The hunt for extraterrestrial life continues. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill
The SETI Institute is aiming to find evidence of aliens in a place where nobody had thought to look.
Red dwarf stars are much smaller and cooler than our sun, properties that at first glance might seem to rule them out as promising places to look for planets capable of supporting alien life.
"Red dwarfs - the dim bulbs of the cosmos - have received scant attention by SETI scientists in the past," said SETI's Jon Richards. "That's because researchers made the seemingly reasonable assumption that other intelligent species would be on planets orbiting stars similar to the Sun."
More recently however it has been determined that planets orbiting close to a red dwarf star, which are thought to be tidally locked, could potentially support habitable conditions if heat from the hot, star-facing side were to be transferred to the cold, outside-facing side.
Now in light of this possibility, SETI is undertaking a new two-year study of 20,000 red dwarf stars using the Allen Telescope Array which is situated in northern California's Cascade Mountains.
"Three-fourths of all stars are red dwarfs," said SETI's Seth Shostak. "That means if you observe a finite set of them - say the nearest twenty thousand - then on average they will be at only half the distance of the nearest twenty thousand Sun-like stars."
Whether the team will actually find anything during their search however remains to be seen.
Source: Independent | Comments (25)
Similar stories based on this topic:
SETI, Red Dwarf