New method to find ET

2011-12-17 22:21

Washington - Current efforts to find extra terrestrial beings focuses mainly on intercepting radio waves, but a new study suggests that light may lead to an alien civilisation discovery.

According to a new study done by Abraham Loeb (Harvard), Edwin L Turner (Princeton), a light source comparable to a bright city on a distant planet may observed from Earth, reported.

For gathering light, the array of Earthly telescopes now at science's disposal are able to confidently observe a light source comparable in overall brightness to a large city - up to a certain distance.

Right now astronomers are able to measure the orbital parameters of Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) with the greatest of precision by their observed flux and computing their changing orbital distances.

However, is it possible to see light if it were to occur on the dark side? Loeb and Turner say that current optical telescopes and surveys would have the ability to see this amount of light at the edge of our Solar System and observations with large telescopes can measure a KBOs spectra to determine if they are illuminated by artificial lighting using a logarithmic slope.

Spectral properties

"Our civilisation uses two basic classes of illumination: Thermal (incandescent light bulbs) and quantum (light emitting diodes [LEDs] and fluorescent lamps)," Loeb and Turn write in their paper.

"Such artificial light sources have different spectral properties than sunlight. The spectra of artificial lights on distant objects would likely distinguish them from natural illumination sources, since such emission would be exceptionally rare in the natural thermodynamic conditions present on the surface of relatively cold objects.

"Therefore, artificial illumination may serve as a lamppost which signals the existence of extraterrestrial technologies and thus civilisations."

Spotting this illumination difference in the optical band would be tricky but by calculating the observed flux from solar illumination on Kuiper Belt Objects with a typical albedo, the team is confident that existing telescopes and surveys could detect the artificial light from a reasonably brightly illuminated region, roughly the size of a terrestrial city, located on a KBO.

Even though the light signature would be weaker, it would still carry the dead give-away - the spectral signature.

However, we currently don't expect there to be any civilisations thriving at the edge of our solar system, as it is dark and cold out there.

But Loeb has posed that possibly planets ejected from other parent stars in our galaxy may have travelled to the edge of our Solar System and ended up residing there. Whether a civilisation would survive an ejection event from their parent system, and then put up lampposts is up for debate, however.


The team isn't suggesting that any random light source detected where there should be darkness might be considered a sign of life, though.

There are many factors which could contribute to illumination, such as viewing angle, backscattering, surface shadowing, out gassing, rotation, surface albedo variations and more. This is just a new suggestion and a new way of looking at things, as well as suggested exercises for future telescopes and studying exoplanets.

"City lights would be easier to detect on a planet which was left in the dark of a formerly-habitable zone after its host star turned into a faint white dwarf," said Loeb and Turner.

"The related civilisation will need to survive the intermediate red giant phase of its star. If it does, separating its artificial light from the natural light of a white dwarf, would be much easier than for the original star, both spectroscopically and in total brightness."

The next generation of optical and space-based telescopes could help to refine the search process when observing extra-solar planets and preliminary broad-band photometric detection could be improved through the use of narrow-band filters which are tuned to the spectral features of artificial light sources such as light emitting diodes.

While such a scenario on a distant world would need to involve far more "light pollution" than even we produce - why rule it out?

"This method opens a new window in the search for extraterrestrial civilisations," said Loeb and Turner.

"The search can be extended beyond the Solar System with next generation telescopes on the ground and in space, which would be capable of detecting phase modulation due to very strong artificial illumination on the night-side of planets as they orbit their parent stars."

  • miyo27 - 2011-12-17 22:40

    why do sciencists think that aliens would need oxygen and water to survive? If they don't have the same DNA and genetics as humans and life from Earth, what makes them think they'll need the same resources? Who's to say they have eyes and arms and need oxygen to breathe? What if they don't breath? They are aliens!

      stevens.adrian - 2011-12-18 00:50

      I did a course at university which went into this topic specifically. We even had a guy from NASA lecture us. Basically, since the only life forms we know of require things such as water, oxygen, etc. to exist, it makes sense to look for such signs as proof of possible life on other planets. It's not to say that these are the only conditions which would lead to life, but rather that we don't know what else to look for. And remember 'life' on another planet could simply be micro-organisms in the ground, so even looking for artificial illumination as referred to in this article is a far stretch.

