Astrobiology and SETI

A Cometary Solution for KIC 8462852?

November 25, 2015

KIC 8462852 is back in the news. And despite a new paper dealing with the unusual star, I suspect it will be in the news for some time to come, for we’re a long way from finding out what is causing the unusual light curves the Planet Hunters group found in Kepler data. KIC 8462, […]

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Quantifying KIC 8462852 Power Beaming

November 10, 2015

Plasma physicist James Benford, CEO of Microwave Sciences, is well known here on Centauri Dreams. Today he is joined by his son Dominic, whose work focuses on the development of ultrasensitive technologies for far-infrared through millimeter-wave astronomy. The younger Dr. Benford is Program Scientist for NASA’s WFIRST mission, which is designed to conduct major surveys […]

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SETI: No Signal Detected from KIC 8462852

November 6, 2015

I’ve mentioned before that I think the name ‘Tabby’s Star’ is a wonderful addition to the catalog. It trips off the tongue so much more easily than the tongue-twisting KIC 8462852, and of course it honors the person who brought this unusual object to our attention, Yale University postdoc Tabetha Boyajian. 1480 light years away, […]

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Why SETI Keeps Looking

October 27, 2015

How do you feel about a universe that shows no signs of intelligent life? Let’s suppose that we pursue various forms of SETI for the next century or two and at the end of that time, find no evidence whatsoever for extraterrestrial civilizations. Would scientists of that era be disappointed or simply perplexed? Would they, […]

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KIC 8462852: Enter ‘Gravity Darkening’

October 26, 2015

Back from my break, I have to explain to those who asked about what exotic destination I was headed for that I didn’t actually go anywhere (the South Pacific will have to wait). The break was from writing Centauri Dreams posts in order to concentrate on some other pressing matters that I had neglected for […]

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KIC 8462852: The SETI Factor

October 16, 2015

I had no idea when the week began that I would be ending it with a third consecutive post on Dysonian SETI, but the recent paper on KIC 8462852 by Tabetha Boyajian and colleagues has forced the issue. My original plan for today was to focus in on Cassini’s work at Enceladus, not only because […]

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What’s Next for Unusual KIC 8462852?

October 15, 2015

I want to revisit the paper on KIC 8462852 briefly this morning, as I’m increasingly fascinated with the astrophysics we’re digging into here. The fact that the star, some 1480 light years away, is also a candidate for further SETI investigation makes it all the more intriguing, but all my defaults lean toward natural processes, […]

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KIC 8462852: Cometary Origin of an Unusual Light Curve?

October 14, 2015

Dysonian SETI operates under the assumption that our search for extraterrestrial civilizations should not stop with radio waves and laser communications. A sufficiently advanced civilization might be visible to us without ever intending to establish a dialogue, observed through its activities around its parent star or within its galaxy. Find an anomalous object difficult to […]

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SETI: A Networked Galaxy?

October 9, 2015

We often conceive of SETI scenarios in which Earth scientists pick up a beacon-like signal from another star, obviously intended to arouse our attention and provide information. But numerous other possibilities exist. Might we, for example, pick up signs of another civilization’s activities, perhaps through intercepting electromagnetic traffic, or their equivalent of planetary radars? Even […]

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Seeing Alien Power Beaming

September 25, 2015

We’ve long discussed intercepting not only beacons but stray radio traffic from other civilizations. The latter may be an all but impossible catch for our technology, but there is a third possibility: Perhaps we can intercept the ‘leakage’ from a beamed power infrastructure used to accelerate another civilization’s spacecraft. The idea has been recently quantified […]

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