FRIHOST FORUMS SEARCH FAQ TOS BLOGS COMPETITIONS
You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!


scientists to hunt for aliens by analyzing reflected lights





subirbasak
Quote:
A new technique for detecting signs of life on distant planets by analyzing reflected light could soon lead astronomers to extra-terrestrial life.

According to a report in the Telegraph, when scientists tested the method on Earth, they found unmistakably strong signs of life in the form of chemical "fingerprints".

They believe within one or two decades the same technique could reveal life on worlds orbiting stars far beyond the Sun.

Reflected light was already known to contain valuable information about a planet's atmosphere.

But, at distances of many light years the signals, from light wavelength patterns called spectra, are very faint and difficult to read.

The new technique takes a different approach by studying light passing through the atmospheric layer instead of reflected off it.

This kind of light pattern, known as a "transmission spectrum", was found to provide a much stronger signal.

Analyzing the light can reveal biologically important chemicals such as oxygen and water, which indicate the presence of life.

The test was carried out during a lunar eclipse by observing moonlight passing through the Earth's atmosphere.

This was equivalent to observing the Earth's spectrum from far away as the planet passed in front of the Sun.

The astronomers used the UK-run William Herschel Telescope (WHT) on La Palma in the Canary Islands.

"Now we know what the transmission spectrum of a inhabited planet looks like, we have a much better idea of how to find and recognise Earth-like planets outside our solar system where life may be thriving," according to Dr Enric Palle, from the Astrophysics Institute of the Canaries, who led the research.

"The information in this spectrum shows us that this is a very effective way to gather information about the biological processes that may be taking place on a planet," he said.

"Many discoveries of Earth-size planets are expected in the next decades and some will orbit in the habitable zone of their parent stars. Obtaining their atmospheric properties will be highly challenging; the greatest reward will happen when one of those planets shows a spectrum like that of our Earth," said Dr Pilar Montanes-Rodriguez, from the Astrophysics Institute of the Canaries.

According to Professor Keith Mason, chief executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) which funds the William Herschel Telescope, "This new transmission spectrum is good news for future upcoming ground and space-based missions dedicated to the search for life in the universe."
Surprised Surprised Surprised
ocalhoun
But isn't there only one planet outside our solar system we've been able to see with visible light?
The rest are all detected because of the effects they have on their stars.
lovescience
subirbasak wrote:
Quote:
A new technique for detecting signs of life on distant planets by analyzing reflected light could soon lead astronomers to extra-terrestrial life.

According to a report in the Telegraph, when scientists tested the method on Earth, they found unmistakably strong signs of life in the form of chemical "fingerprints".

They believe within one or two decades the same technique could reveal life on worlds orbiting stars far beyond the Sun.

Reflected light was already known to contain valuable information about a planet's atmosphere.

But, at distances of many light years the signals, from light wavelength patterns called spectra, are very faint and difficult to read.

The new technique takes a different approach by studying light passing through the atmospheric layer instead of reflected off it.

This kind of light pattern, known as a "transmission spectrum", was found to provide a much stronger signal.

Analyzing the light can reveal biologically important chemicals such as oxygen and water, which indicate the presence of life.

The test was carried out during a lunar eclipse by observing moonlight passing through the Earth's atmosphere.

This was equivalent to observing the Earth's spectrum from far away as the planet passed in front of the Sun.

The astronomers used the UK-run William Herschel Telescope (WHT) on La Palma in the Canary Islands.

"Now we know what the transmission spectrum of a inhabited planet looks like, we have a much better idea of how to find and recognise Earth-like planets outside our solar system where life may be thriving," according to Dr Enric Palle, from the Astrophysics Institute of the Canaries, who led the research.

"The information in this spectrum shows us that this is a very effective way to gather information about the biological processes that may be taking place on a planet," he said.

"Many discoveries of Earth-size planets are expected in the next decades and some will orbit in the habitable zone of their parent stars. Obtaining their atmospheric properties will be highly challenging; the greatest reward will happen when one of those planets shows a spectrum like that of our Earth," said Dr Pilar Montanes-Rodriguez, from the Astrophysics Institute of the Canaries.

According to Professor Keith Mason, chief executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) which funds the William Herschel Telescope, "This new transmission spectrum is good news for future upcoming ground and space-based missions dedicated to the search for life in the universe."
Surprised Surprised Surprised


It sounds like we have found a way to find an earth like planet. It's just a matter of time. And by the time, if we also have the technology of transportation to travel to the planet, and hope there is not too crowded already, we can live in there or just to have a stop place to gather resource to continue any exploration trip in the universe!
metalfreek
Report looks good but I seriously doubt that we will get any definitive proof of existence of Alien life with this method. All this method tells us is about carbon based compounds and oxygen presense which doesn't necessarily means the existence of Alien life.
Bikerman
Well, the presence of oxygen in large quantities is, as far as we know, only associated with life. Oxygen is highly reactive and without some mechanism to replenish it, would be used up in reactions with other elements and compounds fairly quickly (without life on earth, for example, it is estimated that the oxygen in the atmosphere would disappear within about 4 million years.....
Alerrandre
Just ready about universe,how big it is,after that,try come here and say we are ALONE in this UNIVERSE MY FRIEND.


