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"Building one space station for everyone was and is insane: we should have built a dozen."
- Larry Niven

Sun-Telephone  
  Receives transmissions from the sun itself.  

I was still more interested in the Sun-Telephone - not far away from the house - which was a scheme originated by Gladden. The Society of Futurity had kept it up, but had never got any definite results from it.

It was rigged somewhat like the Mars Magnetograph, with poles and wires around a large circle, but had a telephone receiver attached to it.


(Sun-Telephone from 'In the Deeps of Time' by George Parsons Lathrop)

Through this receiver we could hear strange and awful moanings; but no one had ever been able to get a definite message from it. Zorlin insisted that, according to Kurol philosophy, the sun was the abode of lost souls...

"...Of course, it warms and cheers you when it shines moderately. But you cannot look at it with the naked eye... Is not its effect in summer fiendish and intolerable; and when it shines too intensely does it not drive people mad and cause epidemics of wrath and suicide?"

After that I never could listen to the dreary groanings of the Sun-Telephone without thinking of what he said.

From In the Deep of Time, by George Parsons Lathrop.
Published by Not known in 1897
Additional resources -

I'm interested in this item because it appears to predate the field of radio astronomy by at least a generation:

A radio telescope is a specialized antenna and radio receiver used to detect radio waves from astronomical radio sources in the sky...

Radio waves from space were first detected by engineer Karl Guthe Jansky in 1932 at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey using an antenna built to study radio receiver noise. The first purpose-built radio telescope was a 9-meter parabolic dish constructed by radio amateur Grote Reber in his back yard in Wheaton, Illinois in 1937. The sky survey he performed is often considered the beginning of the field of radio astronomy.

It turns out that the sun is a significant source. The Sun was one of the first objects studied by early radio astronomers. Other objects in the sky are much more powerful, but the sun's close proximity to us makes it appear radio-bright to us here on the third planet. Solar flares on the Sun's surface are often accompanied by a burst of radio energy.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from In the Deep of Time
  More Ideas and Technology by George Parsons Lathrop
  Tech news articles related to In the Deep of Time
  Tech news articles related to works by George Parsons Lathrop

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