable baseline could be removed? $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2014 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ @questionhang I was thinking all scopes on the moon. They'd have the wavelength window advantage of space, with a nice stable footing. Making and earth-moon based synthetic array would present quite a challange. $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2014 at 14:53

1 Answer 1


What can a lunar-based telescope do?

First, you would have no atmospheric distortions to interfere with the viewing.
Second, there would be no atmospheric absorption of ultraviolet or infrared light.
Third, there would be no cloud cover, so viewing can be almost continuous (the sun may interfere).

However, the star should be bright and its distance should not be large.

I don't know what you reason for saying that, but it is unimportant since the Hubble telescope looks at all the stars.

The telescope will need to be self cleaning. There is a lot of dust kicked up when as meteoroid strikes.
An extended manned mission to the moon to set up a large array.

  • $\begingroup$ "There is a lot of dust kicked up when as meteoroid strikes." I doubt that! Exhaust from rocket engines during landing could be a problem, but if the telescope is uncovered after that, nothing will ever move on the Moon's surface. $\endgroup$
    – LocalFluff
    Sep 8, 2014 at 10:46
  • $\begingroup$ @LocalFluff Static levitation of lunar dust: science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2005/… I don't how know big a problem dust'll be, but with it floating meters to kilometers up in sunlight, it'll have to be addressed. $\endgroup$ Sep 8, 2014 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ @LocalFluff Here is a meteorite making a 40 m crater. That is a lot of debris kicked up. If it was near the telescope, there could be several cm of dirt on it. theguardian.com/science/video/2014/feb/24/… $\endgroup$
    – LDC3
    Sep 9, 2014 at 1:03
  • $\begingroup$ If a meteorite hits a position very close to the telescope and the telescope is working(uncovered), the telescope may be affected. $\endgroup$ Sep 9, 2014 at 11:14
  • $\begingroup$ ps:anybody knows where does the moon's north pole point at? A general position is OK. I asked this question before, but nobody knew. astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/5900/… $\endgroup$ Sep 9, 2014 at 11:56

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