Math advice for paranoid aliens

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John August crowd-sources answers to some screenwriting issues in his blog comments.

Far away on a distant planet, an intelligent but very paranoid species is constructing a series of terrestrial watchtowers to scan the heavens, making sure no space-traveling enemies sneak up on them.

You can think of these watchtowers as observatories, each one watching a 180-degree (half-sphere) swath of the sky. For this simplest version, you can ignore complications like atmospheric distortion or possible moons.

Question #1: For complete coverage, what is the minimum number of watchtowers they need to build?

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My name is Phil Nelson and I make beautiful objects for a troubled world. I'm a designer / developer / writer / director / editor / narrator at Occipital.

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Hey. What're you doing all the way down here? You get lost? Just looking around? Cool. I like you.