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Is it possible for us to peer into space and spot artificially illuminated objects “out there?” According to a new study done by Abraham Loeb (Harvard), Edwin L. Turner (Princeton), the answer is yes.
When it comes to searching for ET, current efforts have been almost exclusively placed in picking up a radio signal – just a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Consider for a moment just how much lighting we here on Earth produce and how our “night side” might appear as viewed from a telescope on another planet. If we can assume that alternate civilizations would evolve enjoying their natural lighting, wouldn’t it be plausible to also assume they might develop artificial lighting sources as well?
For gathering light, the array of Earthly telescopes now at science’s disposal are able to confidently observe a light source comparable in overall brightness to a large city — up to a certain distance. Right now astronomers are able to measure the orbital parameters of Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) with the greatest of precision by their observed flux and computing their changing orbital distances.
Spotting this illumination difference in the optical band would be tricky but by calculating the observed flux from solar illumination on Kuiper Belt Objects with a typical albedo, the team is confident that existing telescopes and surveys could detect the artificial light from a reasonably brightly illuminated region, roughly the size of a terrestrial city, located on a KBO. Even though the light signature would be weaker, it would still carry the dead give-away – the spectral signature. However, we currently don’t expect there to be any civilizations thriving at the edge of our solar system, as it is dark and cold out there.
The team isn’t suggesting that any random light source detected where there should be darkness might be considered a sign of life, though. There are many factors which could contribute to illumination, such as viewing angle, backscattering, surface shadowing, outgassing, rotation, surface albedo variations and more. this is just a new suggestion and a new way of looking at things, as well as suggested exercises for future telescopes and studying exoplanets
There could be life out there in the Dark and Cold
Originally posted by dtrock78
In answer to your first question, there is no "sound" in outer space, since it is a total vacuum.
Originally posted by anon72
Great responses. I agree with you but I think the next level of "listening/looking" needs to be done off the planet.
Thanks for your email. I think a couple of people from the European press made a mistake and associated my work with the work on extra-solar planets. I am carrying out a search for ETI in the optical spectrum. We are looking for laser pulse signals from outer space.
The signal we detected came from the southern constellation Tucanae. Please find attached the signal for your use in your publications.
We are still in the process of trying to figure out whether it is an ETI signal.
Originally posted by SloAnPainful
I agree with you on that. If we do find a great potential life planet such as say Kelper 22b, we can beam as many radio signals as we want for next 1,000 Earth years, but that doesn't mean the race of people there can understand that signal or they have moved past that technologically.