      Zion - 2011-12-18 07:51

      Donkey's years ago it was suggested that silicon may form the basis of alien make-up. Silicon is one of the most abundant minerals on earth.

      rowen.loretz - 2011-12-18 15:40

      exactly my point miyo27 I have commented below. We as humans are being deceived by governments. They want us to believe in aliens. The illuminati literally controls hollywood and they are deceiving us. Have you noticed how many alien movies there are recently. district 9, the thing, aliens and cowboys, alien vs predator, Paul, The earth's darkest hour, Battle of Los Angeles...I can go on and on. We are being deceived because the USA government wants to deceive it's own people. I believe that many of they sightings are military based or spiritual. I do believe in spirits and it is satan that uses demons to mislead us. Come on guys! don't be silly aliens have ever visited our planet ...period!

      UweK - 2011-12-19 15:14

      @EKbliksemvirjou : Ok, so you think nothing else "alien" has ever visited earth... prove it. Easy as that. The most IDIOTIC statement anyone can make is trying to make a point and then putting either EVER or NEVER in the same sentence. Get with it dude. You are have the typical human mentality of entitlement. Humans have but for a very small amount of time lived on a small insignificant planet, which orbits a small insignificant star which is somewhere in a not so special or unique galaxy which is part of a not so unique or big group of galaxies. The amount of facts pointing to that the universe is probably teeming with life is overwhelming. Nature and balance is life. Almost anywhere on Earth life is abundant, even if it is just microscopic, why would the rest of the universe be any different ?

      Majorus - 2011-12-19 19:42

      UweK: tip for the day: Starting off a counter-argument with a Bertrand's Teapot statement rarely increases the credibility of that which follows.

      Zion - 2011-12-20 08:04

      Just another silicon thought. Silicon is globally used in women's artificial breast implants. So, is it not possible to extend the modern woman to be fully siliconised? Lets not get into the silicon dick, ok.

  • rowen.loretz - 2011-12-18 15:34

    Let me clear the mystery surrounding UFO's and aliens. They don't exist! Period...while maybe somewhere far out in space , but they have never visted least not in physical form. He is my argument. If they as so technologically advanced , why would they have crashed in the Rosewell incident? If they exist , what makes us believe they have 2 eyes , two ear holes , a mouth like yours and mine , two arms and two legs...we see them as being similar to us , but if they are from a different planet why would they have evolved similarly to us when there environment and nature is completely different to ours. Why would they be almost the same size as human beings...when in they could actually be the size of giants or as small as ants? Why do they always appear in the USA and mexico and no where else on earth? Why have they not ever made contact with normal human beings, but always with so called "goverments"? How come they are able to break our laws of nature and do 90 degree right turns in the crafts...that is not physically possible if you exist in physical form? How come we have not found any evidence at all that they have visited earth. How come they have not invaded planet earth years ago but seem to loaf about in space? What do they eat in space ? Because if you are a physcial being made up of cells you need to nourish your body? I am a very opened minded person and I have watch countless videos of UFO encouters and aliens on youtube ect. The fact is- we are being dec

      rowen.loretz - 2011-12-18 15:41


      Karmah - 2011-12-18 19:41

      The fact that you rely on youtube to make your statement plausable is worrying. Go read a book, maybe you will be able to answer your own questions then.

      Lila - 2011-12-19 11:42

      Nephilim. Go read the book of enoch. Some people think theyre aliens, christians believe they are nephilim / watchers. Yes, it is deception and there is a far greater deception coming.

      Mike - 2011-12-19 15:13

      For a open minded person your eyes and ears seem to be closed. To find the truth one must not read the lines but between them. There is lots of deception out there but you are looking in the wrong place for it. There are those on this earth that know the truth. Search and you will find. I once was where you are finding your self now.

      RaveWolf1 - 2011-12-19 17:07

      @EKbliksemvirjou... How can you make such a BOLD statement??? Can you prove to us that they don't exist? Your "Bold" statement says one thing! You are far from Open-Minded. A truly Open-Minded person questions even his own beliefs, and can by no means confirm nor deny what he/she see's or does not see. People decieve themselves by believing what they see to be true. Please don't get me wrong! I fully admire and appreciate your opinion. I am not in any way saying that your statement is false. I'm only stating that you misunderstand the term Open-Minded. With that said, I am not stating that the following is true or fact, but that it is simply my Open-Minded opinion bassed on my own observation. This is not directed to anyone specifically but to all as simply something to consider. Clear your mind from everything that you've watched, read or heard... We can only base 'Fact' on what we know or at least think we know. Consider the following: Site 1 - or Site 2 - Site 3 - name a few. ...Continued...

