Astronomers use novel technique to search for extraterrestrial technosignatures| Trending Viral hub

Technofirms They are any measurable property that can provide evidence of extraterrestrial technology. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) is a branch of astrobiology that focuses on finding technosignatures, as their detection would provide evidence of intelligent life beyond Earth. Traditionally, radio-specific studies have been the mainstay of SETI research, and many SETI projects currently underway are still carried out in the radio band. The recently proposed technique, the SETI Ellipsoid, is a strategy for selecting technology signature candidates that assumes that extraterrestrial civilizations that have observed a galactic-scale event, such as a supernova SN 1987A — you can use it as a point to emit synchronized signals indicating your presence.

Using improved 3D locations for stars from Gaia Early Data Release 3, Cabrales et al.  identified 32 SETI SN 1987A ellipsoid targets in the TESS continuous viewing zone with uncertainties greater than 0.5 light years.  Image credit: ALMA/ESO/NAOJ/NRAO/Alexandra Angelich, NRAO/AUI/NSF.

Using improved 3D locations for stars from Gaia Early Data Release 3, Cabrales et al. identified 32 SETI SN 1987A ellipsoid targets in the TESS continuous viewing zone with uncertainties greater than 0.5 light years. Image credit: ALMA/ESO/NAOJ/NRAO/Alexandra Angelich, NRAO/AUI/NSF.

Dr. Barbara Cabrales of the SETI Institute and the Berkeley SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and her colleagues show that the SETI Ellipsoid method can take advantage of continuous, wide-field sky surveys, significantly improving our ability to detect possible technosignatures.

By compensating for uncertainties in the estimated time of arrival of such signals through observations spanning up to a year, they implement the SETI Ellipsoid strategy in an innovative way using cutting-edge technology.

“New sky surveys provide innovative opportunities to search for technological signatures coordinated with supernovae,” said Dr. Cabrales.

“Typical timing uncertainties involved are a couple of months, so we want to cover our bases by finding targets that are well documented over the course of about a year.”

“On top of that, it’s important to have as many observations as possible for each target of interest, so we can determine what looks like normal behavior and what might look like a possible technological signature.”

When examining data in the continuous display area of NASA’s TESS missioncovering 5% of all TESS data from the first three years of the mission, the authors used advanced 3D location data from Early release of Gaia 3 data.

This analysis identified 32 primary targets within the SETI ellipsoid in the TESS southern continuous viewing zone, all with uncertainties refined to greater than 0.5 light-years.

While initial examination of TESS light curves during the Ellipsoid crossing event revealed no anomalies, the preliminary work laid by this initiative paves the way for expanding the search to other studies, a broader range of targets, and the exploration of various types of potential signals.

The application of the SETI Ellipsoid technique to examine large archival databases represents a monumental step forward in the search for technological signatures.

Using Gaia’s highly accurate distance estimates, the study demonstrates the feasibility of comparing these distances with other time-domain surveys such as TESS to improve monitoring and anomaly detection capabilities in SETI research.

The SETI Ellipsoid method, combined with Gaia’s distance measurements, provides a robust and adaptable framework for future SETI searches.

Astronomers can apply it retrospectively to examine archival data for potential signals, proactively select targets, and schedule future monitoring campaigns.

“The SETI Ellipsoid method, together with Gaia distances, provides a simple and flexible method for SETI searches that can be adapted to suit different modern surveys and source events,” the researchers said.

“It can be applied retroactively to look for signals in archival data, as well as spread over time to select targets and schedule follow-up campaigns.”

His paper appears in the Astronomical magazine.

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Barbara Cabrales et al. 2024. Searching for the SETI SN 1987A ellipsoid with TESS. A.J. 167, 101; doi:10.3847/1538-3881/ad2064

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