On Earth one can group multiple telescopes to observe a specific region. They can be moved around and focus different areas. Also they give a higher resolution of the area they observe.

Would this be possible for telescopes that are not located on the ground?

Instead of building larger and larger telescopes, building smaller ones and make them work together.


1 Answer 1


This is already done, especially with radio telescopes. For example, we've had the Very Large Array for a couple of decades, and we now have LOFAR and the VLT.

It certainly would be possible to have an array of telescopes spread across the globe, or even an array of satellite telescopes. LIGO (not for electromagnetic wave detection though) will eventually have a couple of stations on the other sides of the world, and the long term plan is to have a satellite version of LIGO, LISA.

See also: Deep Impact and Keck. Keck is another observatory that uses this technique. Deep Impact was a project where many of the world's telescopes were focussed at a single event.

And HALCA and Spektr-R

  • $\begingroup$ +1. It was also done in visible/IR wavelengths with NASA's deep impact -- a planned and controlled impact on an asteroid, to which most large telescoped were pointed to gather as much information as possible. As mentioned in the link yuo provide, it is also done regularly with the Keck observatory, which is part of the reason there are two of those monsters. $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2013 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ @RodyOldenhuis Ah, right, Deep Impact was the one I was trying to remember. Didn't know that about Keck though, interesting :) $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2013 at 9:32
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks :) @Everyone: Feel free to edit more into my post if you wish! :) $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2013 at 17:21

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