Astronomers have proposed to look for alien light of their cities

November 2, 2011 9:31

A composite photograph of the night of the Earth. NASA photograph

Astronomers Abraham Loeb of Harvard University and Edwin Turner of Princeton University have proposed a new scheme of searching for extraterrestrial civilizations. They presented their results in a preprint posted on the website arXiv.org.
Currently, the world's only major project to find such civilizations — SETI — relies on the detection of radio signals aliens. However, the development of optical technologies in the world shows that advanced extraterrestrial civilization could hardly use the radio waves that could be registered on the cosmic distances.

In the new work, scientists have proposed to look for "light" signs of extraterrestrial life.

For example, they offer a record of the lit side of exoplanets (eg, light cities). Assuming that the elliptical orbit of a planet, astronomers have shown that it is possible to measure the variation of the brightness of the object and find it covered his dark side. In this case, however, the researchers suggest that the luminosity of the dark side is comparable to the luminosity of day (at the Earth, these values differ by five orders of magnitude).

In addition, the scientists are going to look for the bright Kuiper belt objects around other stars, followed by spectral analysis of their radiation. Astronomers believe that such an analysis will determine the nature of light — it is natural or artificial. Scientists emphasize that all of the proposed options are not realizable with current technology. However, according to them, a new generation of telescopes, such as the U.S., "James Webb," may well cope with the tasks described in the work.

"James Webb", which is currently experiencing severe financial difficulties, should be a changer "Hubble." The diameter of the mirror, which consists of several hexagonal segments, will be 6.5 meters (the "Hubble" mirror — 2.4 meters). The telescope itself, equipped with a protective shield should be located in the second Lagrangian point L2 at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from the planet. Scheduled to start until 2018.

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