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Moon's Reflected 'Earthshine' May Aid Search for Alien Life

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posted on Mar, 4 2012 @ 11:59 PM
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Astronomers have managed to detect the telltale fingerprints of organic life on Earth using a new technique that examines sunlight reflected onto the moon by our planet. The so-called "earthshine" observations may pave the way for a similar tool to help spot signs of alien life in the universe, scientists say.

"With earthshine observations, what we do is use the moon as a giant mirror," said study lead author Michael Sterzik, deputy director of the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Paranal Observatory. "The sun illuminates the Earth, and that light is reflected onto the moon — but the side of the moon that we usually see as the dark portion."

www.space.com

The researchers go on to explain how they then analyzed reflected light using the European Southern Observatory's Telescope to look for 'biosignatures',markers which include specific combinations of gases in Earth's atmosphere that could only exist in relation with some form of organic life.

Earthshine observations have been done before in the past but what made these observations different was that they developed a new approach to take into account the polarization of the light,Enabling them to make more detailed and accurate measurements.


"All light is polarized, but the most primitive way to measure light is to take its intensity, or its strength, but that's just one part of the information," Sterzik explained. "Light also carries information about its polarization state and information about how it is generated or scattered."

The researchers used this method, known as spectropolarimetry, to examine the earthshine, and found that biosignatures on Earth showed up very strongly in the reflected light.



By observing 'earthshine' astronomers can study the properties of light reflected from Earth as if it were an exoplanet and search for signs of life.

I for one cannot wait for future observations and new discoveries of our known universe.
I wait for the day that something substantial with corroborating,irrefutable evidence reveals intelligent life other than ourselves in the cosmos.

Hopefully you enjoyed the article as much as I did,I look forward to everyone's views on the subject




posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 12:11 AM
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Originally posted by PerfectPerception

I for one cannot wait for future observations and new discoveries of our known universe.
I wait for the day that something substantial with corroborating,irrefutable evidence reveals intelligent life other than ourselves in the cosmos.


I'm getting restless! I hope we meet them soon, good or bad. Great post! Maybe with realizations like this we will eventually get too nosy for the aliens and they'll stop hiding!



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 12:16 AM
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great news ! S&F .

I look forward to them using this method to check out the new kepler discoveries. I find this to be a potentially refined method since we 'will' be knowing in advance before we start a long trip to some rock only to find much dust.



posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 11:03 PM
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Originally posted by kassych
great news ! S&F .

I look forward to them using this method to check out the new kepler discoveries. I find this to be a potentially refined method since we 'will' be knowing in advance before we start a long trip to some rock only to find much dust.


Anything that can improve upon our already existing methods & Technology is a positive in my book.



Originally posted by Hope4TheBest

Originally posted by PerfectPerception

I for one cannot wait for future observations and new discoveries of our known universe.
I wait for the day that something substantial with corroborating,irrefutable evidence reveals intelligent life other than ourselves in the cosmos.


I'm getting restless! I hope we meet them soon, good or bad. Great post! Maybe with realizations like this we will eventually get too nosy for the aliens and they'll stop hiding!


Well,I do not know about my feelings if we were to meet,come into contact with negative aliens/civilizations sometime down the line...It might not turn out very well for humanity...Positive and service to others-type "aliens" could be a very welcome & incredible experience for all.



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