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)
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