      RaveWolf1 - 2011-12-19 17:08

      ...continued... Now we know by reasonable calculated facts that no 2 objects are 100% identical. Now take the 1st Site and Multiply those "Facts" by every single finger print you have (x8) + your 2 thumbs with a total of 10 unique prints. Multiply that by the 7 Billion+ people on the planet. Now do the same for every blade of grass, sand, insect, animal, etcetera. The numbers are infinite. Now apply similar fact to all the species on the 2nd site and multiply the 1st site by the 2nd site (the number of existing species on the planet... again... infinite possibilities or probabilities, and we are still discovering more unique species on just "Earth" alone every day. Now why not just add Site 3 into the mix and multiply by that as well!? I don't think that that even comes close to Multitudes of probabilities that we can conceive yet alone what we can't conceive. Do you still honestly without a shadow of a doubt believe there is nothing out there??? I'm not saying little green men that look similar to us (then again with those figures, why not!) (I refer very closely to anyones so called Open-Minded'ness). Just because I am a born Christian and believe that there is a God out there (i.e. whatever or whom ever created me). I cannot deny the possibility of other "life" or existance out there somewhere in the Multiverse. The fact that I exist, only proves that someone or something else, somewhere, does too. Your response will beyond a reasonable doubt prove that simple fact.

      CosmicBob - 2011-12-20 00:16

      @RaveWolf - I think you misread Ekbliksemvirjou's comment. He wasn't saying with absolute certainty that there is no life out there. The phrase "...while maybe somewhere far out in space..." should have given you that hint. Drake's equation - - (although not to be confused with hard evidence) suggests that it is highly likely that other planets may very well play host intelligent life although they are likely to be many lightyears away. I think the simple point that EKbliksemvirjou is trying to make here is that it is extremely unlikely that any intelligent ETs have managed to traverse the void of deep space and successfully managed to find our not so significant neighbourhood and then still not make some form of contact with us. Regarding where you say "Can you prove... they don't exist?" I have this to say: In science, it is the onus of the individual making the claim to provide proof of the existence of a certain phenomenon, not the other way around. It is impossible to disprove a negative unless there is positive evidence to falsify the negative. In science, until new evidence presents itself, the only thing we can say for sure is: "We don't know! Let's try to find out..."

  • Henk - 2011-12-19 14:00

    I will not take sides on whether or not aliens exist. Something in me would like it to be so though:-) I guess it is the dullness and repetetiveness of all the dreary happenings on earth that make me escape into the thought of time travel, intergalactic relations etc. Please don't burst my bubble. I would LOVE to be abducted, experiments or not.

  • StirMonger - 2011-12-19 16:40

    It may not be a particularly good idea to discover & consequently get discovered, by a race that may identify us as a rather convenient food source.

  • rowen.loretz - 2011-12-19 19:57

    @ believe what you believe and I believe what I believe. I have searched and always had an open mind, don't get me wrong...I love stareing up to a starry night and wonder what is out there. I am not saying that life does not exist elsewhere in the universe...i said that I believe there is a big conspiracy about aliens and ufo's on this planet. I don't think we have ever been visited by aliens here on earth , but i could be wrong. If there are "physical" aliens then there is now way they could travel in there tiny little spaceship for millions of lightyears with no food. The only explanation we actually have of so called aliens are spiritual or 3rd dimension beings which is the most plausible answer. I believe in angels and demons, in God and Christ. Read up a bit about freemasonary, illuminati and skull and bones...these secret organisations do exist...have you noticed how a few families in the world control so much of it. I have seen the bigger picture finally and I am stunned about what has happened and what will happen in the next few years. I am not a doom prophet, but someone who has opened my eyes for the very first time...there is no proof , but Bush knew about 9/11 before it happened. And another thing, don't fall victim to the silly movies like da vinci code and the lost symbol...because it is all a lie...movies and media are a means to control the masses too , you know Seek and you shalt find ...this is so true and I believe I have found some

      rowen.loretz - 2011-12-19 20:01

      I had my doubts about God ect ect...but I now know for certain He exists, especially after realising what the devil really is here on earth...I should have had more faith in God from the start.

