Aliens from these worlds can watch us right now

Aliens from these worlds can watch us right now

Since the 90s of the last century, astronomers have already counted more than 3,000 exoplanets, using a fairly simple way to analyze the brightness of stars for searches. But what if aliens use the same technique to spy on us? Right now, a team of astronomers are exploring this exciting and frightening idea.

new paper has been published in the scientific journal of the Royal Astronomical Society that highlights the purpose of the study: “What stars can see the Earth as a transiting exoplanet?” After all, if our astronomers use this technique to detect exoplanets, then it is quite rational to assume that the inhabitants of other systems can use the same method to search for intelligent life.

The transit method prevents astronomers from seeing exoplanets directly. Its essence is different: scientists are registering a temporary decrease in the brightness of the star, which indicates that in the area of ​​our view it was obscured by an exoplanet. These sudden changes in brightness are subtle, but still noticeable. This process can provide other important details that allow astronomers to determine the exoplanet’s length of year, its temperature and its chemical properties. The latter can be used to separate rocky planets from gas giants. There are other detection methods – for example, the Doppler method, but transit is still the most reliable and simplest.

Aliens from these worlds can watch us right now

The number of stars that we can observe with telescopes seems endless, but the transit method is not without problems, as we become hostages of our observations. With this technique, we can only detect those exoplanets that pass in front of stars in line of sight. If the planet is below or above the plane of the ecliptic, it will not be possible to register it. However, from our point of view, transits are registered much more often than one might think. And technologies do not stand still, which means that in the coming decades there is a chance to find an analogue of the Earth in one or another phase of its development.

However, let’s get back to a new study. Cornell astronomer Lisa Kaltenagger and her colleague Joshua Pepper of Lehigh University “have reversed the process and tried to figure out which observers from which systems could see the Earth as a transit planet.” Using data collected by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), scientists have found 1,004 relatively nearby stars that fall into this category.

By “this category” the authors mean stars in the Earth’s Transition Zone (ETZ). This is the area from which our planet can be seen in motion against the background of the Sun. This region of space is located around the ecliptic, and its latitude is only 0.528 degrees. “

Since the 90s of the last century, astronomers have already counted more than 3,000 exoplanets, using a fairly simple way to analyze the brightness of stars for searches. But what if aliens use the same technique to spy on us? Right now, a team of astronomers are exploring this exciting and frightening idea.

new paper has been published in the scientific journal of the Royal Astronomical Society that highlights the purpose of the study: “What stars can see the Earth as a transiting exoplanet?” After all, if our astronomers use this technique to detect exoplanets, then it is quite rational to assume that the inhabitants of other systems can use the same method to search for intelligent life.

What is the protocol of the first signal of extraterrestrial civilization and why is it needed

A couple of months ago, we already raised the topic of first contact with …Further

The transit method prevents astronomers from seeing exoplanets directly. Its essence is different: scientists are registering a temporary decrease in the brightness of the star, which indicates that in the area of ​​our view it was obscured by an exoplanet. These sudden changes in brightness are subtle, but still noticeable. This process can provide other important details that allow astronomers to determine the exoplanet’s length of year, its temperature and its chemical properties. The latter can be used to separate rocky planets from gas giants. There are other detection methods – for example, the Doppler method, but transit is still the most reliable and simplest.

The number of stars that we can observe with telescopes seems endless, but the transit method is not without problems, as we become hostages of our observations. With this technique, we can only detect those exoplanets that pass in front of stars in line of sight. If the planet is below or above the plane of the ecliptic, it will not be possible to register it. However, from our point of view, transits are registered much more often than one might think. And technologies do not stand still, which means that in the coming decades there is a chance to find an analogue of the Earth in one or another phase of its development.

However, let’s get back to a new study. Cornell astronomer Lisa Kaltenagger and her colleague Joshua Pepper of Lehigh University “have reversed the process and tried to figure out which observers from which systems could see the Earth as a transit planet.” Using data collected by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), scientists have found 1,004 relatively nearby stars that fall into this category.

By “this category” the authors mean stars in the Earth’s Transition Zone (ETZ). This is the area from which our planet can be seen in motion against the background of the Sun. This region of space is located around the ecliptic, and its latitude is only 0.528 degrees. “https://www.youtube.com/embed/fJxDMD6SfMI?rel=0&wmode=transparent

It was important for researchers to exclude stars more than 320 light-years from Earth. At this (relatively) close range, alien astronomers could still detect a faint darkening of our Sun caused by the passage of a tiny Earth.

In the case of observation, alien astronomers could come to certain conclusions about the Earth: for example, that it is a planet of the “terrestrial” type, a year on it takes 365 local days and it is located within the habitable zone of our Sun. We would be an interesting catch, especially if their technology could register traces of life in our atmosphere. And based on the concentration of carbon dioxide, one can conclude that there is an industry on the planet. True, one must also take into account the distance of the observer from us. If the distance is too great, then the light from our Sun will reach the aliens in a couple of hundred years. And this is not fiction – the future James Webb Space Telescope will be able to collect all this data.

Of the 1004 stars listed, 77% are red dwarfs, unsuitable for life. Only 6% of stars are G-type, like our sun. This important statistic should be noted, as our current knowledge indicates that only G-type stars can support life.

It should also be emphasized that out of these 1004 stars, only three have exoplanets. There is a high probability that each of these stars has many exoplanets, so the more pertinent question is which of these star systems contains exoplanets located inside habitable zones. Those on the list will instantly become priority targets for astrobiologists.

astrobiologists space1

Kaltenegger noted:

If we found a planet with a bright biosphere, we would instantly wonder if there is someone on it and if they are watching us. If we are looking for intelligent life in the Universe, then it could find us and, perhaps, would like to contact us. And we’ve just created a star map of the places to start looking for.

Kaltenegger is right that he sees all this as a potential opportunity, but there are also chances of success.

If this is true, we could try to contact an intelligent civilization. The main thing is not to rush to trumpet about yourself. Who knows what technologies the inhabitants of these worlds possess and what their views on other species are.

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