Re: A quote from Hawking
In theory you could make a collecting surface the size of a solar system, which would give you astonishing resolution.
In practice - something like this is more likely:
Park a telescope out around >550AU, use the sun as a gravitational lens.
Not very steerable - you have to move your spacecraft to 'point' the telescope.
But you'd get one hell of a close-up. And it's sort-of almost achievable with current technology.
Interestingly, if a culture learned how to engineer gravity and warp space directly without using a nearby star, it could build an even strong version with a shorter focal length. But it would have to be even further out, because it have enough of a gravitational influence to begin perturbing the orbits of anything close to it.