Search For Signs of Aliens Expands Focus on Core of Our Galaxy

For decades, scientists have searched the skies for signs of aliens in various iterations of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). Unfortunately, no such evidence has emerged aside from occasional blips on the radar. But a new effort is expanding the search to monitor a star-dense region toward the core of our galaxy. This area could be an ideal spot for aliens to broadcast signals to kick off the interstellar conversation.

As astronomers have learned more about our galaxy, some have wondered whether civilizations elsewhere might be more advanced than we are. Some of the most intriguing speculations focus on technologies that may allow such civilizations to communicate across vast distances of space. For example, an alien able to harness the energy of stars and planets around them may transmit radio signals far more potent than those generated by Earth. Such transmissions, known as technosignatures, would be much easier to detect than the electromagnetic waves produced by our technology.

Some researchers have tried to find technosignatures by searching the atmospheres of planets for chemical pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide gas produced by industrial activity. Others have looked for traces of the massive construction projects of intelligent civilizations, sometimes called megastructures. These would be harder to miss than a single transmitter sent by an alien civilization but would require much more sophisticated technology.

Earlier attempts to detect alien technological signatures have focused on a narrowband radio signal type concentrated in a limited frequency range or on single unusual transmissions such as the Arecibo message sent into the globular star cluster M13 in 1974. But a recent paper in the journal Science Advances describes a search initiative, co-funded by Cornell University, the SETI Institute research organization, and Breakthrough Listen, that is much wider and more encompassing. The new BLIPSS project is now monitoring a star-dense region toward the galactic center with many times more potential habitable exoplanet systems than previously targeted areas.

The team’s new effort focuses on a specific class of periodic spectral signals that might be the technosignatures that intelligent aliens rely on. First, the astronomers use data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia telescope, surveying more than 1.1 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy. Then, they divide the sky into small swaths and look for those that might contain such technosignatures using statistics, data analysis, and machine learning techniques.

The astronomers aim to look for a techno signature called “eclipsing periodic spectral signals.” These signals repeat over time and are similar in shape to radar pulses. They hope to detect the signals in a wide range of frequencies and refer any anomalies found to ground-based telescopes for more dedicated searches, including radio SETI searches. The study is an example of the potential for software to be a powerful science multiplier for search efforts. It shows that we can target the most promising areas of our galaxy for a more focused approach to detecting technosignatures and expand the chance that we will hear a response from another civilization.

Most Popular

More from Walops

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Finding Your Next Binge: Fire TV Gets AI-Powered Search for Personalized Recommendations

Feeling lost in the vast ocean of streaming content? Amazon Fire TV is introducing a new AI-powered search feature, a convenient solution to your dilemma. This innovative upgrade, powered by Amazon's large language model (LLM), is designed to ease the burden of choice by providing personalized content...

Israel to Unveil Plan for Replacing Hamas Governance in Northern Gaza

Israel will "soon" implement a plan to replace Hamas' governance in northern Gaza, according to Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi. Speaking at Reichman University's annual Herzliya Conference, Hanegbi stated that the collapse of Hamas' military capabilities will create opportunities "for countries that desire an alternative government...

GameStop Stock Surges on Roaring Kitty’s Return

GameStop Corp. (GME) witnessed a significant surge in pre-market trading on Monday, June 3rd, 2024, following an unexpected Reddit post from Keith Gill, popularly known as 'Roaring Kitty.' Gill, a key figure during the meme stock frenzy of 2021, sparked the current surge by disclosing a staggering...

Safety vs Innovation: OpenAI Shaken by Executive Resignation

OpenAI, a leading research institute focused on artificial intelligence (AI), has been rocked by the departure of a key executive, Jan Leike. Leike, who led the company's "Superalignment" team, resigned publicly, citing concerns that the pursuit of flashy products overshadowed safety priorities.Leike's team focused on ensuring that...

LATAM Flight Makes Rough Landing in Auckland, 50 Passengers Injured

On Monday, a LATAM flight from Sydney to Auckland encountered severe turbulence, leading to the hospitalization of thirteen passengers. The airline, LATAM Airlines, stated that flight LA800 experienced a "technical event" causing significant movement during the journey. Despite not disclosing specific details about the incident, LATAM Airlines...

Escalation in Black Sea? Ukraine Says It Destroyed Russian Patrol Boat

Ukraine claimed Tuesday that its forces had destroyed a Russian military patrol boat on the Black Sea near the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia 10 years ago. The strategic waterway has become an increasingly important battleground of Russia's two-year invasion as Ukrainian forces claim a string of...

Guangzhou Bridge Disaster: Barge Crash Plunges Vehicles into Water, Two Confirmed Dead

On Thursday, Chinese state media reported a tragic incident in the Pearl River Delta near Guangzhou city, where two individuals lost their lives, and three are currently unaccounted for. The unfortunate event unfolded when a barge collided with a bridge over the Hongqili Waterway, causing a section...

Crypto Crackdown: Genesis Pays $8 Million and Loses License After AML Failures

Following an investigation that revealed substantial deficiencies in its anti-money laundering and cybersecurity programs, Genesis Global Trading, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, has agreed to pay an $8 million penalty and voluntarily surrender its license from the regulator, according to the New York Department of Financial...

Amid Epstein Revelations, New Claim: Brin and Ex-Wife Vacationed on Controversial Island

A new set of court documents unsealed on Monday have revealed that Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his ex-wife Anne Wojcicki, the CEO of genetic testing firm 23andMe, vacationed on Jeffrey Epstein's 'pedophile island'.' The new revelations stem from a 2016 email exchange between Sarah Ransome, one...

Fast Track, Higher Cost: US Raises H-1B Premium Processing Fee 12%

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently announced a 12% increase in visa application processing fees across a few categories. This includes the widely used H-1B visa, which permits US companies to employ foreign workers in specialized occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The new...

Shipping in the Suez Canal Affected by Houthi Assaults in the Red Sea

The Iran-aligned group has launched drones and missile attacks at commercial ships at the southern end of the Red Sea, which connects to Egypt's Suez Canal in the north and the Mediterranean Sea. The attacks have prompted several shipping companies to divert vessels, avoiding the route that...

Siberia Shivers as Temperatures Plummet to a Bone-Chilling -58 Degrees Celsius

Arctic weather enfolded swathes of Russia on Tuesday, with temperatures in the wilds of Siberia falling to minus 58 degrees Celsius (minus 72 degrees Fahrenheit). In Yakutsk, one of the world’s coldest cities, some 5,000 km (3,100 miles) east of Moscow, residents struggled to cope with a...