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Space

SETI Fails To Detect Signals Coming From KIC 8462852 (examiner.com) 99

MarkWhittington writes: Rare excitement spread through the scientific community and the media when data from the Kepler Space Telescope indicated something strange going on around a star 1,500 light years away called KIC 8462852. An analysis of the pattern of light coming from the star suggested that a swarm of smaller objects was orbiting the planet. Scientists narrowed down the possible explanations for the data to either a swarm of comets or a group of alien megastructures. According to a story in Space Daily, an examination of KIC 8462852 by SETI, using the Allen Telescope Array, has failed to find any evidence that ET exists around that particular star.
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SETI Fails To Detect Signals Coming From KIC 8462852

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  • by Hussman32 ( 751772 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @07:51PM (#50897519)

    If ET were there, couldn't there be other E-M methods that would attenuate before reaching earth? Not saying there are beings there, but just because radio waves aren't there doesn't mean they aren't.

    • Even we are moving from lossy radio signals into lossless signals. And we have only been broadcasting shit for 100 years or so.
      • Lossless? there is no such thing. Even in fiber you need signal boosters. Anything propagating in space is attenuated with the inverse square law, it is conservation of energy.
        • I think he meant "non-leaking to space RF" signals (i.e. fiber optic cables). In other words, communication power is not 'lost' to space, therefore detectable by aliens.

          • Also, laser communications is being investigated. That type of communication wouldn't even be noticeable at 1500 LY.

    • If ET were there, couldn't there be other E-M methods that would attenuate before reaching earth? Not saying there are beings there, but just because radio waves aren't there doesn't mean they aren't.

      If ET were there, transmitting on RF with the same power we use for radio/TV signals - our detectors aren't even good enough to hear it over noise.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @09:06PM (#50897903) Homepage

        If ET were there, transmitting on RF with the same power we use for radio/TV signals - our detectors aren't even good enough to hear it over noise.

        From what I understand it's primarily going to pick up military radar or intentional "pings", signal broadcast is very weak compared to radars trying to detect stealth aircraft that is diverting 99%+ of the signal away from the source. There's not really any reason to send radio/TV signals with that power and for information efficiency we're going to encode them so they're almost indistinguishable from noise anyway. The latter is obviously the best since they're the only ones likely to have any information content we could positively identify. So at least for our current level of technology they have to want to be found.

      • by Arkh89 ( 2870391 )

        Exactly. Spitzer is capable of detecting it as a very faint signal, knowing that the actual source is a star. If they are using EM communication, the prower is probably orders of magnitude smaller than the star emission itself. Good luck, catching that with sufficient SNR in the radio domain...

      • They are probably using sub-space communications......once we invent devices that work in that domain, we will probably pick up all kinds of ET chatter! ;)
    • Exactly. I would imagine any species sufficiently advanced to do planetary and solar system engineering, probably has moved beyond EM communications. In fact, I really feel that the theory that advanced civilizations will only use radio for a fairly narrow period before moving to other means of communications really means SETI is doomed. That window is probably only a few hundred years, and considering that anything but a very directed high powered signal is likely to dissipate within a few light years of t

    • Correct, obviously the shark people of KIC 8462852 would use frickin lasers!
    • ...but it does make it more likely.
      • What? How can you possibly gauge the likelihood or odds? If I told you that I put my head underwater and didn't see any fish, does that mean the likelihood of there being fish in the ocean went down? No, it means I'm not looking in the right places. The odds of ET is unknown. Our feeble attempts to find them don't factor into those odds at all.
        • If we don't know whether fish exist, and you stick your head underwater in the ocean and don't see any, that is evidence against the existence of fish. It isn't very strong evidence, since the ocean is big and these "fish" might be somewhere else.

          The probability of a single proposition is philosophically a bit iffy, but individuals tend to have opinions on those things, and we can regard people's opinions as making up a probability. It's certainly fuzzy logic, if not specifically probability.

    • Two different types of radio signals were sought:

      (1) Narrow-band signals, of order 1 Hz in width, such as would be generated as a "hailing signal" for societies wishing to announce their presence.
      This is the type of signal most frequently looked for by radio SETI experiments.
      (2) Broad-band signals that might be due to beamed propulsion within this star system.

      If astroengineering projects are really underway in the vicinity of KIC 8462852, one might reasonably expect the presence of spacecraft to service this activity.
      If these craft are propelled by intense microwave beams, some of that energy might manifest itself as broad-band radio leakage.

      They are looking for possible "engine noise" too.
      So far... well... nothing.

    • Why are we even assuming that they'd be reliant on E-M technology? If they are building a Dyson sphere isn't it possible they've moved to something more exotic. I mean by their standards we're still using two tin cans and a piece of string
    • Well SETI didn't say they weren't there, they just said they haven't found any evidence of somebody being there. Since SETI only checks radio spectrum signals - that lack of proof is limited to that domain.

      Unfortunately we really don't have much technology for doing any other kind of looking right now, nor the funding to develop any, nor the political will to supply the funding.

      Who knows what we may have missed (not just with this case but in the 20-odd years since SETI lost it's original budget), because w

  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @08:02PM (#50897581)

    Just how is SETI not finding a signal in anyway shape or form news ?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In other news, I recently discovered my car wouldn't start. I've narrowed it down to two possible explanations: either the battery is dead or my cat has telepathic powers and doesn't want me to leave. I have been unable to find evidence of my cat's telepathic powers. Just thought you'd like to know.

