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I was shocked to see that one can simulate interferometry on a computer like the ALMA Correlator described by this video (posted on Wikipedia's article on ALMA)

Is is possible to do the same in visible light? Is only the CPU power the limiting factor or is there some physical limit?

Would it be possible to use similar technology to launch 2 space-based telescopes and put one on the far side of the Sun with respect to the other to get and effective mirror size of about 2 AU? Is only money the limiting factor to do something like that or is there some physical limit? Or maybe there simply is no point to push the diffraction limit so far with a 2 AU mirror?

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    $\begingroup$ What's the question? AFAIK that's not a simulator: it's a data processor. Anyway, yes, there are Adaptive Optic systems which adjust multi-telescope inputs to do path-length-matching at the receiver, if that's what you're after. $\endgroup$ Feb 14 '14 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ It is very difficult for us to communicate with objects on the opposite side of the sun. For example we'll loose communication with the SOHO spacecraft for several months while it passes behind the sun. If you had a ring-network of satellites orbiting the sun, one could theoretically route communications around the sun by using the visible satellites as relays. $\endgroup$
    – chase
    Feb 14 '14 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ I am saying that normally you would do interferometry in analog way, that is using light itself. AFAIK Alma is first recording the signal and digitizing it. Once in the form of digital data it can be stored or processed later. I imagine two satellites going around the sun opposite of each other on orbit slightly higher than Earths orbit. Periodic interrupts due to Sun in the way would be no problem as data might be downloaded later. The interferometry part would be done on Earth after downloading data from telescopes. My question is: Is all of that impossible due to physics? $\endgroup$
    – Eiver
    Feb 14 '14 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ Or is it just an engineering challenge which is in principle possible if someone had enough money to do it? My second question is Would we benefit from such an instrument or would we never reach a diffraction limit for some other reason, so there is no point to build something like that? $\endgroup$
    – Eiver
    Feb 14 '14 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ Related (albeit unanswered) post: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/41687/… $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Feb 14 '14 at 15:45

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