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Where in the galaxy could aliens discover us ?

June 28, 2021 | Comment icon 10 comments

What if there are alien astronomers out there looking in our direction ? Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 CSIRO
Scientists have identified distant star systems from which the Earth could be 'discovered' by intelligent aliens.
We're all used to hearing about astronomers scouring the heavens for signs of intelligent alien civilizations, but very little consideration is ever given to the possibility that there could be alien astronomers doing exactly the same thing somewhere out there on another world.

Assuming this is true, it seems plausible that one of them might 'discover' the Earth.

To investigate this idea further, astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger - director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University - teamed up with Jackie Faherty from the American Museum of Natural History to calculate how many star systems might be in a position to find us.

By using data from ESA's Gaia mission - which consists of a comprehensive catalog of 2 billion stars - they looked for star systems from which the Earth was visible within the last 5,000 years.
The figure they came up with was 1,715.

An observer on a planet orbiting one of those stars during that time would have access to the same information about the Earth as we potentially have about their planet, such as the atmospheric composition, temperature, orbital period, diameter and mass.

If someone did spot us, they would no doubt be excited about the prospect of finding life here.

Who knows, perhaps they've even paid us a visit.

Source: The Atlantic | Comments (10)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by papageorge1 11 months ago
I have to think these aliens have a lot more intelligence and technology than these scientists give them credit for.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Tatetopa 11 months ago
Hi papa.† The aliens†may indeed.† All scientists†can do is establish a minimum based on what we know or can do.† So there are 2000+ systems with† a good vantage point, whether there is anybody capable of watching in any of those systems would just be a guess.
Comment icon #3 Posted by papageorge1 11 months ago
I get that. The minimalist thinking just sounds a little slow to people that believe aliens are already here and interacting with earth and humans from the beginning. Also I have to guess that a 'not good vantage point' from our understanding is not likely an issue for more technologically advanced alien societies. That was all.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Tatetopa 11 months ago
Hi papa no worries, I just think 2000 is a sobering number and should cause some people to think about the possibility a little more.
Comment icon #5 Posted by papageorge1 11 months ago
Musing a bit. When I understand the complexity of life forming on earth from the minimalist scientific viewpoint, 2000 more chances would still seem trivial to impossible for life to form. It seems like physical life could never have happened a first time let alone in any number of repeat tries.† (I am one that thinks life was fostered by intelligence above the physical level and that that intelligence exists throughout the universe and each place does not need to invent life from non-life from scratch.)
Comment icon #6 Posted by Manwon Lender 11 months ago
Papa, I think your right they certainly could be far beyond our level of technology and intelligence. The Universe is approximately 13.4 Billion years old. Our Solar System and earth are approximately 4.5 Billion years old, in addition the first life appeared upon Earth approximately 3.8 Billion years ago. Simiply look at the difference in the amount of time from Universal Creation to the first known life on Earth. There is a Hugh span of time that separates the two, so there is a good possibility that another species could be 1 or 2 Billion years older than us, which would also give them the ... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Manwon Lender 11 months ago
Hey Tate and Papa†while the stated 2000+ systems is interesting it's really immaterial in retrospect. There are new scientific studies being conducted that have produced theories that Space†faring Alien Species could have passed through our Solar System when we were nothing but the first Creatures beginning to crawl from our Oceans to the land. Theoretically they could have left artifacts behind to measure the development of Solar Systems like ours, so expanding this line of†thought is it possible that their are Probes in our Solar System.† Here is a Acedemic Paper from Harvard University that... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Tatetopa 11 months ago
Pretending there is an alien civilization out there that has my sensibilities (doubtful of course) and the desire to explore, I would send out multitudes of small AI craft in all directions. Maybe a flotilla of them targeted at every star with planets.† When they reached their destination thousands of years later, they could observe and direct †information back home.† We may never be visited by a living organic technological advanced alien, just their machines.† Ands no guarantees that their home civilization is still alive and interested,†
Comment icon #9 Posted by toast 11 months ago
The 2nd important question is: is our star listed in any star map that isnt of human origin?
Comment icon #10 Posted by ant0n 11 months ago
Aliens are smart enough not to mess with us, Earthlings. We're quite an aggressive and invasive species, as well as deadly psychics.

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