Monday, March 30, 2015

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Announcing YASMIN discussion on LIGHT

Hello, Guillermo and Roger -- this should be a fascinating topic.

I have a question about how much information is contained in light traveling through space. From my house in Southern California I look straight up to Mount Wilson, where Edwin Hubble confirmed an expanding universe by measuring the redshift in light traveling from distant galaxies. Early telescope optics had shown other galaxies as fuzzy clouds of light, and thus by virtue of our inability to fully parse the information contained therein, our perception of the universe was incomplete and conclusions drawn were distorted. The difference between those early fuzz clouds and current images of galaxies from powerful land and space-based telescopes is stunning -- the light reaching us is the same, but our technology for parsing the information contained within that light advanced during the last century.

So, my question is: How much information travels in light? How much potentially MORE information travels in light than can we can currently decipher, should we be able to develop the technologies to see it?

It is clear, for example, that light bouncing off the Earth can yield amazing detail as seen from close-by orbiting telescopes -- just look at Google Map's satellite view. And from the Hubble Telescope we can see a lot of information reflected off the surface of Mars, which is of course much further away -- so could some astronomer on another planet at the other side of the galaxy, using light-analyzing technologies we perhaps can't even imagine, theoretically be able to see Mars at the same or even better resolution? Given the physics of light, whether reflected or originated by a body in space, will all the information contained therein travel intact to very far away places? Could we someday observe stars in distant galaxies at the same resolution we currently observe our Sun? My question is not whether it is feasible to invent such sophisticated observation technologies -- but rather would the physics of light traveling through space allow close-up detail from very far aw!
ay -- would the information be preserved in the light and be awaiting detection, should such technologies be invented?

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