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

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Murchison Widefield Array Radio Telescope Night

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The Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope, a part of which is imagined here, was utilized to check out numerous times more broadly than any previous look for extraterrestrial life. Credit: Goldsmith/MWA Collaboration/Curtin University

A radio telescope in wilderness Western Australia has actually finished the inmost and broadest search at radio frequencies for alien innovations, scanning a spot of sky understood to consist of a minimum of 10 million stars.

Astronomers utilized the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope to check out numerous times more broadly than any previous look for extraterrestrial life.

The research study, released this month in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, observed the sky around the Vela constellation. But in this part of the Universe a minimum of, it appears other civilizations are evasive, if they exist.

The research study 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 stated the telescope was looking for effective radio emissions at frequencies comparable to FM radio frequencies, which might suggest the existence of a smart source.

These possible emissions are referred to 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 stated.

“We observed the sky around the constellation of Vela for 17 hours, looking more than 100 times more comprehensive and much deeper than ever previously.

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

MWA Tile 107 Outlier

Tile 107, or “the Outlier” as it is understood, is among 256 tiles of the MWA, situated 1.5km from the core of the telescope. Lighting the tile and the ancient landscape is the Moon. Credit: Pete Wheeler, ICRAR

Professor Tingay stated despite the fact that this was the broadest search yet, he was not surprised 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 truly huge research study, the quantity of area we took a look at was the equivalent of looking for something in the Earth’s oceans however just browsing a volume of water comparable to a big yard swimming pool.

“Since we can’t truly presume how possible alien civilizations may use innovation, we require to browse in several methods. Using radio telescopes, we can check out 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 follows, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a 1.7 billion Euro observatory with telescopes in Western Australia and South Africa. To continue the Douglas Adams referrals, consider the MWA as the city-sized Deep Thought and the SKA as its follower: the Earth.


A time-lapse series of more than 1,000 images recorded at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Mid West WA. Tile 107, or “the Outlier” as it is understood, is among 256 tiles of this Square Kilometre Array precursor instrument situated 1.5km from the core of the telescope. Lighting the tile and the ancient landscape 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,” stated 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 lies at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, a remote and radio peaceful huge center developed and kept by CSIRO—Australia’s nationwide science company. The SKA will be constructed at the very same place however will be 50 times more delicate and will have the ability to carry out much 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 partner organizations from 7 nations (Australia, U.S.A., India, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and China) funded the advancement, 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 conventional owners of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory website.

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