  • First off SETI is incapable of discerning signals from noise at >200 LY's away. Secondly, aliens with Dyson Swarms are in now way communicating with crappy, inefficient radiowaves. They are likely using laser based communication or something even more exotic.

    I really do hope the next look at 2017 reveals even greater light fluctuation, proving definitively an alien megastructure. Hopefully they lend over some scientist cause our current crop aren't meeting specification.

  • I spent years donating my computing time to SETI, when I started to investigate how they did what they did and alien life on my own.

    First and foremost - SETI leverages Radio telescopes for discovery of life on other planets.

    Most human life - is visually and auditory in nature - so when I started asking questions such as 'why are they looking for radio communications and radio evidence of life, when there's a high probability that life on other planets which is like us may have gone down different developmen

    • by Hylandr ( 813770 )

      tl;dr :

      >Logic suggests we need to look for evidence of visual and auditory beings leveraging more than just radio waves.

      Just this right here.

    • Totally agree. Life is all around us here on the earth and most of it is related to us, yet none of it uses radio. This alone should tell us radio is a rare thing, not a common thing.

      But SETI and most of the other programs are in fact searching space not for aliens at all, but looking for another instance of beings exactly like us. Not found more just like us this week? Oh well, keep trying! Got to be another Hoboken New Jersey out there somewhere.

      It's just stupid.

      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        > Totally agree. Life is all around us here on the earth and most of it is related to us, yet none of it uses radio. This alone should tell us radio is a rare thing, not a common thing.

        But SETI isn't supposed to find space jellyfish, it's trying to find people who are actively trying to make their presence known (and likely send a message).

        It's not SETL. You aren't looking for extraterrestrial life. You're looking for extraterrestrial intelligence- specifically, that which is trying to find an easy way

    • by spauldo ( 118058 )

      Radio is an imagined construct created through a collective agreement our population has with our reality.

      Radio is the propagation of electromagnetic radiation through space.

      It's the same everywhere in the universe. Mankind didn't "invent" radio, we discovered it. It's a major side effect of one of the four basic forces of the universe.

      We're too distant to pick up communication (unless that communication is intentional and either aimed right at us or very powerful - or both). However, if the aliens are using microwave power or space-based RADAR, we might be able to pick that up.

      Logic suggests we need to look for evidence of visual and auditory beings leveraging more than just radio waves.

      We're doing the visual part (w

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      Eh, I only agree with you in part. SETI won't find casual RF communications at long distances, and maybe not even short distances. SETI absolutely could find a species that is looking to communicate (for ill or good). This is because RF communications are a really solid way to get a message across a lot of galactic scale space, when pretty much nothing else could do so very easily. You'd have to be directing that communication, is the big catch, over most distances that are interesting, so it sort of as

  • by RubberDogBone ( 851604 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @12:56AM (#50898699)

    We have never had ANY reason to assume aliens of any kind use radio as we know it. Even among the life forms on Earth, many of which are very closely related to us, absolutely NONE of them have developed or discovered radio except humans. So therefore, we already know radio happens 1 in some billions of species even when they are our close relatives.

    Among aliens unlikely to be anything like us, we have to assume that they may never have found radio, or use it differently. SETI essentially looks out into space looking to find ourselves. This is just ludicrous. What little we know about space and other planets tells us the universe is incredibly diverse. We aren't going to find another US out there. So no wonder they have always failed.

    • Even among the life forms on Earth, many of which are very closely related to us, absolutely NONE of them have developed or discovered radio except humans

      Are you serious? Or kidding? Or stupid?

    • Well we don't use radio waves either. We create machines, tools if you will, that convert things we do communicate in into and from radio waves. An intelligent alien presumably is smart enough to make equivalent tools. It is not like the laws of physics are different everywhere. You want wireless communications, you go EM waves.
    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      None of the other species developed tech besides the level and maybe the wheel, though. We obviously can't get a message from sapients that can't send one or aren't trying, and definitely not unintelligent life- that's the I in SETI, after all.

      There's a short list of effects that can span distance, and photons are at the top. It doesn't matter what they developed with- if they are sending signal, then they are a lot more advanced than us, and they'll know that radio is a reasonable thing, even if they nev

  • If it's a Dyson Sphere, would radio waves pass through it? If not, then this tells us nothing.

    • I personally think that this whole concept of a Dyson Sphere and the civilisation 1-4 scale is misleading and implausible. There is no good reason to believe that any civilisation would harness all of the (centralized) energy of a whole sun rather than using many small energy sources like fusion reactors or whatever else might be possible in future.

      • We've got a nice gravity-contained fusion reactor about 93 million miles from here. It's pretty reliable, and it's not going to cause too many bad side effects at this distance. (At least not for the next few hundred million years.) If we needed lots and lots of energy, and had a spacefaring civilization, why would we build all those teeny little fusion reactors when we have a really big one set up and ready to go? Most of the fusion fuel is also in our handy star, and we'll top out the energy we can g

    • by spauldo ( 118058 )

      If it's a Dyson Sphere, would radio waves pass through it?

      Yes. [wikipedia.org] Dyson Spheres aren't solid.

  • Come in..., come in please..., Mother Star KIC 8462852. Those of us in the Earth-planet system recently had a close one. Apparently, the thought implants we used on their presidential candidates to make them crazy wasn't enough to keep the humans distracted, and the primitive humans almost deduced where we came from. Nonetheless, we assure you they *are* primitive. When we studied something referred to as TFA, it implied "a level approaching 1027 watts" of radiated power was substantial.

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