      RaveWolf1 - 2011-12-19 23:07

      Thanks for your reply. I like getting peoples points of view. Unfortunately I can not say much, but what I can say is this. I have been "studying" Freemasonry for over 25Yrs. Reading only gets you so far. From what you have said, I do believe that your eyes have been opened, but I can also tell that you have a lot to learn. The Illuminati do Not wish to be found and neither do those that know about "Aliens" want you to know that "They" exist either... That is (eye opener moment) why they are showing all these movies and TV programs. Let me explain... "They" put a movie on. "Wow look how cool" the viewers all say. The viewers all get interested and start to research a little (what they 'believe to be true'). Then they bring out a second and third Movie, and "Voila" it starts to look far fetched and people then disbelieve and Presto, Mission Accomplished "They" all get left alone because it's "All Fake". With that in mind.. Keep reading, keep searching and you will be amazed at what you'll find. At this point in time, you can't imagine how much this planet actually knows about but fail to see it right in front of their faces. Remember the story about the boy who cried Wolf to many times? Eventually no one believed him. Research what you "Know" to be false and their you will find the truth, in plain sight. I admire your dedication to what you believe, but The secret is not to believe, but to question what you believe. People fail because they don't ask "Why it is so!".

      Majorus - 2011-12-20 08:12

      ^ oh dear. Twice.

      RaveWolf1 - 2011-12-20 09:41

      LOL, Thanks for that Majorus... I'm Safe with a score of only 2. ;)

      Majorus - 2011-12-20 14:25

      @RaveWolf - Glad you check out ok ;-) Just think you're waaayyy overthinking the existence of The Illuminati and other secret societies. The days of rich smelly old men meeting in dusty old rooms are long gone. Modern-day (i.e. post dotcom boom and globalization) financial markets are controlled by Banks, whose majority shareholders aren't those smelly old men, instead they're global pension funds administered by people that are so scared of being voted out of their jobs at annual shareholder meetings that they sometimes act in ways that we could call psychotically. The whole idea of a group of people conspiring to control the world is also contrary to human nature. I.e. think alpha dog mentality - do you really think Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were friends? No, I can assure you they tried to screw each other over at every chance. Throw in the fact that it is not just conservative Brits / Americans that own everything any more: do you think rich atheists like the abovementioned Mr Gates wants to sit down and conspire with Arabian oil sheiks? Here's some REPUTABLE food for thought:

      rowen.loretz - 2011-12-20 14:26

      @Ravewolf - yeah ...that is the most NB question what you believe in...and that is what I like to do. So many people just believe in this and that and never question things...these are the ones that a get easily deceived. Anyways....been an interesting debate...keep searching though. Cheerio

      rowen.loretz - 2011-12-20 17:47

      @Majorus - did you know Obama's chief economist went to skull and bones? I think the illuminati are real...maybe i just like conspiracy theories ect ..., but i believe it true based on what information I have...some of it true , some of it maybe not...but what else can you do...keep searching. I don't know what your beliefs are and will not force you to believe something I believe...I have never been a person like that, but have listened to what other people have said instead of feeding my own selfish ego. I can go on and on, and start talking about loads of interesting things but then i may sound crazy. Anyways...let us wait and see what 2012 holds - 2012-01-31 23:38

      If you believe in God and angels then surely ET's have visited Earth because they are not staying on earth are they? However, i agree that UFO's from outer space are nonsense otherwise they would have made contact but there might be lots of life elsewhere in other solar systems and we and they might never know because distances for travelling is just to great with our known technologies and would take to much time. In the meantime looking at science fiction movies is sometimes just as and even more entertaining as the book.

  • ruth.marais - 2012-01-27 22:31

    What a lot of crap! No one on this earth will ever know or find more than what God will allow. God can move mountains, so what ever people predict could be scientificly correct, but God can change anything in the wink of an eye. Humans are destroying the earth and God will decide when enough is enough! - 2012-01-31 23:50

      And who determines what God will allow?? As far as i know he also did not allow early science and people were put in house arrest or killed over scientific advancements, partially of what you are using now so i guess you are a contradiction in terms... I expected that a God who created the Universe would be finely tuned, he surely changed his tuner many times. - 2012-01-31 23:53

      Drink your chill pill, science is good for a headache!!

      Azurite - 2012-02-01 07:00

      Ha ha ha...God does not move the mountains, the process of tectonism does!!! Earth cannot be destroyed, where do you find all that many atom bombs to disintegrate it? Uneducated dribble...

      Thermophage - 2012-11-15 15:14

      god can't wipe hit butt after pooping.

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