WE ARE NOT ALONE....
ham65
The top one of the humanity problem,is think we are the best,we are the only one,and we get afraid just of think somebody can be smarter than us,im sure we are not alone in this whole universe.
icool
i simply beleive that Aliens are with great gadgets. and just because of that they are still invisible to our eyes. Otherwise they would have been visible to human eyes by now ! Actually they dont want us to find them for a while. because they might feel that we are too immature to meet them. hmm They might belong to the race of the elites who just want us to grow
ankur2010
There ain't no alien...Its all a uprooted thoughts of the scientists....!! Twisted Evil

They all want to make this world to live in a fear of something which doesn't really exists...!! Wink
kelseymh
ocalhoun wrote:
But isn't there only one planet outside our solar system we've been able to see with visible light?
The rest are all detected because of the effects they have on their stars.


(Replying to this after a few months because I only just joined)

There are about a dozen or so which have been imaged, but that's still small compared with the 544 confirmed now, and the >1,100 tentative candidates on Kepler's list.

The Wikipedia article has a great sidebar with images of eight extrasolar planets, including multiple-planet systems.

Edited to fix missing end-URL tag
ocalhoun
kelseymh wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
But isn't there only one planet outside our solar system we've been able to see with visible light?
The rest are all detected because of the effects they have on their stars.


(Replying to this after a few months because I only just joined)

There are about a dozen or so which have been imaged

Ah, I see I'm a bit outdated.
Last I heard, the discovery of the first extrasolar planet with direct visible light was a big news story.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
kelseymh wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
But isn't there only one planet outside our solar system we've been able to see with visible light?
The rest are all detected because of the effects they have on their stars.


(Replying to this after a few months because I only just joined)

There are about a dozen or so which have been imaged

Ah, I see I'm a bit outdated.
Last I heard, the discovery of the first extrasolar planet with direct visible light was a big news story.

You're probably thinking of this. That was the first visible light image of an extrasolar planet, but note that two posts later there's a mention of a multi-planet system being imaged optically, albeit in a non-visible light image. The key word that you're stumbling over is "visible". You don't need visible light for spectroscopy, you just need light. We've been optically imaging extrasolar planets for a while now... but visible light images are still a neat, new thing.
Dennise
Analysis of an alien planet's reflected light ............. some questions.

At such great distances, wouldn't the alien planet's reflected light be contaminated after passing through so many regions of space - possible including other en-route atmospheres?

And what about the source spectrum from the alien planet's sun itself? Could that spectrum be some way 'filtered' out so as to only reveal the effects of the planet's own atmosphere?

And what if the inhabitants were using heavy carbon based fuels or some other exotic energy source that influences the reflected light spectrum in ways that might throw off our anthropomorphic expectations?

The approach appears pretty weak to me. Just my own HO.
SonLight
Dennise wrote:
Analysis of an alien planet's reflected light ............. some questions.


You have some valid questions. Obviously there are some real limits to how much we can learn, but classifying planets with "unusual" atmospheres -- even if not similar to Earth's properties -- would seem to be helpful in identifying new phenomena. If we don't find anything related to possible life, but discover planets with unusual volcanic activity or chemistry we will surely be well rewarded for the effort of looking.

Quote:
At such great distances, wouldn't the alien planet's reflected light be contaminated after passing through so many regions of space - possible including other en-route atmospheres?


The chances of light passing through another atmosphere are remote, as it would require a precise alignment of the two planets. Of course there is some contamination from so-called "empty" space. Any study must be conducted to consider possible noise in the data, but that's standard for most astronomy studies.

Quote:
And what about the source spectrum from the alien planet's sun itself? Could that spectrum be some way 'filtered' out so as to only reveal the effects of the planet's own atmosphere?


Presumably we would have the spectral data based on direct viewing of the planet's sun, and consider primarily the change in spectrum, not just the observed spectrum itself, to be the important data.

Quote:
And what if the inhabitants were using heavy carbon based fuels or some other exotic energy source that influences the reflected light spectrum in ways that might throw off our anthropomorphic expectations?

The approach appears pretty weak to me. Just my own HO.


If they didn't want to be found and deliberately "cloaked" their spectrum, then perhaps it would be best to leave them alone. However, we would probably find many interesting spectrums for every one that came from a planet with highly intelligent life. Also, I doubt that they would be capable of making their spectrum so "non-lifelike" that we would consider it uninteresting, nor that they would think it worthwhile to expend enormous resources to conceal their presence.
Dennise
SonLight ....

You make some good points Smile
Related topics
The Unofficial Jokes Thread
UK scientists clone human embryo
Nasa discovers a tenth planet???
Nasa discovers a tenth planet???
Northern Lights [Aurora Borealis]
Global Warming Source..
UFO sightings a lot of hot air
ALIENS AND UFOs
Scientists surprised about comet's ingredients
Knight of the Force Preview
horror movie rules!!!
Weird Sudden Career change
Scientists Propose One-Way Trip To Mars
Does it require faith to believe in extraterrestrials?
Reply to topic    Frihost Forum Index -> Science -> The Universe

FRIHOST HOME | FAQ | TOS | ABOUT US | CONTACT US | SITE MAP
© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.