Astronomers unveil a new way to search for extraterrestrial intelligence

Sunday, June 11, 2023 - 12:23 in Astronomy & Space

The 140-foot radio telescope at Green Bank, Virginia, kicked off the search for galactic beacons. NRAO/AUI/NSF The hunt for aliens isn’t as sensational or speculative as you might think. In fact, astronomers are constantly inventing practical ways to search for intelligent life in our universe. Research recently published in the Astronomical Journal describes a pioneering method to look for radio beacons at the center of the Milky Way—a new idea for how extraterrestrials might send us signals. (Spoiler: the study authors didn’t find any beacons…yet!) Astronomers have been scanning the sky with radio telescopes since the dawn of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, in the 1960s, when they began listening for technological messages from the stars. In particular, they’ve been looking for so-called narrowband signals—blips of radio waves that occur...

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