back to article NASA's six-mile-wide orbital telescope is 1/6th built

NASA has plans to build a telescope six miles (9.66km) wide in Earth orbit, comprised of a constellation of six toaster-sized satellites. The first of those toasters has just been finished.  The Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment, or SunRISE, will keep a close eye on our local star to help scientists gain a better …

  1. Potemkine! Silver badge

    the same principle as the Event Horizon Telescope NASA scientists used to photograph the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

    The Event Horizon Telescope is an international collaboration capturing images of black holes using a virtual Earth-sized telescope

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      ...Event Horizon...

      This name always reminds me of the film. Imagine they create this telescope, it vanishes into a black hole and comes back out some years later. I for one would like to see the pictures ;-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm sure I'm not the only one here who saw "toaster sized satellite" and immediately thought of the talkie toaster from red dwarf ... so, "anyone want some toast?"

        1. The Bobster

          Frackin' chrome job

      2. Down not across

        Where we're going, we won't need eyes to see.

        1. b0llchit Silver badge

          You mean, settle for tactile images... or what?

  2. Ball boy Silver badge

    Hell of an approximation!

    "The six "SmallSats" will orbit Earth approximately 22,000 miles (35,405.568km) away in a circular formation."

    That Km conversion is remarkably precise for an approximation but can we have it in the Internationally recognised units, please? For reference - and to save on keystrokes for the update - it's about 252,902,632 Linquine. For readers in the Southern Hemisphere who prefer a more local equivalent, fractionally under 5,807,909 Giraffes.


    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      Re: Hell of an approximation!

      One meter difference does make optical interferometry quite unusable. Maybe they cut off some extra digits up to the nanometer scales to prevent us from getting too confused?

      But then, the "approximately 22,000 miles" statement. I guess they are approximating interferometry on the mile boundaries. They must be listening in on the very low frequency AM transmissions coming from beyond the sun.

      You do know that the sun's core is a gateway to another dimension, don't you? From there the aliens have been sending transmissions at low frequency. And surely, that we must pick up to join the intergalactic community. Rumours have it that the transmission contains the intergalactic community registration form.

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: Hell of an approximation!

        Nah. that's not the registration form its just a tracker. Make sure you click on the thing that looks a bit like an old fashioned bacon slicer to select the "do not track through interspatial dimension" option before you submit it.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Hell of an approximation!

        They're listening in the 0.1 to 25 MHz range, roughly 3km to 10m wavelength if my mental arithmetic is OK. The ionosphere normally blocks everything below 15 MHz, so this is virgin territory, I suppose.

        (I didn't find that terribly easy to look up. The NASA page for the mission didn't want to say and there is a UV solar telescope launch on a balloon that is also called "sunrise" which makes googling harder.)

      4. richardcox13

        Re: Hell of an approximation!

        For the purpose of the interferometry does the precise orbital radius matter? The relative position of the satellites is another matter of course.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Hell of an approximation!

      WARNING: Linquine - unit of measurement unknown. Did you mean Linguine?

  3. Timbo

    No real warning for Earth then?

    If this constellation of SmallSats is in orbit around Earth at 22,000 miles and according to the article:

    "SunRISE's SmallSats will connect together to act as a single antenna used to detect radio wave bursts that indicate a solar event that could have an impact on human space activities."

    then I very much doubt that an event that happens 93m miles away and the light from which takes 8 1/3 minutes to get to Earth, so having this telescope so close (at 0.000236559 of the Sun-Earth distance away, will give scientists about ~0.0002 * 8.33 minutes = 0.0019 minutes of "warning" - about 0.11 of a second !!

    Hardly useful ?

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: No real warning for Earth then?

      Great calculations.....apart from the fact the storms themselves I. E. the effects take about 4 days to arrive.

      So yeah, plenty of warning.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. BackToTheFuture

    Pah - old tech.

    Flying Toasters in space?

    Well we know where they got THAT idea from.

    Some of us were using the After Dark screensaver way back in 1989....

  6. Spherical Cow Silver badge

    [checks back of envelope]

    They've completed one sixth of a six mile wide telescope so... it's one mile wide now??

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