“Hubble often takes images of distant gravitationally lensed galaxies to infer their substructure and to try to learn about early galaxies in general. For LUVOIR, we would have that same resolution for any galaxy! That’s truly revolutionary.” -John O’Meara
If you were an observational astronomer, what would your dream telescope look like? It would have to be huge, with an incredible amount of light-gathering power. The quality of the optics would have to be pristine, and higher-precision than anything ever created before. It would have to have multispectral capabilities, extending beyond both sides of the visible light spectrum. And it would have to be in space, with no interference from our atmosphere. If we could build a telescope like that, so many things would immediately become possible.
We’d be able to directly image perhaps 100 exo-Earths around nearby stars, including spectra of their atmospheres. We’d take images of Jupiter of the same quality that JUNO can, but from Earth’s orbit. We’d be able to measure the star clusters inside and gas halos surrounding every galaxy in the Universe to just a few hundred light year-precision. And we’d be able to take high-resolution images of the faintest, most distant galaxies of all, in just a tiny fraction of the time it’s taken Hubble to do it.