Investigation of billions of stars in the Milky Way “could have caught signs of intelligent life” – and amateur astronomers are encouraged to look for it
- Experts from the SETI Institute develop advanced ways to detect signs of life
- These ‘techno signatures’ can be laser emissions or structures that revolve around stars
- The search is piggybacking on the Very Large Array telescope in Mexico
- Experts also model what extraterrestrial environments can look like
An overview of billions of stars in the Milky Way could have caught signs of intelligent life – and amateur astronomers are encouraged to look for it.
Experts from the SETI institute develop advanced techniques to detect signatures from space that indicate the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
These so-called ‘techno signatures’ can vary from the chemical composition of a planet’s atmosphere to laser emissions and structures that orbit around other stars.
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An overview of billions of stars in the Milky Way could have caught signs of intelligent life – and amateur astronomers are encouraged to look for it. Pictured, the Very Large Array
“Determining if we are alone in the universe, as a technologically capable life, is one of the most compelling questions in science,” said Tony Beasley, director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory telescope in Virginia.
SETI scientists are planning to develop a system that “takes” on the so-called Very Large Array (VLA) telescope in Mexico to provide data for their technosignature search system.
“Because the VLA performs its usual scientific observations, this new system will allow an additional and important use for the data that we are already collecting,” Dr. added. Beasley.
Life forms, intelligent or not, should produce detectable indicators such as large amounts of oxygen, smaller amounts of methane and a variety of other chemicals, the experts said.
That’s why scientists are also developing computer models to simulate alien environments that can support future searches for habitable planets and life outside the solar system.
“Future space and ground telescopes will be able to observe the atmosphere of Earth-sized planets orbit around nearby stars,” said NASA astronomer Victoria Meadows.
“So it’s important to understand how you can best recognize signs of habitability and life on these planets.”
“These computer models will help us determine whether an observed planet is more or less likely to support life.”
In the meantime, SETI’s Breakthrough Listen Initiative – launched in 2015 to ‘listen’ to alien life signals – has released nearly two petabytes of data from the most extensive survey of radio emissions from the Galaxy to date.
The organization now invites the public to search the data from different telescopes around the world and search for signals from intelligent civilizations.
SETI’s breakthrough-listening initiative – launched in 2015 to “listen” to signals from extraterrestrial life – has released nearly two petabytes of data from the most extensive investigation of radio emissions from the Galaxy to date
“For the whole of human history, we had a limited amount of data to look for life outside of the earth. So we could only speculate, “said Yuri Milner, founder of the breakthrough initiative.
“Now, because we get a lot of data, we can do real science and – by making this data available to the general public – anyone who wants to know the answer to this deep question can.”
The initiatives and strategies for expanding the search for extraterrestrial life were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle.
WHAT IS THE VERY BIG TELESCOPE?
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) built the most powerful telescope ever made in the Atacama desert in northern Chile.
It is called and is the Very Large Telescope (VLT) generally regarded as one of the most advanced optical instruments ever made.
It consists of four telescopes, of which main mirrors have a diameter of 27 feet (8.2 meters).
There are also four movable auxiliary telescopes with a diameter of 1.8 meters.
The large telescopes are called Antu, Kueyen, Melipal and Yepun.
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) built the most powerful telescope ever made in the Atacama desert in northern Chile and called it the Very Large Telescope (VLT).
The first of the Unit Telescopes, ‘Antu’, went into routine scientific operations on 1 April 1999.
The telescopes can work together to form a giant ‘interferometer’.
With this interferometer, images can be filtered for unnecessary obscuring objects and as a result, astronomers can see details up to 25 times finer than with the individual telescopes.
It has been involved in spotting the first image of an extrasolar planet and in following individual stars moving through the super-heavy black hole in the center of the Milky Way.
It also observed the afterglow of the farthest known Gamma Ray Burst,