What Astronomers Found in Search of 10 Million Star Systems for Alien Technology

What Astronomers Found in Search of 10 Million Star Systems for Alien Technology

The Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope, a portion of which is pictured right here, was used to discover a whole bunch of instances extra broadly than any earlier seek for extraterrestrial life. Credit: Goldsmith/MWA Collaboration/Curtin University

A radio telescope in outback Western Australia has accomplished the deepest and broadest search at low frequencies for alien applied sciences, scanning a patch of sky identified to incorporate no less than 10 million stars.

Astronomers used the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope to discover a whole bunch of instances extra broadly than any earlier seek for extraterrestrial life.

The examine, printed this month in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, noticed the sky across the Vela constellation. But on this a part of the Universe no less than, it seems different civilizations are elusive, in the event that they exist.

The analysis was carried out by CSIRO astronomer Dr. Chenoa Tremblay and Professor Steven Tingay, from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR).

MWA Antenna

Dipole antennas of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope in Mid West Western Australia. Credit: Dragonfly Media

Dr. Tremblay mentioned the telescope was trying to find highly effective radio emissions at frequencies just like FM radio frequencies, which may point out the presence of an clever supply.

These attainable emissions are often known as ‘technosignatures.’

“The MWA is a unique telescope, with an extraordinarily wide field-of-view that allows us to observe millions of stars simultaneously,” she mentioned.

“We noticed the sky across the constellation of Vela for 17 hours, wanting greater than 100 instances broader and deeper than ever earlier than.

“With this dataset, we found no technosignatures—no sign of intelligent life.”

MWA Tile 107 Outlier

Tile 107, or “the Outlier” as it’s identified, is considered one of 256 tiles of the MWA, situated 1.5km from the core of the telescope. Lighting the tile and the traditional panorama is the Moon. Credit: Pete Wheeler, ICRAR

Professor Tingay mentioned despite the fact that this was the broadest search but, he was not shocked by the outcome.

“As Douglas Adams noted in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, ‘space is big, really big’.”

“And despite the fact that this was a very massive examine, the quantity of area we checked out was the equal of looking for one thing within the Earth’s oceans however solely looking out a quantity of water equal to a big yard swimming pool.

“Since we will’t actually assume how attainable alien civilizations may make the most of know-how, we have to search in many various methods. Using radio telescopes, we will discover an eight-dimensional search area.

“Although there is a long way to go in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, telescopes such as the MWA will continue to push the limits—we have to keep looking.”

The MWA is a precursor for the instrument that comes subsequent, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a 1.7 billion Euro observatory with telescopes in Western Australia and South Africa. To proceed the Douglas Adams references, consider the MWA because the city-sized Deep Thought and the SKA as its successor: the Earth.


A time-lapse sequence of greater than 1,000 photographs captured on the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Mid West WA. Tile 107, or “the Outlier” as it’s identified, is considered one of 256 tiles of this Square Kilometre Array precursor instrument situated 1.5km from the core of the telescope. Lighting the tile and the traditional panorama is the Moon. Credit: Pete Wheeler / ICRAR

“Due to the increased sensitivity, the SKA low-frequency telescope to be built in Western Australia will be capable of detecting Earth-like radio signals from relatively nearby planetary systems,” mentioned Professor Tingay.

“With the SKA, we’ll be able to survey billions of star systems, seeking technosignatures in an astronomical ocean of other worlds.”

The MWA is situated on the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, a distant and radio quiet astronomical facility established and maintained by CSIRO—Australia’s nationwide science company. The SKA might be constructed on the identical location however might be 50 instances extra delicate and can be capable to undertake a lot deeper SETI experiments.

Reference: ‘”A SETI Survey of the Vela Region utilizing the Murchison Widefield Array: Orders of Magnitude Expansion in Search Space” by C. D. Tremblay and S. J. Tingay, 8 September 2020, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (PASA).
DOI: 10.1017/pasa.2020.27

Acknowledgments

A consortium of associate establishments from seven nations (Australia, USA, India, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and China) financed the event, building, commissioning, and operations of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope. The consortium is led by Curtin University.

We acknowledge the Wajarri Yamatji as the standard homeowners of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory web site.

We acknowledge the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre which is supported by the Western Australian and Australian Governments.

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