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Sunday, December 14, 2014

SCIENCE/TECHNOLOGY - What would it look like from Earth if the moonwere a giant disco ball?

By Robbie Gonzalez (http://rtgonzalez.kinja.com/)

So, technically, this is what it would look like if the Moon were a disco ball AND orbited Earth at the same distance as the International Space Station, i.e. roughly 420 kilometers (260 miles) above the surface of the Earth. But that doesn't make it any less incredible looking.

This fantastic animation is by Nick of Yeti Dynamics (the same guy behind this simulation of a normal, non-disco-ball moon at a distance of 420km) and comes by way of Michael Stevens of Vsauce. Some good stuff in here from Stevens about Roche limits (if the moon were ever suddenly teleported to so close a distance, it would promptly disintegrate... worth it?) and earthshine – although it's worth the watch for Nick's simulations alone. The one that envisions a giant, single-plane mirror orbiting Earth is especially awe-inspiring.

From Vsauce

The large mirror-tiles are 150km squared, and the small ones are 100km squared. 
They are all 10 km thick with glass (with an IOR of 1.56) 
There are 3012 mirrored tiles 

When as near as the ISS, the Earth surface to disco-ball-moon surface distance is 420 km or so The orbital period in relation to the earth is realistic, about a 2.1 hour period. 

When the disco moon is in low orbit, each reflection of the sun as a caustic is effectively a tiny sun, although you can never reflect enough light to get above the temperature of the surface of the sun (about 6000 degrees). 

Since the sunlight is going through glass first, glass will in general filter out a lot of the UV, so your caustics shouldn't reflect too much UV. The projection of a mirror-tile is larger than the projection of the sun when seen from low altitude. . 

when seen from far away the tile is smaller than the sun, and hence the caustic isn't as bright . Basically the disco tiles are glass with a silvered backing. Some of the light will not penetrate the glass, and will be simply reflected off the first surface of the glass, This reflection strength increases as the angle of incidence approaches 90, generally referred to as a Fresnel reflection.. or rather the strength follows that equation. This reflected light will generally be full spectrum 

The center of the giant flat mirror is orbiting at a distance of 2157.4 Km above the Surface of the earth, It's diameter is 3474.8 km (same as the moon), It's orbital period would be longer than the disco moon simply because it has less mass. But in this video it has the same orbital period as in the moon.

The actual mass of the giant mirror is absurd.. it's way over-engineered.. if a real one were to be built it wouldn't have huge thick rims, it would more likely resemble a girder work, with Mylar films. Not huge death star like mirror with towers, and strobe lights (and a strange lack of solar panels) 

Follow me on twitter! https://twitter.com/tweetsauce or instagram: http://instagram.com/electricpants and subscribe to Vsauce for more: http://www.youtube.com/user/vsauce?su...visuals by YETI DYNAMICS: https://www.youtube.com/yetidynamics music by JAKE CHUDNOW: http://www.youtube.com/JakeChudnow

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