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Astronomers scan the center of the Milky Way for signs of intellectual civilization and find nothing but silence

You can also mysteriously stare at the Milky Way and ponder the existence of other technological civilizations. But maybe you have to leave the city. Credit: P. Horálek / ESO

Is there a civilization somewhere in the universe? Somewhere in the Milky Way? It’s one of our comprehensive questions and the positive answer is profound.


Mankind has pursued seek for Extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) Somehow immediately after the advent of radio waves in the early 20th century. Efforts have been declining for decades, but search has never been completely abandoned.

The search has detected temporary hints in the form of unexplained radio waves in the past, but nothing constitutes reliable evidence. Well, I couldn’t find any new search for techno signatures in the center of the Milky Way.

If we discover or come into contact with another civilization, it will be an almost mysterious moment for our species. People quickly split into different camps and ideologies and begin to discuss what to do about it. Many of us poured out into the streets and saw our brothers and sisters humans with new surprises.

However, you probably need to tap the break. If humanity discovers life elsewhere, it will probably become a unicellular organism somewhere in our solar system. One of the satellites of the solar system may be harboring bacteria in the underground sea.

Astronomers scan the center of the Milky Way for signs of intellectual civilization. It's nothing but silence.

This image shows a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum focused on radio waves. Credit: NASA

But when we look night sky And wondering if we are alone, most of us are thinking of more complex life forms. I wonder if there are other technological civilizations out there that face the same challenges as us and are confused about their own origins and destiny like us.

The new paper entitled “Searching for Techno Signatures towards the Galactic Center at 150MHz” is the fourth in the series. Each of the four is a search for low frequency radio waves using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in Australia. The lead author is Chenoa Tremblay of the Federal Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIRO). This paper is available on the prepress site arxiv.org.

The results are obtained from 7 hours of observation over 2 nights using MWA. Search is Galactic centerFocuses on Sagittarius A *, a supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy. Searchers have targeted searches for techno signatures on 144 exoplanet systems.

The quest for life focuses on the biosignature. The biosignature is like a molecule or isotope that indicates the existence of life. Techno signatures are different.

Different researchers describe technology signatures in different ways. But broadly speaking, technology signatures are evidence of effects that can only result from the use of technology. Mega-engineering projects like the Dyson sphere can leak radiation that can be detected. A well-advanced civilization may be able to build them, or even change the orbit of a star. These phenomena will be good evidence of another technological civilization. More common things like atmospheric chlorofluorocarbons are evidence, but they are probably hard to detect.

Astronomers scan the center of the Milky Way for signs of intellectual civilization. It's nothing but silence.

A brief schematic of the Milky Way. Credits: English Wikipedia RJ Hall, CC BY-SA 3.0, https: //commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php? curid = 52696960

Some researchers do not consider radio waves to be a technical signature because they can be generated naturally. However, from the perspective of extensive research over large areas of the universe, radio waves are the most practical to search. Recent observations at MWA have been adjusted to 155Mhz.

Radio signals are still the foundation of SETI. This is because they are likely to be early indicators of the technology species and are likely to provide early ability to generate and detect radio waves. In our case we did. The author writes: “The existence of both powerful transmitters and sensitive receivers at low frequencies-both emerged early in the history of radio engineering-by providing sample classes and equipment for engineering signals to search. , Motivates low frequency technology signature searches to do so. “

This search targeted the Galactic Center purely for effort and economics of results. It has the most stars. We haven’t discovered another technological civilization yet, so we don’t look anywhere to improve our chances. In the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, it makes sense to cast our net widely. “The Galactic Center (GC) is a major SETI target because the line of sight to the GC has the largest integrated number of galaxy stars in all directions,” the author writes in their paper.

They point out that there are both pros and cons to targeting GC.

There are pros and cons to the stellar density of GC. Indeed, there are more stars, which means more potential planets and civilizations. However, the more stars there are, the better. “The high density of stars in the GC means that catastrophic events such as stellar supernovae and magnetar flares are likely to affect extrasolar planets in the GC and destroy life on the surface. I will do it, “they write.

The dense GC contains so many stars that it is more likely that a stellar flyby will occur. Not to mention civilization, these are bad news for life. They can destroy protoplanetary disks and interfere with the process of planet formation.

But on the other hand, GC is also a promising place to see. “Despite these factors, modeling by Gowanlock et al. (2011) found most of the planets that could support complex life from the galactic center towards the inner galaxies less than 1 kpc. Morrison & Gowanlock (2015) extends this model to include Intelligent lifeAnd also find higher probabilities in the inner galaxy, “the author writes.

According to a 2021 survey, it’s still a great place to see, even if there are all the dangers to GC. “The line of sight towards the Galactic Center (GC) provides the maximum number of potentially habitable systems in all directions of the sky,” says the author of the paper. And if an intellectual civilization is rising and advancing, the most likely spread is a dense GC, where the stars are not too far apart.

While recent searches have targeted 144 exoplanet systems, we have also completed a wider blind search of over 3 million stars towards the galactic center and galactic bulge. The author writes that “no plausible technical signature is detected.”

After all, just because a signature is not detected does not mean that there is no signal to be detected. This means that at this particular point in time, no signal was detected using the particular impact of this search method.

Credit: Today’s Universe

Should we be sad?

It may not be. Each of these attempts reveals something about the search method and provides an opportunity to improve it in the future.The Holy Grail Searching for techno signatures is probably an all-sky search, but that’s something we need to work on. “But before we get into the all-sky technology signature search, there are many computational challenges to overcome, and these studies provide insights on how to achieve this goal with aperture arrays,” the author said. Is writing.

So for now, we are alone. There is no other technical civilization to rendezvous. It’s still a dream.

But maybe we should flood the streets and see our human brothers and sisters in a new wonder anyway.

What can it hurt?


Scientists collaborate on new research to explore space for signs of technological civilization


For more information:
Chenoa D. Tremblay, Danny C. Price, Steven J. Tingay, Search for techno signatures towards the Galactic Center at 150MHz. arXiv: 2202.03324v1 [astro-ph.GA], arxiv.org/abs/2202.03324

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Today’s universe

Quote: Astronomers scan the center of the Milky Way for signs of intelligent civilization. Nothing can be found except the silence (February 15, 2022) obtained from https: //phys.org/news/2022-02-astronomers-scan-center on February 15, 2022. -milky-intelligent.html

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Astronomers scan the center of the Milky Way for signs of intellectual civilization and find nothing but silence

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