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Help: I would like to build a switch activated by light from a star.

My good friends are getting married. they met 16 years ago. i would like to build a trigger that is activated by the light of a star 16 light years away. the trigger would turn on the lights set up for the party. I have a telescope and have found a good candidate star. what do i need to build it? is there a light sensor i can hook up to the telescope? how do i hook that up to a switch? Please any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks

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gyromild9 years ago
Basically your idea is to capture the light that beamed from the star on the year they met..The light that should be arriving to earth this year, and use it to trigger some party lights. If you can observe the star, that means the lights already arrived on earth, in a constant stream (since the star's birth+16)...The only humanly possible way to capture a particular 16-year-old light, is to simply put on a lid on the telescope, and take it off at the right time. Combined with a photomultiplier (as mentioned by lemonie) to trigger the party lights. Hypothetically speaking..if you've found a star thats 16-lightyears away, that was born in 1991, and the light from new star will be popping in your nightsky at the percise moment of party..Then, some kind of automated triggering can be done.. But then again, even if you went through all the trouble..people will still think it's a fake triggering process..so might as well just fake it..
NachoMahma9 years ago
. I can't think of any way for a DIYer, on a limited budget, to do it. Quite possibly there is an cheap/easy way, but I can't think of it. I'd check some of the amateur astronomy sites - they will know MUCH more about it than I (and most ppl on this site). . I'd fake it - build a contraption that will point in the general direction of the star, do some "thinking" (beeps, flashes, etc) for a few seconds, and then claim to have found it.
I'm an electronics engineer and I would definitely fake it.
I had a re-think on this one. Wouldn't a 16 year old star be more appropriate than a 16 light year star? I just Googled "16 year old star" and got - Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney's younger sister. See if she is free to turn on the lights. Cheers, Pat. Pending
. ROFLMAO. I like the way you think.
gmoon9 years ago
From a single star? I don't get it--when are stars ever 'turned off,' so what signifies 'on?' You want to toggle a switch when said star reaches a certain point? Very difficult. Quite hard to differentiate one star from another. Some sort of image recognition software would be a possible solution. Recognizes when a particular stellar pattern reaches a certain point. Of course, the telescope would need to be aimed precisely--which is a little different each day ... A photo transistor switch on a telescope might work for a really bright single planet--like Venus. Or obviously, the moon.
ishmael101 (author)  gmoon9 years ago
thanks for the comment just to clarify: what i would like to happen is the light from a star goes through my telescope hits a sensor. that sensor sends a signal to a trigger which turns on the lights at the party. thus the light which left the star the year they met is turning on the lights at their wedding.
lemonie9 years ago