Do you feel like you are being watched? It can be much farther than you think.
Astronomers have adopted and turned over the techniques used to find life on other planets. So instead of looking at what’s there, astronomers sought to find out where they could see us.
We have a lot.
Astronomers found that 1,715 stars in the vicinity of the galaxy, and hundreds of Earth-like planets surrounding them, are unobstructed during human civilization, according to a study by the Journal Nature on Wednesday. I calculated that I had visibility.
Lisa Cartenegger, director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University and lead author of the study, said:
Some experts, including the late Stephen Hawking, have warned against reaching out to aliens because they can harm us, but Cartenegger said it wasn’t a problem. It was. If those planets have advanced life, radio waves from human sources that someone there has swept over 75 or more of the closest stars on our list, based on oxygen in our atmosphere. Can conclude that there is life here.
“Hiding isn’t really an option,” she said.
One way for humans to look for potentially habitable planets is to observe them as they cross in front of orbiting stars. This will make the starlight slightly darker. Cartenegger of the American Museum of Natural History and astrophysicist Jacqueline Fachty turn it around using the European Space Agency’s Gaia Space Telescope to see which system can see the Earth passing in front of the Sun. I looked it up.
They saw 331,312 stars within 326 light-years of Earth. One light-year is 5.9 trillion miles. The angle at which the Earth is seen passing in front of the Sun is so small that at some point in the last 5,000 years, only 1,715 people have been able to see the Earth. Of these, 313 people were unable to see us because we were out of sight.
An additional 319 stars will be able to see Earth in the next 5,000 years, including some star systems that scientists have already discovered planets like Earth, which are major candidates for contact. This creates a total of over 2,000 star systems with views of the Earth.
The closest star on Kaltenegger’s list is the red dwarf Wolf 359, 7.9 light-years away. We have been able to see us since the disco era of the mid-1970s.
Alan Boss, a planetary scientist at the Carnegie Science Center who was not involved in the study, called it “provocative.” In addition to seeing the Earth moving in front of the stars, he said that even if the space telescope is wrong, a nearby space telescope can find us.
So why aren’t they contacting us?
Civilization may not last long, as messages and life take a long time to move between stars. Therefore, it is sufficient for civilizations to limit the opportunity for “email and TikTok video” to be exchanged between the two, “the boss said in his email. “So you shouldn’t expect aliens to appear soon.”
Or, Carteneger said that life in space may be rare.
The excitement of this study is that Seth Shostak, an external astronomer at the SETI Institute looking for extraterrestrial intelligence, tells scientists “where should we point our equipment?” “You may know where to look for aliens!”
Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter @borenbears.
The Associated Press’s Department of Health Sciences is supported by the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.
Can ET see us? Research has found many stars with the wonders of the Earth –
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